SQN’s 7 tips for better online video content

Video is king – and the fastest growing area of online and social media. It should come as no surprise really considering Westerners have worshipped the medium ever since the first black and white television. The only difference now is that we’re all walking around with TV screens in our pockets and choosing what we want to watch on demand, rather than gathering around “the box” with our family and friends to watch the moon landing.

This may all sound like common sense, but these are facts worth revisiting when thinking about what “works” and what doesn’t for online video. So while going viral is a tricky beast to tame, and there are no hard or fast rules about whether it can happen for every brand campaign, there are certainly things to keep in mind if you want your video to be shown to as many pairs of eyes as possible.

  1. Grab attention quickly – really quickly.

You only have 3-5 seconds to ensure your audience is hooked. If you must include a title sequence, keep it very short and move into the main action as soon as possible. Alternatively, if your brand allows it, start your videos with the main action first and move your logo screen to the end of the first third of the video, or even retain just the closing sequence.

  1. Keep it pithy.

A short video is a good video. With many of our clients, we see time and time again that the shorter videos that get straight to the exciting and engaging action or subject, perform better than anything over two minutes in length.

Our recommendation? 30 seconds to a minute should cover it. Have a longer story to tell? Try a series of shorter videos to keep it pithy.

  1. Paid. PESO. Boost.

Organic reach is dead. It only takes a couple of minutes to scroll through the Facebook feeds of some of the biggest brands in the world – Red Bull and Coca-Cola are clear examples – to see that content is not reaching massive audiences. Only highly engaged fan-driven powerhouses like Manchester United seem to be bucking the trend, but even Man U are not immune.

The good news is that even a small budget for increasing reach through selective audiences can make video projects not only a worthwhile endeavour but successful. We have experience growing audiences and ensuring video ROI for a number of clients, and pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest advertising tools for all social platforms – including the notoriously difficult Facebook Ads.

  1. One size does not fit all.

While technically, all platforms will take videos of various sizes, you should be aware of what works best on each. Square video on Instagram gives you more screen space and looks far slicker than the traditional widescreen format that will be compressed down from HD. Since we now spend 70% of our time on the internet on our phones, size matters.

  1. In a timely manner.

Delve into your social media analytics and work out when your audience is online. Facebook and Twitter both provide healthy statistics about your audiences through their inbuilt tools.

  1. No one-hit wonders.

Just because you’ve posted it doesn’t mean everyone has seen it. As viral videos are rare (or mainly the domain of clever jokes and kittehs or doggos), content should be pushed multiple times in order to gain the most impact. However, mix it up with a number of campaigns so it doesn’t look like you’re flogging the same content over and over again.

  1. Why?

Before you go all out and put these tips to good use, you need to ask yourself: why are you doing this? It doesn’t need to be an essay, but a couple of points about what you want to achieve will help to provide a benchmark for performance later. Your objectives could even be as simple as raising awareness of the brand or a certain campaign or activity. Set some general goals around the number of views you would like to achieve or website visits and referrals or better still, subscriptions or sign-ups. That way you can review the effectiveness of the video and tweak or improve for the future.

Takeaways

At the end of the day, in the age of online video you don’t need a massive budget to make it work for you. Stay tuned for our take on going live with Facebook Live and Twitter/Periscope.