As a producer of corporate promotional videos, I’m often approached by clients with the comment, “We want to make a three minute video on…”. You can replace three minutes with other numbers, five minutes is also a common number.
The beauty of web based video is that there are no restrictions on the duration, unlike TV adverts which have to comply with schedules and the length of the AD breaks etc., so a better starting point should really be “I want to tell people about ….” and the length of the video will be what it is.
The issue is when do people stop watching a video? There are various statistics out there on the web which recommend various lengths but I suggest that the guideline should be to get to the point as soon as possible.
A couple of years ago, I gave a talk to some local entrepreneurs on the subject of video for business and I tried an experiment. I asked the delegates to stand up while watching the following video and to sit down when they “got” what the product was all about. This, I suggest, is the point when the viewer will most likely stop watching.
Despite the video being almost three minutes long, all of the delegates had sat down within the first minute. When the video had finished playing I gave them the opportunity to own up if they had sat down too early – none did, although there may have been some of the old “peer pressure” effect.
So, from this we can deduce that most viewers on YouTube have probably stopped watching the video by the time they get to 60 seconds. So why make it any longer?
Of course, I’m not suggesting every video should be 60 seconds long. Not at all. The length of a video (when used on the Internet) should be as long as it needs to be to get the message across and if that’s 22, 42 or 97 seconds, then that’s the length that it should be.
Incidentally, Screwfix continue to use the video above but I notice that they’ve (understandably) edited it down to 1:18. I should also say that Space-Plug is a very nifty invention and I hope they don’t mind me using their video as an example.
Another client understands the concept of just saying it as it is. Last year, BrizeBox were launching their Smarter Post Box and simply wanted to show their product in action. I started talking about music and voice overs etc. and they said they didn’t need any of that, they just wanted to show the post box in action. There was also a budget constraint so we filmed and edited their 45 second video in half a day.
The video has been very effective and because it’s so simple (and, yes, low cost) other versions have been made since with seasonal variations. Keep visiting the BrizeBox website or their Facebook page to catch their St Valentine’s and Easter video ads.
These days, when everything has to be instant, people don’t hang around for the whole story so it’s important to put your key message at the start of the video because if you leave it to the end, the odds are the viewer will miss it. That goes for your call to action as well. (The Call to Action is the bit at the end with phrases such as “Call me” or “visit us at www.stevefeeney.com) etc.) Consider having your website address in one corner from the start, that way they can always follow up their interest in your product or service whether they get to the end or not.
TVNZ make good use of very short ads on their news website. They’re the (commercial) national broadcaster in New Zealand and they place a 15 second ad in front of most video news items. It’s amazing how much you can tell your audience in just fifteen seconds with a little thought and creativity and it’s so short that people seem prepared to sit through them. Personally, I would rather they were even shorter (say 10 seconds) but that presents even more of a challenge.
Apple launched their Apple Watch on YouTube with a series of three 15 Second ads. Ideal for social media.
So, what should you consider when commissioning a new promotional video?
- What is your message? This is always the first question!
- How can we say it in an engaging way?
- Will the viewer see the call to action?
- You should also consider your audience – how old etc. – so that you speak to them in their own language.
Steve Feeney Productions specialise in producing promotional videos for business, NPO’s and charities. Whether you want to promote your company, product or service we are very happy to discuss your requirements. Your solution is just one call away 07840 400 225.