The Future of Online Video. Fat, skinny or square? – More than 80% of internet traffic will be video-based by 2019, so we’re told by industry experts.
There’s no question that online video consumption has skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Facebook currently reports over 4 billion video views per day and YouTube 8 billion (yes, that is ‘billion’ and it is ‘per day’).
The fact is today most people consume video quickly and easily via smart mobile devices. As a business what else could be better than the ability to keep customers up-to-date about your products and services, on a device they have with them all day long?
One interesting statistic from Facebook is that 85% of videos watched are viewed silently. Which makes sense I suppose as the default video audio mode is mute. The point is that most viewers opt to watch with the sound off, maybe because they’re viewing the content in a public or co-working space… not a scientific fact, just a guess.
The question is, if you’re promoting your wares using video, how do you get your message across to people without the benefit of a soundtrack?
Silence is Golden
Remember silent movies? Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the big stars of the very early days of film? They created massively descriptive action sequences accompanied by subtitles and captions. That was the technical necessity of the day.
Given a creative twist, the original silent movie format could well be a great solution. We certainly have the tools to animate and merge text with live action, an approach that could enhance online video footage in an immersive and informative way.
This is a brilliant opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to beat the big boys and steal the eyeballs of potential viewers guerrilla-style!
TOP TIP: Corporate advertisers miss the point here and carry on producing tv-style video ads with grandiose soundtracks. Why? Because that’s how it has always been done, they have the budget and there are plenty of people who can persuade and help them to spend it!
Ever watched one of those really annoying ads on YouTube all the way through? I thought not! I can’t think of many people who would willingly sit through tv type videos when they can so easily be skipped.
While people are happy to sit in front of a widescreen TV or cinema screen for a couple of hours to watch a movie, they’re not prepared to invest more than a few minutes gawking at video on their smartphone.
Sharp, informative and entertaining content is the way to go when it comes to mobile video. Running time depends on your message and your viewers’ expectations. For example, a cheeseburger recipe could easily be presented in 10 to 20 seconds, a spa treatment demonstration might fill 2 to 3 minutes, a hotel tour could go on a lot longer.
Viewer engagement research shows that no matter how long your finished video you have 10 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention before they click away, 30 seconds in and you’ve lost 33% of your audience, within 1 minute 45% are long gone and by 2 minutes you’ve said bye, bye to 60%.
Quality content is what keeps people engaged. A great story, well told will always win through.
Now, here’s an interesting conundrum… What’s the best format to shoot your video, horizontal, vertical or square?
A whole new phenomenon (known as vertical video) has evolved because people shoot video on their smartphones portrait fashion and don’t bother to turn around to the more traditional landscape position. Popular social media apps like Periscope restricted you to only shoot upright video. They have since added horizontal capability. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook Live favour a square format.
Anything other than landscape format video is an absolute no-no for most seasoned movie makers, mainly because people have always viewed films on horizontal screens. However, with more and more people shooting and watching on mobile devices (and given the projected upsurge in online video consumption) it’s fair to assume that in the not too distant future more people will be viewing video in portrait or square format, than landscape.
Stay tuned as I’ll be reporting on trends as the video tidal wave breaks.
Online video is here to stay and businesses need to catch this rising tide before they’re overtaken by their competition. Business owners and online marketers must meet today’s customers on their own ground and this could mean producing promotional video to fit your audience’s most popular viewing methods… short, square, silent movies!