Video Length: It Depends on What You Measure

Video shoot with lights and camera

Some research has shown that there is a direct and consistent relationship between how long an ad is viewable and the increases in brand consideration and awareness. So the question is; how long should an ad be? Is the attention span of the potential customer shrinking down to nothing, or is it still possible to get them to willingly watch a longer ad?

For brands who are mainly focused on awareness, the shorter ad format may prove more effective and efficient than a longer video. With a shorter video, the brand stays top of mind. They are good for raising awareness and for creating signals that influence more frequent searches.

However, with the use of more complex stories it is possible to create a more meaningful connection to the brand that is being advertised. For a brand that wishes to move beyond simple awareness or to make a deeper connection with their consumer base, a longer story may be necessary.

The most important thing a brand can do is measure and compare their results to their critical overall business goal. Is ad recall or brand favorability more important? With shorter videos, customers typically show greater ad recall, whereas with longer videos there is less ad recall but more brand favorability. Whichever is more important to your brand should dictate elements of length.

If using a longer video format, it is important to state the brand early enough in the video that the customer will see it before, and if, they decide to skip the video. Generally, only a quarter of customers who view longer ads make it all the way through to the end, even for the most compelling ads. It is important to create a story that weaves the brand throughout the ad, instead of just popping up a logo in the beginning of the video. Oddly enough, just showing the logo generally reduces the view through rate of the ad.

With all of these things to consider, it is important to remember that a great story can still grab today’s audience, even with that pesky skip button beckoning to be pressed. The pressure that the skip button presents may push companies into believing that everything has to be faster, faster, faster, but that may not be true. Shorter ads may actually lessen the attention given to the company, while longer ads take the time to connect with the viewer, and possibly even change their minds.

Deciding on video length is important based on many factors, and not only those listed above. If you want to get into a more length discussion, give us a call.

 

Storyboard or Script?

Which is better? Does it matter?

While we don’t get this question often, it’s a valid question. A more likely question we get sometimes is, “Can we create a storyboard so we can see what the plan is?” The answer is usually yes, but there are times it doesn’t make sense. First let’s start with what a storyboard is versus what a script will do.

Storyboard

A storyboard is developed to show a client pictorially what may be shown on screen. These usually work well when we do product videos, especially when the finished video will need to be approved by a third party. Third parties to a product video might be QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Usually when one wants to create a product video to be featured on one of these channels, it’s a good idea to make sure the video matches their specifications and needs. It becomes costly to re-shoot or re-edit a video simply because it wasn’t approved prior to shooting. For instance the video below required a storyboard so it could be approved by management and shown to the retailer. The retailer had some input as to how it featured certain components that might help the product sell faster in their stores. They know their customers, so get them to help!

Here’s the video:

Here’s the storyboard that went with it:

Scripting

So now that we’ve discussed storyboarding, let’s shift over to scripting. Scripting is when we take what you do, how you do it, and/or why you do it and convert that into a spoken script that highlights the points your video needs to create. Spoken script can be you (or someone you designate from your business) on camera reading from a TelePrompTer, or it can be professional voice over. We have hundreds of professional voice over options to choose from and several languages. It’s important to choose which voice best represents your business. We can help with that as well.

One question that comes up when dealing with a script is, “Who should write the script?” Our recommendation is most frequently that we should write the script. We say this because we know how close you are to your business and sometimes we find people close to the work have a hard time formulating the correct message for the audience. For example, we’ve had some clients take a stab at their script only to include industry jargon and technical information that their target audience didn’t care about. What the target audience needed to know was, can you do what I expect of you, on time, and on budget? Those were the questions that needed to be answered, not the technical stuff. Sometimes the client is best suited to write the script, but most times, we can boil down the problem-solution for you making it less stressful during the shoot. Keep in mind, no matter what, the client has the last say in the script!

Here’s an example of a script for another product:

The concept is, tell the story, give someone the reason to buy your product or service. You’ll also notice that there are two columns in this script: a description of what you’ll see on the screen and the actual spoken words. This was a relatively straightforward script, but you get the picture. Here’s the finished video:


Wanna buy a Tator Gator now? We did!

