Since we started making corporate videos at Lush back in 2008, there’s been one major shift that seems to outweigh everything else: Length is really important.
We began with three-and-a-half minutes, but tolerated four. We lopped that down to three, then to two and now, with the rise and rise of social platforms, the ideal snackable video is probably no more than 30 seconds. That’s a big edit in a short amount of time.
But our attention spans are now seemingly shot to pieces. We have super busy lives in which we carry around our phones, chewing up and spitting out as much content as we can muster. We need to be engaged within six seconds or we lose interest, and because of the limitless amount of video out there, if we don’t like watching what you’re giving us, we’ll just move on to the next one (and possibly straight into the hands of your competitor) with a swipe of a finger.
So how do we get it right? It’s pretty important considering Cisco is now predicting that video will account for 82 per cent of all consumer internet traffic by 2020.
There’s conflicting thought over how long your social video should ultimately be to create optimum engagement. Speaking from experience, anything on social that’s longer than 45 seconds needs to have serious reason to be! Short, sharp content is what we want.
Here are a few checkpoints to get you going:
Get your message front and centre. Be very clear on what your objective is and whom you’re appealing to. Cut the waffle. If it’s not crucial information, leave it out. Remember, you can make any number of short video clips, so don’t try to cram too much information into each one. And, crucially, this is one of the most important assets of social media videos: Leave the audience wanting more with your social media clip, and drive them to your website where they’ll find the full version, or more information.
How many times whilst watching a social media video have you sat through 20 seconds of twinkling music, a flashy logo animation and then a four line question in text? I have, and each time I think “this is too much like hard work. I don’t care anymore”. And I switch off.
Your message should hit me between the eyes. This is your chance to grab me, tell me, and then tell me who you are. If I’m interested, I’ll stick around long enough to find out. As a rule of thumb, you care who you are, but your audience doesn’t care as much, so putting your logo at the front could mostly just be a waste of viewing time.
Research suggests that a huge percentage of us (85 per cent on Facebook) watch videos without the sound. Why then would you put something on social media without subtitles, or at least text call outs? Inserting subtitles to tell your story is easy to achieve and it doesn’t detract from the visual element. Alternatively, text on-screen to illustrate your key points can be equally as effective if your messages are clear and concise.
Call to Action
And don’t forget, once you’ve hooked the audience in, don’t leave them hanging! A tiny website address barely visible to the eye will undo all your hard work and defeat the purpose of the video. Work on making your call to action as direct and punchy as possible, so your audience is in no doubt about what to do next.
Speaking of calls to action, here’s ours: If you want to work with an experienced video production team that really understands social video, give me a buzz at Lush – The Content Agency.