If you are older than about 20, you can probably remember a time when videos and the internet went together like oil and water, it just didn’t happen. There was no youTube, and we all installed programs on our computers with CDs. AOL was a thing and if that terrible screeching sound of a telephone modem and baud rates puts a bit of a smile on your face, then you remember. Obviously, things have changed. There was a huge push for “more videos”, “if you’re not using video, you’re wrong” and “People don’t want to read, they just want to watch”. Yeah. Well, now that the infinite scrolling of your favorite social media channel has been overtaken by the fear of using your entire high-speed data package because each post is an auto-play video post/ad is sucking down your “unlimited” data package as well as your morning, I think its time we started to think about what it takes to get people to engage with your video post.

Marketing trends come and go. Typically, they follow technology. About 30 years ago, every other company started with AAA. Plumbers, Lawyers, Autocare groups, Insurance. It didn’t matter what it was, because if you were the first to be seen in the Yellow Pages you would increase your sales. Then there was email marketing. It used to be you could get high click through rates and maybe a response if you could just get an email list and get into someone’s inbox. That’s until YP made you prove you legal company name started with AAA, because they were getting over run with a silly ploy that worked. Inboxes started getting smarter once the entire marketing world started sending emails. Now, we don’t have printed Yellow Pages, and we all have spam filters with AdBlocking. So, whats next? Video marketing… until everyone starts posting videos…EVERYWHERE. Oh yeah, kind of like right now.

There was a time when video marketing engagement was super high. Didn’t matter what it was, it was video playing on a handheld device. And, if it was streaming over the internet… there went your entire evening. Now, videos are pretty easy to skip over, because they are everywhere. The difference is, video is a thriving form of entertainment and has been for a 100 years. Video and the video experience isn’t going anywhere. Unlike email, print, even social posts from your friends, video has a way of capturing your attention unlike any other form of media. So the wise marketer should no longer be asking the question of whether or not you should use video, but “how can we make the video engaging”?

Let’s start towards that question with a few ground rules. One, engagement means people not seeing, but watching… to the end or dang close, having some emotional response, and hopefully sharing. Two, there is such thing as a “bad video”. The waste of money type ads. The ones that fail to accomplish the 3 things listed above are probably in the “bad video” category. Three, I am writing this as a film director and owner of a video production company. House of Sticks makes very high quality videos and we use the best possible equipment and people. Yet, we are still capable of making “bad videos”. So what makes a bad video? From our perspective, its typically because of lack of planning. Planning in a era where you can buy a solid image sensor camera for $500 or have one in your pocket, is the trick to making anything good. Honestly though, its always been about the planning.

So what makes a video “engaging”? Its obvious to me, but why do people spend countless hours scrolling Instagram or Facebook, playing video games or watching other people playing video games? They are trying to find entertainment. So how do you make video clickable, watchable, enjoyable, shareable? Just make it entertaining. Simple. Just make something people want to see. Don’t make an ad. Don’t be sneaky. Be clever. Be catchy. Be funny.

Its about capturing attention and then making them remember why. If you’re a marketer and thinking about using video in your next campaign remember you have the one eye and one thumb to get past. One eye on the device and one eye doing something else and you can be gone in the flick of a thumb. You can look up all sorts of engagement statistics and attention span times and all sorts of stuff, but marketing with video is pretty simple. Just get their attention and make it worth remembering. Its the second half of that phrase that is super difficult, but also where the different between your campaign checking the box and increasing revenue dramatically.

See Dollar Shave Club’s video below.

Video attention spans are shrinking. You have certainly heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”. That phrase was created when the photography camera was new. Now, a picture isn’t worth much as many words at all because we have seen millions of them. Videos are going the same way, so make sure your video voice is loud and clear. Spend some time with some video production professionals planning out your content so your next video will be memorable.