If you have any questions about your video project, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to help! Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook.

3 Reasons to Hire a Video Production Company Instead of Doing It Yourself

Hello everyone. My name is Tim Stoddart. I am thrilled to be able to put forth some content for Plum Productions Media. I am the CEO of Stodzy Inc. We are an SEO and digital media company located in Boca Raton Florida. Over the years, I have witnessed the rise of video content. Creating quality video for your company or brand is more important then ever. I know what you’re thinking. “Can I do this on my own without hiring a production company?” The answer is yes you can. But whenever possible, I would recommend hiring a video production company. We live in an amazing new world. Every other day it seems that there are new inventions, new technologies and new innovations designed to streamline our lives. We have more options then ever. The smart phone is at the top of the list of “most important inventions of our lifetimes.” One area that the smart phone has really impacted has been video production. iPhones now shoot and record at 4k which is an extremely clear video quality considering how small the camera is. It’s no wonder so many small brands are taking it upon themselves to start creating their own video content.

“But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

I would agree that there are advantages to shooting video on your own. Speed is a factor. If you shoot a video on your phone you can have it posted on Facebook or YouTube in a manner of minutes. Also, spontaneity plays a role. It is very important to be able to hit record on a moments notice just in case you are a first hand witness of something amazing. Aside from those reasons, I still recommend using a video production company whenever possible. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

Production Companies are Masters at Editing

I would argue that editing is more important then shooting the actual footage. Raw footage is the foundation to any good video. Without the footage you have nothing to work with. However, it is the editing that will truly make a video come alive. Video production companies understand the importance of incorporating B roll, transitions, music and other sound effects. This is where the magic happens. For a video to be an effective marketing tool, it needs to hit an emotional chord. Videos have the power to truly leave an impact on someone. They can make you think, they can inspire you, they can make you angry and even make you sad. Music and sound effects play a HUGE roll in how a video will effect a viewer from an emotion standpoint. There is no doubt about that. One of the best examples of this is from Gary Vaynerchuk. Vaynerchuk is a famous social media personality. He hosts two successful YouTube shows. One of which is called #AskGaryVee, the other is called The Daily Vee. #AskGaryVee uses very little editing. The show is a simple round table discussion in which Gary answers questions sent to him from fans. It is very good and valuable content but the informative nature of it isn’t meant to leave an emotional impact. The Daily Vee however is a daily video blog in which Gary and his team record their adventures and turn it into some kind of lesson for the viewer. These videos capture footage from drones and handheld cameras. They capture candid footage, great B roll and use background music and sound effects as a great add on to the content. The Daily Vee truly hits you in the feels. That’s why these videos have such an impact on his brand.

Audio Quality in Smart Phones is Still Lacking

You don’t realize how important audio quality is until you start recording your own footage. I’ve seen this happen many times. Some brand or company gets very excited about an idea for a video. They pull out their phones, they hit record and they feel good about what they have done. Unfortunately, when they upload the video they quickly realize that the sound is hard to hear and in some moments of the video there are loud bursts of “fuzz” when someone may have rubbed their hand over the microphone. If your sound quality is poor, your video will not get nearly enough views as it potentially could. Not putting the effort into good sound quality is a huge mistake. A video production company will be able to nullify this. Ideally, you want to record your video and your sound in two separate tracks. Once you have all the raw footage, you can pair it all together so that you have high quality sound that matches the high quality footage.

iPhones Lead to Shaky Footage

Have you ever tried to hold your hand completely still? It’s almost impossible. You can try it out yourself. Pick up your phone and start recording some still footage in your home or in your back yard. In the moment it may feel as though you are holding the camera still, in reality there are tiny little shakes and bends in the footage that will most definitely impact the finished product. Video production companies have ways to remedy this. Their cameras are equipped with shoulder harnesses, tripods, stands and shoulder straps to ensure that every video is shot with still unwavering footage. All the little details really add up. If you are shooting a commercial, a product shot, an informative piece or even a collection of still frames you want to make sure your video content is as professional as possible. Poor video quality will make you come off as very amateur.

