5 Misconceptions of Web Video
- Steven Chalmers
- November 5, 2012
Video on the Web has matured into a multi-billion dollar industry, with everyone from major media companies to kids with webcams uploading countless hours of video daily. Marketers have jumped on the bandwagon, using videos to build brand awareness and generate sales.
Internet video can be dramatically more powerful in delivering a message than simple text on a page. However, some of the traffic- and business-building power of video might be wasted if a website owner doesn’t understand how to use it properly. Here are some of the most prevalent misconceptions regarding video content.
1. You Have to Use YouTube
While YouTube is free and great for videos of funny cats or skateboarders faceplanting into concrete, it is not necessarily the best place to host your videos. After all, you are subject to the whims of their terms of service, and they make money off of your content by displaying ads next to it, often without compensating you.
Instead, consider hosting video on a more professional site, or even hosting it directly on your own webserver. Video compression has improved to the point where even small files sizes produce excellent-looking streaming videos. Both Flash and HTML5 web-optimized formats allow resolutions that will look crisp and without the need for gigantic files, so skip the higher resolutions which eat up bandwidth and cause your videos to play with more buffering issues.
2. Long Form Videos Don’t Work
Some insist that videos above a certain run time, such as two or five minutes, will turn off viewers due to short attention spans. This mythical attentions span deficit is just that, a myth. If your video is engaging enough, no one will click away just because a pre-determined time limit has been exceeded.
In truth, the ideal video length is simply a matter of your target market and purposes. If you expect most of your audience to be highschoolers who watch on their cell phones, then shorter is definitely the way to go. For older audiences seeking how-to information, you can go longer, and even 30 minute videos for tech tutorials are common.
3. Video Cannot be Optimized for Search Engines
It is true that that video is great at grabbing the attention of site visitors, but if no one finds it in the first place when they search, it is useless. The solution is to think carefully about the text which surrounds the video on the page it is embedded. Make sure you not only put a description of the video on the page, but that you also fill out the meta tags with relevant keywords. You might also consider typing out a transcript for your video, so that search engines can find do a better job in sending visitors your way. This also caters to visitors who prefer to read rather than watch video.
4. Views Count Above All Else
An obsession with view counts is misguided, and more people are realizing how easily video view counts are manipulated. One quick check on Fiverr shows that over 10,000 video views can be had for only five dollars. While this is flat-out cheating, it is quite prevalent, and makes judging a video’s success by view count meaningless.
Instead, marketers should focus on other metrics, such as views-to-sales conversions and number of e-mail list subscribers rather than trying to impress others with a flimsy, easily faked view count.
5. It Costs a Lot to Make Videos
Need a high-definition video camera? Whip out your phone. Most smartphones are now capable of recording beautiful high-definition images, and many computers come with video editing software built in. Combine these with free or low-cost video streaming services like Vimeo, and you can broadcast lots of quality content for very little money.
Steven Chalmers is a grizzled freelance writer who has written for the tech industry for over 10 years. When he’s not busy writing, you can find Steven covering conference call technology. Click here for more information.
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