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How to make effective online web videos

How to make effective online web videos

By Rob Leach, managing director, Line Up

People in the UK are watching, on average, 17 hours of online video per month, and 166 videos per person.  This makes the UK the third largest consumer of online video content in Europe.  These figures are climbing too. It seems that video is not only a dominant feature in user’s current online patterns, it looks set to swell in coming years.

But in all this surge for quantity, all too often, quality is getting overlooked.

Just because it’s possible for anyone to buy a good quality video camera and publish footage directly onto the web doesn’t suddenly make everyone a good film-maker.  To make ‘great’ web videos that actually transform perceptions and behaviours, professional production skills go a long way. 

Here’s just a few of the key elements that go into making an effective web video:

Purpose - If you don’t know what the strategic purpose of your video is then it is likely that you are going to miss the point and fill the gaps with unnecessary information that will have viewers clicking away. 

Story – The idea of a story arc, beginning, middle and end, does not just apply to fiction.  Build the expectations of the viewer with a catchy opener, develop this and then end with something that encourages the viewer to stay on your site or click through for more.   It is important to consider pace and allow your viewer to absorb the information you are presenting.

Length – The internet is a busy place and people really don’t dedicate much time to each video they watch before moving on.  Most people suggest a maximum of 3 minutes for a web video, often less.  Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s impossible to get a message across in this time.  It forces you to think of purpose, story and pace.  Cater to the habits of your audience and you’ll have much more success.

Cinematography – The days we turned to the television for broadcast quality content and the internet for blurred, pixelated video caught on the off chance are behind us. With a web video you are creatively expressing your brand identity.  To add production values to a video you need to consider the image as well as the content.

Audio – We know it’s important, but often people focus so much on the moving image that this vital part of a production receives half-hearted attention.   By having clear audio or narration you’ll make it easier for the viewer to digest the information. Music can develop tone and pace, and bind together the different elements in an edit.  And make sure you don’t overlook copyright considerations.

Graphics – It simply doesn’t cost thousands to produce quality graphics these days.  Adding variety to a video with the use of motion graphics or a well designed ident can aid story, pace and make the video much more interesting and memorable.

Trackability - For all this talk of broadcast standards and cinematography remember that there are amazing tools online to help you monitor and distribute your video. Learn from your monitoring.  On popular video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo you can see when people click off your video, peak viewing ages and much more.  Develop your video strategy as you gather this data. 

Shareability – Encourage sharing of your content, tweet the video to influential people and hashtag the keywords. Allow viewers to embed the video on their sites/blogs.  If you make a small effort to push the video beyond your company and present clients it is quite likely that it will gather momentum and reach further than you would have imagined.

So whilst it is possible – and, let’s face it, fairly easy - to create cut-price web video, it’s important to remember that effective short films need crafting in more ways than one.  Whilst it may feel like an economy at the time, not investing in a well-crafted video could cost your brand or corporate image dearly at the end of the day.

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