As a digital agency, there are hundreds of lines of code written inside of our office every day. When we develop websites, our work is usually divided in two parts: Front-End Development and Back-End Development.
Many of our clients ask us about it when they hear us talk about it or see it on a proposal, and that is why we decided to define the difference between those two very different worlds of development.
Story Telling Medium
The first mistake is failing to understand the medium. Video is a story telling medium that is the ideal digital tool to connect emotionally with you audience. Conversely, it’s poor at communicating stats and complex detailed messaging.
One common mistake is trying to cram your entire story into one video. Online videos should be short — ideally 1-3 minutes. Focus on one point that you want to be the takeaway message for your audience. Be clear, direct and above all use visuals that resonate rather than just talking heads.
Poor Quality Production
The truth is that we are all expert judges of video quality based on our experience watching television our entire lives. We can recognize a poorly produced presentation and negatively react to the product or service depicted. If you are going to create low quality videos, you might as well save your money and produce no videos at all.
Lights, Action, Camera
There is a reason this saying starts with lights. Any director will tell you that one of the keys to creating compelling programs is the lighting. How scenes and talent are lit is often the biggest thing missing or poorly executed in low quality or internal productions. Lighting provides depth and contrast in the frame that makes a two dimensional screen appear to be three dimensional. Lighting sets the mood and controls where the viewer’s eye is drawn and helps hold their attention. Importantly, with poor lighting viewers will think the entire program – including the messaging – is amateurish and won’t take the presentation seriously.
Compression is Making Sausage
Compressing a video is kind of like making sausage. The final product is only as good as the raw materials going in. Many in the digital industry often don’t understand well the art of compression and how to maximize quality and the experience users have. We have learned from our two decades of video compression experience the ideal settings for streaming video. With our productions we strictly maintain a network broadcast quality level of production through to the final compression. You may want to look at YouTube’s recommended upload settings for some initial guidance.
It’s important to recognize that viewers are using a wide variety of platforms from smart phones to tablets to desktops — with different browsers and different video player software). And Internet connection speeds vary for those on a cellular network, Wi-Fi or hardwired connection. We highly recommend NOT hosting multimedia files on your web server, but uploading them to YouTube and embedding the YouTube video on your web page. Hosting videos on your own site will add significantly to your server load, but more important, if you provide the wrong compression format or codec, your users may not be able to see your video at all. YouTube streams out a variety of different resolutions and codecs based on the user’s browser, device, screen resolutions, and Internet connection speed.
How a video is integrated within your website is also critically important. The tendency is to feature videos on the home page because that page gets the most traffic. Video should be an element within a broader digital strategy. What is the goal of the video? It may be that a video on an SEO landing page may improve conversions more than it would on the home page.
We’re happy to share with you more of our insight into online video. We welcome your thoughts encourage you to reach out to us to talk about how to utilize video to improve your digital marketing.