Information is one of the world’s biggest commodities today. It comes at us even when we’re not looking for it in the form of TV ads, billboards and magazine covers at the checkout. But when we are looking for it, we are often spoilt for choice as to the way we receive it. You’ve probably heard someone say “I’m very visual”. That person is referring to their ability to take in messages in the form of pictures, graphics, drawings and … video.
Video consumption of information is often considered a more passive way to learn. After all, many of us have been guilty of ‘switching off’ in front of the TV, but research has shown that even if we are passively watching the box, we are still absorbing data, recognising brands and symbols and responding subconsciously to what’s happening. In fact, the passive intake of messages through the video medium makes it a brilliant subliminal format.
More effective absorption of information
On the other hand, some people love to be educated and informed via video because they simply absorb the material more easily. Expecting every person to be as efficient – or even willing – to read a page of information is unrealistic. We’ve learned, courtesy of the web, to scan-read and be extremely selective about how much time we spend on taking in information.
When a reader becomes a viewer instead, the distractions are minimised and they are compelled to watch the entire video so as not to miss anything. Yes, on YouTube, it’s often possible to hover over the progress bar to view a thumbnail of what’s coming up and jump to it, but it’s usually easier just to watch the video as it is presented.
Aim to engage from the start!
As discussed above, we Internet users have a very short attention span and if another ‘shiny thing’ appears, then we have no hesitation in moving on to that for our gratification fix. You will have mere seconds to catch your viewer’s attention. After catching it, the aim is to keep it.
- Grab your viewer’s attention instantly by recapping the reason they opened the video in the first place.
- Don’t make your viewer wonder if they’ve opened the right video or been led astray to information they weren’t looking for.
- Keep ‘ambience’ to a minimum unless it accompanies the content. Too many images of blue skies, leafy avenues, cascading money, crowds of people and so on before getting to the point will only frustrate the viewer.
- Your demeanour, tone of voice and smile will convey the pleasantries. Use the precious time you have to get straight to the point.
- Avoid welcoming the viewer to the video. That’s simply three seconds of their valuable time you have just wasted.
- Don’t save your best nuggets of wisdom for the end; pepper them throughout … unless you keep referring to them throughout the video, making the viewer want to watch the whole thing.
Use video as video
What sets video apart from other media? It moves and it’s audible.
There’s no point assembling a montage of photos and images when you’re creating a video. If people want to see images, they can visit your Pinterest boards or your Flickr or Tumblr pages. Video serves its own purpose and your viewers will expect to see dynamic, moving imagery and experience the audio that goes with it.
Incorporate readable information in your videos
Use video captioning to add labels, instructions, captions, speech bubbles, prices, ingredients, measurements and so on to your videos. This multi-dimensional format enhances the user’s experience and understanding of your product or how-to process.
Cater to a wider audience
For countless reasons, information consumers have preferences for its delivery. If you’re not offering video as a choice, then you could be missing out on opportunities that will be snapped up by your competition.
Experiment with video on your website and you’ll likely find that your capacity for information output grows and in turn, so will your audience.