I wrote recently about the video display changes Facebook has made. I’m not going to revisit that, you can read the article HERE. What it made me think about was that it is now more important than ever to not make an annoying business video. In truth, it’s now vital that the videos we make are as engaging as possible. Sometimes budget and time restrictions mean that we can’t ever make the fun, engaging video we want. We have to concentrate on our core message about product and service. So if we can’t make something super engaging we absolutely must ensure that we aren’t annoying.If we can’t make something super engaging we absolutely must ensure that we aren’t annoying. Here's how... Click To Tweet
What Makes Business Videos Annoying?
It is difficult to assess what specific elements and shots irritate viewers. Research is sparse with regard to what actions or performers produce negative reactions. What we do know is that starting a video with a caption is not as effective as starting with people in action. We also know that lecturing our audience is very off-putting. Unfortunately, Facebook does not give us the choice regarding autoplay of audio content. That is a major source of irritation for viewers and we have no power over it unless we make the radical choice to make a silent video. The next major thing we do that is annoying to viewers is to interrupt what people are trying to watch. A third annoying mistake we can make is to not caption our video.
What Can We Do To Not Be Annoying?
I’m going to offer a few pieces of advice.
1. Always caption your video.
This is so that if viewers are opting to silence all video content your message still gets across. This is particularly useful when you consider how many people using their phone in public want privacy regarding what they are watching. It’s also just a common courtesy to hearing impaired viewers. I read an article recently where a fellow video producing bluntly said that if you don’t caption your videos you are simply burning money.
2. Don’t pay to have your advert play as a mid-roll.
The data is still sketchy on this but my feeling is that the irritation you cause viewers is harmful to your brand. There are rumours circulating that Facebook’s mid-roll policy is so damaging to video views that the company may abandon this change. I will wait to see, but the rumours also say that the mid-roll adverts themselves are viewed only very occasionally as people just turn off.
3. Structure your videos for the viewer.
Usually we would structure a business video with an introduction, then tell our story and finish with a call to action. I want to change that. The reason is that there is now a good chance that our business video is going to be interrupted by a mid-roll commercial somewhere after the twenty second mark. So, I want to start with a very short intro, basically a headline, then follow with a call to action and finish with the story and a call to action reminder. I want your business message up front and to introduce an old fashioned cliffhanger to keep the audience watching.
How Do we Headline Our Video?
We start with people in action. That is genuinely eye catching. The action needs to be related to our business. A While ago I shot a video for a sawmill and garden furniture company. Midway through the video there is a timelapse I shot of the builders there making decking for a garden. It’s a cool shot. Putting it in the middle is now a mistake. I’d lead with it. Then I’d come back to it at the twenty second mark after our preliminary call to action.
How Do We Call To Action?
We need a simple statement that fits into the short time we have in the first half of our video. Even saying the company name and flashing contact details onto the screen during our first twenty seconds will do the trick. Even better if we edit our customer testimonial so that they start by saying how much the loved our company and would always recommend us.
How Do We Hang From A Cliff?
I’m going to suggest that we take a major piece of action from our traditional video and cut it into three sections with the fulfillment of the action only occurring in part three. We then space these elements throughout our video. You start with section one as per above, and then insert section two just before the twenty second mark. With any luck the mid-roll will interrupt this element or occur just after. The viewer then has a sense of unfinished business which may be enough to keep them hanging on for fifteen seconds. We then get them back to see the rest of our story and see the culmination of the major action at the end of the video. Then we finish with our usual call to action.
Mid-Roll Has Changed Video Advertising.
What I’m suggesting is that in the world of mid-roll adverts interrupting our videos we need to completely restructure them. Effectively our business videos become two videos. We start with a short video of twenty seconds and end it with an incomplete story. The rest of our information we give in part two, before finishing the story and giving the call to action. We won’t be annoying because we start with genuine people centred action and we give a conclusion to our story.