If It’s Worth Doing, It’s Worth Doing Right.

When I was growing up, I spent years doing carpentry for a small business. My boss was a big man named Mike. Mike had been a carpenter his entire life, he didn’t have much patience for mediocrity. Any time I find myself wanting to cut corners I think of Mike and his view on hard work. Mikes philosophy was simple. If you do things right the first time, you never have to do them twice. Simple enough, yet very profound. Having the patience and the discipline to do work with 100% effort and quality is very difficult. We all have moments when we look to cut corners or to find an easier, softer way. In the end, if you pay attention to detail and you take the time to create excellent work, you will be further along then you would have been otherwise. Every little bit counts. The quality of your work is reflective upon the quality of your life. You may be reading this thinking “I think I can still do this on my own.” That may be true, but the question you should ask yourself is “do you want to do it twice?”

Video Marketing Myths

With over 300 hours of video sent to YouTube every minute (on average) and millions watching these videos everyday, how do you know what to do to be effective when it comes to video marketing? It seems a very small amount of businesses actually know how to take advantage of these actions. People are starting to catch on and businesses increasingly are using video to connect with customers and potential customers. They are finding that video is a highly effective tool to illustrate their personality and authority in their industry.  So, what myths do these businesses sometimes believe?

Which of the following about video marketing are myths and which are facts?

  • View Count – “We are successful if our video goes viral,“ or “Our video is a success if we have over 1 million views.” False. While this may be true in some respects, views do not equate to action taken by your customers or purchases by customers. If views were your goal, we would have to ask why. Why are views important? If you have a new product or app that no one knows about and views will help educate people who didn’t know your app existed, then maybe viewers is good…but it shouldn’t be the only measure.
  • The appearance (quality) of the video is more important than the message.  Myth. While we believe quality is very important in video, it is not what generates sales. The message is just as important. We’ve seen some videos that are a little poor on quality convert more sales than a flashy video. That said, if your goal is to show people that your business is trustworthy and professional, appearance is very important; however, the message must compete with competitors (both direct and indirect).
  • My video should sell to the viewer – Myth. There are all kinds of reasons to create and post a video…and only one of which is to sell. Many times clients contact us to create videos for other reasons, such as, recruiting video, office tours, professional expert video, and the list goes on. The client often wishes to tell their story, not sell it, by taking an approach of, “We’re experts in this. Watch us, listen to us, and let us help you when it’s time.” This is a much more useful tool to use than, “Buy! Buy! Buy!”
  • We must have actors in our video – Maybe true. Maybe not. While you can add actors and actresses, typically this just adds costs that may not be needed. It really depends on the video. For instance, if an employee or the president of the company can speak on camera about the topic rather than a paid professional, then why spend the money? On the other hand, if the topic needs a bit of an expert (like a doctor when you’re not), then an expert actor (actress) might be required. We can help with that.

We hope this helps you decipher and navigate through the video production process a little easier. We are always willing to help and answer questions. It’s OK to call us, even if you’re not ready to decide. In fact, we welcome it. We’d rather you go in with both eyes open than guess.

Improving Your Marketing Strategy

Get Creative!

It seems the trend has become more than a trend these days. Video has become the hot thing to do! If you’re a small or large business not using video, listen up! We have a few tips to share about how to improve your marketing strategy. We know that text is the gold standard in conveying and sharing information. We do it all the time. Between text messages, website text, emails, etc., this has been the traditional way we share information with each other. That’s about to change. We’re seeing video pop up more and more on our social media feeds. We’re seeing video billboards. We’re seeing ads pop up on websites that are…what else? Video. The reason this is happening is because video is more engaging and the effect on the viewer is longer lasting. The other reason this is happening is because viewers can easily digest the information being shared. If you’re handed an owners manual or a video link, which would you use to learn how something new? We’d guess a link would be your choice.

How Long Should My Video Be?

