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How to argue the benefits of online video – PART 1 by

DE-BUNKING MYTHS ABOUT ONLINE VIDEO.

“UK internet users spend 240 million hours every month watching online video content, according to Experian Hitwise. In September 2011, the UK internet population made over 785 million visits to online video websites, an increase of 36% year-on-year.”

This excerpt taken from a NewMedia TrendWatch report offers up some persuasive figures. But whilst much of the data relates to services like YouTube and the BBC iPlayer, we think it shows conclusively that internet users are becoming increasingly comfortable with video as a conventional way of viewing content on the web.

Yet despite this staggering rise in popularity, organisations still seem reluctant to adopt video as part of their ‘non-text’ content strategy. In this 2-part article (Part 2 coming soon), we thought we’d take a look at some of the assumptions made about online video and the prospect of using it, to see if we can de-bunk some pre-concieved ideas:

“OUR BUSINESS DOESN’T NEED VIDEO”
…it’s not relevant to our industry…

Well, if the statistics are to be believed this is a risky position to take. According to eMarketers Top Digital Trends 2012, “…The amount of online and mobile video content is exploding…” and is actually shaping user behaviour;

  • In a keynote address at CES, YouTube’s Vice President of Global Content Robert Kyncl said that video would soon be 90% of Internet traffic. [Forbes, 2012]
  • By 2015, 76% of the internet audience, or 195.5 million people, will be viewing video regularly online. [www.emarketer.com]
  • eMarketer estimates that: ‘spending on video ads will more than double from 2011 to 2013 in key territories such as the US and UK’. [Top Digital Trends for 2012]

The problem therefore is not one of industry relevance but that user, and by default, customer expectations have already risen. The argument for keeping content as visible and engaging as possible is now more crucial than ever.

“WHAT’S THE POINT?”
…it’s expensive and it won’t benefit our business…

The point is that video provides a deeper level of engagement because it’s richer than text and images alone. Plus, it works well on mobile devices and computers, regardless of screen size. New possibilities are opening up… greater richness, greater variety and altogether a more engaging user experience.

With the ’interruption model’ of advertising fading, organisations are consciously choosing to push their messaging via content instead. And as eMarketer suggests: ’The goal now is to attract rather than distract, to engage rather than intrude.’ [eMarketer - Top Digital Trends for 2012].

So we can see the overall trend is clear and allied with less expensive production costs, it’s also more affordable than ever. Video is now a highly credible and effective way to communicate your message whatever it may be.

“IT’S TOO TECHNICAL”
…what about system integration and file formats?…

There are loads of ways to deliver video on the web so there’s something to cater for everyone, whether it’s self-hosted (ie on your own server) or hosted by a third party (YouTube/Vimeo) – system integration is not really an issue anymore. And, it’s super-easy to take a popular video format and convert it to play in any modern browser.

With the UK dubbed as “Western Europe’s leading digital nation” [eMarketer.com April 2012] we can also feel somewhat assured that our technology infrastructure is seen as capable of supporting all this rich-media!

“IT’S NOT PART OF OUR CONTENT STRATEGY”
…we’re happy using images and text…

It’s true, text and images form the backbone of most web pages but on their own they’re not going to satisfy the growing number of users who are not only accustomed to a richer online experience, but one that actually spans mobile devices and platforms. Raised user expectations mean that getting on board now to plan a content strategy with video as a prerequisite rather than an ‘optional extra’, will prevent the need to rush things (and spend more money) later.

What’s more Google loves video content – it’s ‘seo-able’ and you can use subtitles and annotations to help make your content even more accessible.

Still not convinced? Part 2 of this article will be available shortly and in it we’ll look at video and brand values, the notion of a presenter as part of your video and also how negative perceptions may influence attitudes towards online video. Follow us on Twitter to look out for a notification when it goes live.

If you have any thoughts about Part 1, feel free to post a comment. Facing scepticism from budget-holders about the benefits that video can offer? Finding it hard to quantify returns on investment for video? Want to take the plunge but not where to start? We’d love to hear your views and learn more about the challenges you’re facing with online video. 

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