Think fast: why branded videos need to cut to the chase

By February 15, 2017Opinion
why videos need to be short

The Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, already has quite an impressive array of titles – internet entrepreneur, Billionaire and philanthropist being some of them – but it seems the social media icon should have another merit badge pinned to his trademark light grey T-shirt – fortunetelling!

Back in 2015 the social media icon predicted that we would enter a five year spell of what has been dubbed the “golden age of video”, and while he might not be quite on the same psychic playing field as Paul the Octopus (who correctly predicted the outcomes for all six of Germany’s games in the 2010 FIFA World Cup), so far Zuckerberg’s prediction has proved itself to be incredibly accurate.

Currently, one third of all time spent online is dedicated to watching videos, according to marketing and sales software provider Hubspot, with video projected to take up more than 80% of all web traffic by the year 2019.

To meet this rise in demand for fresh video content, a wave of brands from all different backgrounds have been quick to invest in their own video production, and as a result, the internet has become aflush with branded videos in all different shapes and forms, from flashy, high-flying corporate videos to simple and information-packed talking heads videos.

Therefore, it has become a must for your videos to be shorter and sharper than ever before if you want to have any hope at catching the eye of today’s fast-moving online consumer.

It’s not me, it’s you

Whether you’re planning to create your own videos in-house or work with a video production agency, your first priority should be to ensure your video content campaign is centred on your target audience.

This doesn’t have to be overly complicated – if you are making a film that speaks directly to the consumer, using the right language is extremely important to keep the viewer engaged. A new study by the channel management companies TubeBuddy and Hey.com revealed that YouTube videos that include the word “you” within the first 30 seconds of run-time receive 66% more views than videos that do not.

Examining close to 30,000 recently uploaded videos, the study also revealed videos with “you” in both the first five seconds and the first 30 seconds boosted likes by 66% and engagements by 68%. In fact, videos that managed to fit in two instances of “you” in the first five seconds received 97% more views.

The study explained: “When ‘you’ is used, the person on camera is acknowledging the viewer, and is showing that the viewer is important to them.”

Of course, this is only a starting measure – your videos will have to be interesting, insightful and relevant in order to engage viewers, but taking the time to make your campaign direct and consumer-focused from the get-go is a great place to begin.

Creating videos for a social audience

When looking at the so-called “golden age of video”, it would be difficult to ignore the role social media has played in driving video consumption.

Social sites have made a lot of headway coming up with creative ways to drive video content on their platforms. For instance, Facebook’s auto-play feature, which was launched back in 2014, has become an industry norm; while Instagram and Snapchat’s “stories” feature has opened up entirely new ways of video-sharing (Facebook is currently testing this feature).

As a result, it is important for brands to adapt their video campaign to social audiences. According to a recent study by Twitter and Omnicom Media Group, which monitored the brain activity of 127 young adults as they scrolled through their timelines on Twitter, videos viewed in-feed were 7% more personally relevant and stimulating and 14% more memorable than when watched in full-screen.

The researchers concluded that users enter a “feed mindset” when they are on social sites: “When someone views the video in-feed, tweet copy, brand handle and brand logo/icon are still often visible and add to the experience.”

Therefore, it is important for your videos to make an impression within the first few seconds of run-time – this can be achieved by having highly engaging content as well as using a variety of aspect ratios to ensure the videos are optimised for news feeds on different social channels.

The future is bite-sized

As well as ensuring your videos are relevant and engaging, it also pays to keep videos short – the same study found that the best performing videos on social media are shorter than 15 seconds long.

At present, videos on Twitter are capped at 140 seconds long, Instagram videos cannot go any longer than 15-seconds, and Snapchat videos cut off after 10 seconds – and while this may not seem long, short-form films have proved themselves to be incredibly effective.

In fact, Snapchat, which recently doubled its UK following to 11.2 million users, is now competing with television audiences in the ad space.

Claiming that its users are watching less TV than other generations, Snapchat said that recreating TV ads for mobile audiences has the potential to be more effective “because it was part of the experience, especially when the advertisements were funny, creative, and entertaining.”

An innovative example of a brand utilising short-form video to its fullest potential is BBC’s Planet Earth II. The nature documentary series, which is narrated by David Attenborough, uploaded six mini-episodes onto Snapchat the day before the show was broadcast on BBC America and has proved itself to be very successful.

While it can be difficult, keeping your videos short and sweet is a powerful way to get your brand message across. So, before you start producing your next video campaign, it’s worth taking a look at your social media followers and seeing what videos they’re already interacting with and sharing – then ask yourself: “why will people share this video?”

If you’re struggling to produce videos that engage, or need a bit of help putting your target audience at the centre of your video campaign, get in touch with Scorch Films.