Given the above, how long should videos be? We’ve talked about this before in a previous post. Since the attention span of viewers is relatively short, we recommend your video be short. Short means different things to different people, so when we say short, we mean approximately 60 seconds for some and 90 seconds for others. Think about Twitter, SnapChat, Vine…all of those platforms force us to keep it short and to the point. Besides, don’t you like to learn something quickly and move on? That doesn’t mean that longer videos should never be used. Longer videos should be used when appropriate, such as, client testimonials, office tours, or any time it really takes a little longer than 60 seconds to say what needs to be said.

How to Make Your Video Better

Tell stories. People love to listen to stories. Interestingly, videos that tell a story get watched more often than those that don’t. Videos that tell a story and move you emotionally are the ones that get shared most. For example, Samsung created and posted this ad for their new service for the hearing impaired. We shared these because we care about the message and want others to see it.

Think “What Should the Viewer Do Next?”

At the end, are people left wondering, what was the point? Should I click on something? Should I share it? Or did I just waste some of my valuable time? More than likely, you have some form of call to action that you want your viewer to take. Don’t be shy about asking them to do it. Whether it’s “Donate Now” or “Call Us Today,” there should be some call to action so the viewer knows exactly what to do and why they watched the video.

Video SEO

I hope you realize by now that you must optimize your videos to get the most traction with Google and other search engines. Believe it or not you can insert transcriptions into your videos on YouTube…and it’s extremely easy. In fact, YouTube does it for you… automatically. The reason this is important is because these words are like the text on a website. This is where the keywords that are spoken are converted to text and indexed as keywords. If you want to optimize your video for search (for both Google and YouTube…the number 1 and 2 search engines on the planet), you should create a transcription in your videos. These are just a few tips that we hope will help you create and get the most out of your video. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call.

4 Tips to Maximize Your Fundraising Efforts

Video is fast becoming the most useful tool in getting your message out. We feel that people have moved from, “Let’s try video,” to “We have to have video.” It has become a mainstream medium and nonprofits and for-profit organizations alike. How do you maximize your efforts (hint: this works for both nonprofits and non-profits)? Waaaaay back in 2014, a study about trends in fundraising technology described the profile of a successful fundraiser. Here they are:

  • 3+ Software Management Tools
  • 5+ Communication Channels
  • 3+ Web-Based Tactics
  • 3+ Payment Acceptance Methods
  • Online Donation Acceptance
  • Contributions Management Software Usage
  • Video Content Sharing, and
  • Blogging.

Most nonprofits do some of these, but most do not do all. One that we feel nonprofits are missing is the use of video.

  1. Tell The Story. Tell it Vividly. Fundraising is tough. You have to find the likely contributors, deepen the relationships with current supporters, stand out from other nonprofits…and among all of that, find new, creative ways for fundraising. The story you must tell, however, is your unique story. The story of your success and the awesome work that your organization does. Video will ultimately do this and provide the viewers with content they can relate to, share, and improve the awareness about your organization’s efforts.
  2. Please Share! It’s interesting, people like to share stuff. We don’t know if it’s because we were taught to share when we were kids or if we just think something is so cool and awesome that we want to be the first of our friends to show it off… What we do know is that people share. This is where a strong video makes all the difference. It must show the viewer your story and end with some form of call to action…It can be a “Call Us” or a “Donate Now.”
  3. Short is Sweet. With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Vine, etc., people only have a short amount of time to determine if they want to continue watching. It’s also important to remember that most viewers now watch video (from the services above) on their smart phone or tablets. They want quick videos to get the message and move on.
  4. Front-load the Message. Adweek’s article about Video Trends suggests front loading the message. No one wants to watch a 30-second video commercial on their iPhone (but most will on their computer when researching you)…so if you’re creating a short message for social media purposes, front load the message. Let them move on if they’re not interested. They aren’t your type of customer.

We hope these suggestions help you maximize your fundraising efforts and bring in even more dollars. We suggest that if you are a nonprofit, follow the links above to do the research on what you might be able to improve. We’re always looking for ways to improve, so we hope you don’t mind us sharing!  

