We have all seen evidence how video can provide tremendous benefits to an organization’s website to engage an audience, create an emotional connection, compel a positive action or reaction, improve SEO, and increase conversions. But little is said about how video can hurt your goals if not done well.

We at Manning have been producing video for the web for 20 years and have a strong understanding of how to use this medium to maximum benefit. So what can you do to create a video that helps your website as opposed to videos that can actually negatively impact your digital marketing efforts? We’ve listed some quick tips for how to best avoid common web video mistakes.

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.

Kitchen Sink

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.

YouTube

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.

Integration

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.

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