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8 Hacks to Increase Video Engagement

Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

Video is an incredibly powerful medium for reaching, educating, and connecting with potential customers. It allows brands to evoke emotion and human connection at scale. Video is truly everywhere, from teens and influencers on TikTok to brands such as Pepsi creating a multi-million dollar ad for the Super Bowl.

It’s no secret that in order to be a successful publisher you have to be consistent in terms of creating content that not only conveys your brand message, but also captivates your audience and inspires them to stop scrolling through the bottomless pool of content we're all saturated in.

In today's steady stream of online content, engaging your audience is one of the main factors needed to make a brand stand out. Yet, navigating how to entertain your audience creatively and originally, while selling your objective, is a tricky minefield. That's why we've compiled a list of our top hacks to help your business create content that promotes your product, converts leads and grows your audience.

1. Crucial First Moments:

It’s widely believed the first 3 to 5 seconds are the make or break mark for online videos to convince your audience you’re worth their time. According to Meta for Business, “65% of people that watch the first three seconds of your video will watch it for at least 10 more seconds.” Focus on the first 5 seconds, ensure you clarify what your video is about, and leave them curious about what will happen next right from the get-go. 

Imagine a video that kept you entertained throughout the entire duration simply because it was so enticing? What visuals would it include? What questions would it ask to convince you to click on the website? Start with powerful visuals, appropriate music, a thought-provoking question, or quotes to hook the viewer straight away. As humans, our attention span is short, and as years go on, there's no doubt it’s only getting shorter.

A recent study discovered the average attention span of a human is 8 seconds, shorter than the notoriously ill-focused goldfish at 9 seconds. Therefore, the goal is to engage our audience in those vital first few seconds. 

Going Down Under
Going Down Under / Dove/GettyImages

An essential aspect of the first few moments is to ensure your brand features are front and center from the start, including your logo, brand name, tagline, or the product you want to highlight in the video. This will help people recognize you immediately and get a hint of what you're trying to convey to them.

Minute Media’s OVP, Voltax Video, enables publishers with the opportunity and flexibility to add custom branding and logos to their players, constructing a premium first impression for viewers. The customization page also provides the ability to configure the seek bar colors by adding the HEX code.

2 . Creating a Call-to-Action:

The success of a video is highly influenced by the clarity of the call to action (CTA). Videos must be entertaining and engage with the viewer, while also encouraging them to take the desired action via visual or auditory cues.

Ultimately, the goal of a CTA is to promote an immediate response from the viewer and for them to take action, whether that be viewing the website, subscribing, contacting the team, etc. It is vital that the CTA is accurate and guides the user to the exact point you desire. For example, if the CTA is to visit a specific article, yet the link only directed users to the homepage, you have already lost the user's interest and trust.

Timing is essential for the success of a video’s CTA. Generally, the most beneficial place for a CTA is at the start of the video due to uncertain completion rates - we can't assume that every viewer will watch the entire video. However, there’s no harm in including it in the middle or end of the video for those who completed it and are ready to take the next step. 

Voltax Video contains the ability to create a personalized CTA that compliments your video visually and catches the viewer's attention.

Voltax Video player with CTA button

Within direct campaigns, Minute Media's semantic matching algorithm plays an invaluable part in optimizing the venture. Instead of blindly attributing the ads across the distribution network, brands can target users semantically, maximizing the relevance of each view. Suppose an advertiser is interested in running a campaign for Nike's newest football jerseys. In this case, the algorithm can target users reading about the upcoming NFL season and even use the specific team's feed page to recommend a relevant jersey. The video campaign only begins when the viewer clicks on a relevant article, and the CTA button will direct them straight to the checkout window. The CTA strategically removes several of the viewer's friction points and encourages them to purchase quickly and easily.

3. Tell a Story, Not a Sale:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine the enormity of how much a video could be?

Videos hold the robust ability to create deep emotional connections with people and, if used in the right way, can truly create bonds between brands and consumers. Creating videos that hold value to the viewer and resonate with them can take brand marketing to the next level and drive up sales, brand awareness, and undoubtedly engagement rates. 

A fantastic example of bringing together emotions and brand marketing is Nike's campaign video "Dream Crazier," celebrating women in sport. The video spotlights female athletes from around the world who have broken barriers, defeated stereotypes, and inspired generations of athletes to chase after their dreams.

The inspiring minute-and-a-half campaign draws you in from the second it starts until the powerful ending narrated by Serena Williams, "So if they want to call you crazy? Fine. Show them what crazy can do." The advert demonstrates perfectly the large impact videos can have on viewers while still selling the product. 

At the end of the day, the key element is to keep the video informative with a clear CTA at the forefront, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box to connect with your audience and help them bond with your brand, not just the product you are selling.