Source: HandCrank Films, 2015, http://handcrankfilms.com/5-tips-to-improve-fundraising/

5 Reasons To Include Video in Your Marketing Plan & Strategy

Why Video? Why Is Video Important?

Most businesses have a business plan and a portion of it usually includes some form of a marketing strategy. If you’re like most, you’ve seen a lot of people starting to incorporate video into their marketing strategy, but you might wonder why. If you’re wondering this, you’ve come to the right place.

  1. Social Media Loves Video. Social media is most likely a portion of your marketing plan, but adding video can make it even better. By adding video, you create engaging content. Your fans will stay on your page longer because they’re watching your video (this is the same reason you should have video on your website, by the way). But, just because you have a video doesn’t mean you should only post it on social media. Consider the type of social media you’re posting it to, for example: a Twitter video post should be short; a Facebook video post must not contain certain elements and might be 15 to 30 seconds; and, a LinkedIn video might include a different message than either of the other two.
  2. Make Your ‘Call to Action’ Come Alive. Any marketing effort requires a call to action…unless you’re Apple (and even they are subtly calling you to action). Because video is rather passive (push play and watch), it’s important to include a call to action…if not a couple of them. Need an idea of what a good call to action looks like? Check out some of our Non-Profit Videos. It’s important to have a call to action that is subtle enough to not annoy, yet actionable to not be missed.
  3. Your Fans & Your Viewers Want It. Video is just more effective. There are several studies that have stated that product videos have a significant increase in sales when accompanied with a sales informational video (Kissmetrics, Wingify, and Video Brewery). More importantly, think about yourself. When faced with a page full of words versus a video of the same message, which would you prefer? Makes you wonder why we wrote this and didn’t record a video about this right? We have our reasons.
  4. Analysis. Video inherently contains analytics if placed correctly. Using YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, or even Facebook, you can see how many people watched your video, where they came from to arrive at your video, and even, in some cases, how long they watched. Depending on where you place your video, tools to analyze your video engagement might even include learning when most people stopped watching. This can be very helpful. What if they fell off because they went to the “Donate” or “Buy” page? You’d want to know what was happening in the video at that very second, right?
  5. Respect. We believe that video has become the new business card. We may be pushing the thought envelope here, but think about the transition from, if you’re in business, you must have a business card…to, you must have a website…to, you must have a website that is mobile friendly…to, you must have a video on that website. Your prospective clients want to know who you are and what you stand for before they call you. In fact, most people who take action and call us have already reviewed our videos on our website and even checked out a blog post or two. This is just part of the research.

These are 5 reasons why we think including video in your marketing plan/strategy is important. If you have other reasons, we’d love to hear them… Oh yeah, and we didn’t event include SEO as a reason to include video. Google owns YouTube and loves it when you post a video to their video site…you get extra bonus points in SEO when you have a well-tagged, well-placed video on YouTube.

The Three Types of Videos Your Business Must Have This Year!

Make 2017 a Video Year – Stay On Trend!

First of all, we know that video has made a HUGE stride in this past year. You can’t scroll through Facebook, LinkedIn, or a site like CNN without seeing ads with video. Having the right kind of video for that medium is critical. This article isn’t about that type of video; however, it is about the three most important videos you should have on your business website. When reading the three types below, think, “What does my prospective client want to know?” Then ask yourself, “Do these three videos answer their questions?” I’ll bet they do.

Company Overview Video

Almost two-thirds of all customers shopping online find a video about the company helpful in making a decision whether to buy from you or not. It can be simple or complex, but it needs to be there. Talk about your mission, why you exist, a founder’s story, or highlight a key employee. This makes your potential customer relate and want to get to know you more. Here’s an example.

Product / Service Demo Video

An informational video about your product or service can be extremely helpful. Is your service a little complicated? Does your product need some explaining? These are questions you can answer very quickly with a Product or Service Demo Video. Support that logic with a full 95% of those making purchases feel that a video is helpful while researching what they should buy.

