Yet, although evolution has kindly afforded us the ability to do more extreme attention-commanding things than merely staring, such as drive down the motorway at night for hours, or cook for scary chefs on national television under intense pressure from that woman named Monica who I can never remember the second name of, the idea persists that a promotional video should always be incredibly short. And not that it just should be, but worse, that is must be. Or else, your business is going to suffer badly for it.
It's not as simple as all that, of course. More to the point, none of us have the decisive answer. And we never will. Because the needs of both people and businesses are constantly changing. It's just the way it goes.
When people ask me this question, what I generally say is something like this, and something which I am, by far, not the first person to say: your video needs to be as long as it really needs to be. What are you selling or trying to promote? Where will it be shown?
Think about your audience and what you are selling. The demographic is vital and should never be ignored. When conjuring up that most excellent idea for a video, consider your demographic's expectations, and ponder if your video is the only way to convey a certain point, or points, effectively. If the information in your video is merely a continuation of things that can be found within the written content of your website, then there's a good chance that your video can be fairly short. Is the information in your video brand-new, as in, never-seen-before? If that's the case, then there's a good chance that a lot is riding on that video, and you should consider the duration of it in those specific terms (and many others, of which there just isn't time to write about here).
What I mean by all that is this: you don't want to bore your audience, but you do want to ensure that you convey all the vital information quickly and accurately. If your video needs to be another minute longer in order to include all the details, then it needs to be a minute longer. Sometimes you can't skimp.
Of course, something that's always going to make your video longer is beautiful footage that isn't really relevant, but you, or your videographer, are unwilling to part with. And there is a place for this, it's true, depending on the sector you are working with and -- I hate to repeat it again... -- your demographic. Sometimes you can get away with it, like if you're selling an object that is beautiful, or things that human beings naturally find themselves looking at. Sometimes you can't. Like with stationary products that don't move or do much. The list goes on. Expectations, again.
Also think about the tone. Are you telling a story with your video? Great. Then, perhaps, you can allow your video to be slightly longer than you first thought. Is it dynamic? Is there movement? Is there a lot going on? Fantastic! In that case, you can definitely allow your video to be slightly longer. But be careful. You don't want to bamboozle the people you're trying to sell stuff to. I love the word bamboozle. There, I've written it twice now. It's a good day after all.
Another thing which plays on people's minds is their competition. Or, to be more specific, what their competition are doing and how they are doing it. If your competitor's have just released a video that is 1 minute long, you're probably going to be thinking that you should do something similar, and that if you don't, all commercial hell is going to break loose. And there is merit in that thought -- particularly if the firm have done this before with demonstrable success. But that doesn't mean that that is the only way to do it. There is always one more way, and sometimes, just sometimes, it pays to be different.
Why not make a series of short videos? Why not inject some carefully considered humour? Why not...you get the idea. Ideas make the world go around, right?
That's all for this month's blog post. Have a question? Need an answer? Feel free to get in touch via email, or using the contact form.