4. Understand Your Audience:

Brands create videos to better connect with their consumers, build excitement around their product, and essentially drive up sales and increase awareness in the market. Predominantly, consumers should be the primary focus to achieve goals and ROI. 

Different people showing random population demographics

With this in mind, it is vital to define and segment your target audience to determine which content will resonate with them and how to best approach your video strategy for each segment. This process of dividing users into groups depending on their consumer behaviors, traits, and consumption habits to track and target what content is keeping them engaged with the brand, enables businesses to avoid using a one-size-fits-all content marketing approach, which overlooks each consumer’s individual needs - a key requirement in creating brand loyalty.

Using data from these segments, we can outline what drives this behavior and develop more relevant and targeted content, ultimately assisting in achieving the brand KPIs. 

During this process, we can also understand which channels are more effective in engaging with our target audience. For example, a B2B company might experience higher rates of video engagement on platforms such as LinkedIn, emails with marketing material, blogs, or industry news sites. Whereas, a B2C company potentially connects with their audience better through consumer-focused social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.) and influencer marketing.

Knowledge is power, and in business, it can make all the difference to achieve success. 

5. Keep it Short and Sweet:

While the optimal video length will be determined on a case-by-case basis, it’s crucial to consider the audience, industry, channel it's consumed on, and the goal of the marketing strategy when deciding on the length of your video content. Vidyard studies show the optimal video length for viewer engagement varies between 1-3 minutes, depending on your goals. You should always try to connect with the audience, summarize your goals, and state your call to action while keeping it short, sweet, and to the point. 

The length of the video plays a significant role in keeping your audience engaged. As mentioned earlier, the attention span amongst society is lowering as the years go on. People want to consume their media as they commute to work or in between meetings, therefore there is a drop in completion rates when videos tend to be longer than the 3-5 minute mark. 

In an article from Databox, they recommend a trick for longer content, “If you have information that takes longer than a minute to convey, we find it useful to switch between direct-to-camera footage and voiceover footage every 15-25 seconds.”

Essentially, you want to deliver a fast-paced and informative video that will get to the heart of the message in the first 10 seconds to ensure the audience understands the purpose of the content and will continue to watch. 

6. Cater to All Channels:

Different channels require different dimensions, and formatting accordingly and utilizing the space well on each platform is key in presenting premium content. 

90min Branded Campaign Screenshot

Planning ahead to ensure you capture the video to cater to different channels is crucial, as it can be difficult to convert a video shot horizontally to vertically. Especially on social media, having mobile-friendly content is key to creating a streamlined presence across all channels.  

Voltax Video assists brands in delivering quality content across desktop or mobile devices. ​​Since its initial release in 2018, our video player has undoubtedly been our company’s most profitable tool, and because it is seen by millions of unique visitors every day, the “look and feel” is one of the most important representations of the player as a whole.

The player also allows the user to preview the next video, increasing on-page retention, and with the ability to add custom branding and logos, brands have more opportunities to connect with their audience.

7. Captions & Subtitles:

The usage of subtitles across video content is becoming an industry standard. A recent study from Verizon Media and ad buyer Publicis Media found that 90% of mobile video watchers consumed their content on mute (via NextTV).

In a world that doesn't stop, consumers want to watch their videos on mute while waiting in a line or on public transport. By including subtitles in your videos, you instantly increase the likelihood of increasing viewers. 

A newer functionality to Voltax Video’s Video Management System (VMS) is auto-created closed captions. Anytime a video is uploaded into the VMS, corresponding closed captions are automatically generated in the backend, and users can turn them on via the player’s control panel. 

Automatically-generated closed captions URL in Voltax Video
Automatically-generated closed captions URL in Voltax Video /

Another benefit of subtitles includes improving the accessibility for those who may need them. Make sure you understand your audience and which countries you are targeting to provide a range of different languages in your subtitles.

8. Get Fancy with Thumbnails:

First impressions are everything right? So what message do you want to show your audience straight off the bat to make them want to click play? 

Having an enticing thumbnail has a major effect on increasing video engagement. Incorporating an aesthetically pleasing image and a few informative words to summarize your video helps attract viewers and lets them know what to expect.

Thumbnails, while sometimes overlooked, are a very important aspect to optimize in your video strategy. Ensure you research what your audience connects to, what kinds of thumbnails have driven engagement in the past, what competitors are doing, and which colors and features will tie into your brand’s messaging. This hack is all about appearance and, when appropriately utilized, can have significant perks.

Conclusion:

The marketing and social media industry is constantly changing in front of us, and it's a never-ending race to keep up with the latest trends. Many factors contribute towards increasing video engagement, all of which is a trial and error process to find which strategy is best suited for your brand and audience. 

Incorporate our eight hacks in your next video marketing campaign to maximize your brand’s presence and relevance in a highly crowded digital space.