Whether it’s television, paid ads on YouTube, or on their own websites, more and more brands are realizing the importance of including videos as a storytelling and branding tool. In fact, videos make up as much as 80% of all data transfer on the internet, and 78% of people say they watch videos online on a weekly basis. Users also report paying more attention, being more engaged, and even making important buying decisions based on video content.
While building out your website, you might suddenly come to the realization that you can include videos as part of it. This might seem like such a fantastic idea that you can’t wait to start embedding videos all throughout your webpages. However, as with all good things, it’s best to take a measured approach and to know when to use it and how.
Why Is Video Content So Powerful?
Videos Are the Most Visceral Form of Media
There’s a reason why Box Office movies can rake in hundreds of millions of dollars and why we have countless viral videos popping up all the time: Quite simply, we love watching them. Because videos combine visuals and audio, they’re the most engaging form of media that don’t require any form of interaction. Engaging both people’s eyes and ears is a surefire way to grab their attention, and keep it.
They Help Tell Your Story
You have no doubt heard the importance of storytelling when it comes to creating your brand and marketing your business. What better format to tell your story than through a video? Whether it’s an infographic-like video that explains a part of your service, a poignant story of how you improved a customer’s life, or even interviews with your leaders or employees, videos tell stories best.
Videos Keep Visitors Engaged
Studies show that websites with video content on average keep users on their webpages 60% longer than websites without. A report by WYZOWL found that 79% of users prefer to watch a video than find the information themselves. You already know the importance of keeping visitors on your website for as long as possible; not only does that increase your chance of converting them into customers, but it also looks great for your search engine statistics. Videos are an effective tool to keep their attention longer.
How to Use Video In Your Website
Quality Over Quantity, Always
I will go more into specifics of when and when not to use videos on your website. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should always use videos sparingly. Remember, you have a lot of other content on your webpage that you want your users to get to, so they shouldn’t endlessly watch video clips. Always ask yourself whether a video is needed or whether the info can be better presented in another format.
Also, users came to read and browse as well (this is the internet, after all). This means visitors will prefer to read and internalize some info at their own pace — not the pace of your video. As a final consideration, remember that videos use a lot of bandwidth and data which might be limited by your host and can frustrate visitors if they have data limits or are subscribed to pay-per-use plans.
To Autoplay or Not to Autoplay?
In general, autoplay is not a good thing. First, as videos automatically start buffering, they often use up bandwidth and data without a visitor even realizing. Second, it’s often the case that a video plays with sound, but you have no idea where the sound is coming from. If you have multiple tabs open, it’s very frustrating trying to find the video and close or pause it.
Even the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web, discourages the use of autoplay. This isn’t a problem if you use soundless background videos for visual effect. However, it’s bad practice in most other cases. Many people were even upset when YouTube started to autoplay videos — just imagine your website. Furthermore, some browsers like Chrome and Safari no longer support autoplay for anything but background visuals.
An increasingly popular use for videos on your website is in place of where you would usually use a background image or color. In fact, in Wix and Squarespace, the editor lets you pick between an image, color, or video as your section background. Whereas with WordPress, you’ll need a premium theme to implement this feature. This can be a striking visual asset that instantly draws in users’ attention and makes your webpage look modern, interactive, and professional.
However, you should be careful that parts of the video don’t obstruct any content on top of it by blending in with the color. You should also be conscious of webpage loading times and using up visitor bandwidth. However, one or two of these short clips on repeat in a data-saving format, such as a .gif, won’t be too bad.
How Long Is Too Long?
Imagine you go to a software program website and there’s a clip that’s meant to show how their platform works. You click on the video hoping that you can get a quick visual representation of how it works. However, you see that the video is 25 minutes long! Would you watch it, or look for info elsewhere?
Considering how fast-paced our lifestyles are and how many people access the web on their mobiles, most people won’t be able to suddenly sit down and watch a 25-minute clip. A good time range for videos on your webpages is around one-to-three minutes. Most visitors will be able to watch a video of that length, and they won’t mind doing so. If you like, you can then link to a longer video with a more in-depth explanation.
Where to Place the Video and Where Not To?
This is a tricky question to answer, as it depends largely on the layout of your webpages. A few great areas to use widgets are either as backgrounds, as clips within your static website pages (like the homepage) next to relevant blurbs or pieces of text, or at the end of blog posts for further viewing or information.
One thing I definitely do not recommend is using videos as pop-ups. These videos feel intrusive and will likely annoy visitors browsing your website. Also, if you’re going to autoplay videos, make sure to put them somewhere plainly visible so that users don’t need to search for that mysterious audio coming from their computer.
What to Consider When Making Videos for Your Website
There are some other considerations you should also make before you implement videos on your website:
- Remember that videos are hard work and expensive. Professional-looking videos aren’t easy to make, and there’s a reason why there are professional videographers out there. If you don’t have the expertise, it’s best to enlist professional help.
- Keep your branding consistent. Just as you put some effort into crafting your brand and voice in other areas of marketing, you should make sure that it’s consistent in your videos as well.
- Make sure your video is bite-sized, yet relevant. As I mentioned, you should use videos sparingly. As you go through your website content, identify elements (if any) that might be presented better in video format or for which video can add value. Your video should supplement your content, not the other way around.
- Make your video highly accessible. The web is slowly moving toward accessibility for all, and you should be part of that trend. A couple ways to do this, as recommended by the W3C, for example, are by adding descriptive captions as well as a full substitute transcript.
Leverage Videos to Take Your Website to the Next Level
As they say, “With great power comes great responsibility,” and this is equally true when it comes to videos. How responsible you are in the way you use and implement videos on your website can either make it an amazing marketing and user-engagement asset, or make your website frustrating to use and appear gimmicky.
By always thinking of why, how, and when to use video content, you’ll more likely be one of those responsible website owners who improves your visitors’ user experience, drastically.
There are no rules set in stone. However, one guideline that you should always follow is to let your content dictate whether a video is necessary.
WYZOWL report: https://www.wyzowl.com/video-marketing-statistics-2017/