Customer Testimonial Video

Prospective buyers don’t want to feel alone. In fact, they want to see and hear from those who have already purchased from you. Think about the last time you made a purchase on Amazon. Did you read the reviews? Most people do. In fact, most people who read the reviews also make decisions based on what they read in that section. Just remember, don’t promote…let your customer do the talking. Let your prospect connect with your current customer.

Extra Credit!

And, for extra credit, we’d recommend the video blog series. This is one you have to be ready to put some time into. There are two ways to approach it: (1) Do it yourself using your computer, audio, and desk lamp, or (2) Do it professionally, but cost effectively. We recommend that if you’re going to do this yourself, you do so in batches. If you want to create six video blogs to push out over the next several months, book a professional for a half day and shoot all six. Then, once they’re edited, you can release them like clockwork, something Google and your followers will like. Here’s an example of one of those video blogs now…

Source: Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1BAq9tX

Office Tours – Showcase Your Space!

Looking For a Video Idea?

If you work in a field where customers come to your office, you probably keep it looking pretty spiffy.  The level of comfort your clients have in your space is likely important to them, and in turn, you. Virtual Office Tours have become really popular on websites for this exact reason.  A potential client can have a look around the office before they schedule an appointment.  If you run a hotel, medical facility, or even a spa, virtual tours are a really valuable selling tool.  Today, most virtual tours are created with still photos and software that “seams” the shots together giving a 3D effect.  It’s a great tool, but we at Plum Productions think it’s a missed opportunity.

A Video Tour Can Do Everything a Virtual Tour Does – With a Much Greater Marketing Impact.

  • Firstly, they’re narrated.  The viewer can actually hear information about the space they’re seeing.
  • Second, in the narration, they can also hear about different services that are provided in the different spaces.  It’s a marketing video and video tour in one.
  • Lastly, if you feature someone prominent from the office, it also becomes a “Meet the Doctor” or “Meet the Staff” video.

Recently, we created a Video Tour for a local medical office. The video was hosted by the doctor, so patients got a look at his beautiful office, and an idea of who would be providing their treatment.  You’ve have to take a look:

Every business looks for ways to save money, and combining an Office Tour, Marketing video and Meet the Staff video is a great deal. Happy Video Marketing! Jenn

I Can Make Your Video For $5

Video for Just $5

WAAAY COOOL!! You mean I can have a 2 minute video created by you, edited and everything for only $5? Awesome! Where can I sign up? So many times it’s the hook that gets us in the door. Unfortunately, a poor experience afterward can make us bitter and unhappy. We believe everyone should have video on their website or YouTube; but, we don’t believe it should look like your brother’s 9 year-old created it with their iPhone. We don’t have a problem with someone wanting to do it themselves; after all, that’s why we created MyVideo101.com, but we also believe it should portray the level of professionalism that the business and it’s owners portray in real life.

Getting stuff for cheap is rewarding…that’s why some people are addicted to shopping;Disappointed but cheap isn’t always better. Imagine you found a deal…no a steal…for a brand new iPad while searching online. You found one for $20. Would you buy it? Some would say yes…the risk is low (after all, $20 doesn’t get you far these days). Others would say, “It’s too good to be true, it must be a scam.” While there might be circumstances that warrant the low price (estate sale, estate auction, etc.) many times the buyer gets what they pay for resulting in that bitter and unhappy feeling.

We also don’t believe in the mantra, “High price means better quality.” We think those who charge extra for a product or service just because they’re a little better isn’t right either. But it must be in reason. That’s why when someone asks us how much it costs to make a 30 second video, it’s tough to answer. Things we must consider before we can even remotely tell you what the price is:  Where is the shoot? How many people will be in the testimonial portion? Will there be paid actors/actresses? Will there be narration? …and many, many more question. Each item may add some cost, but the cost will often time result in a much higher quality product.

So, the next time you hear someone say they’re having their cousin create their website video, ask the following question:

  1. “Will the quality of the video reflect the level of professionalism your business requires?”
  2. “How long has he/she been creating videos?” Just out of college, see question 1.
  3. “How long will it take to have the completed video?”

If you or someone you know is looking for a  high quality video for a reasonable professional price, let us know! Questions? Ask us in the form below.