You’re unlikely to have missed the increasing prevalence of video in use online. It’s been the exception for the last couple of years when video, even on a small scale, hasn’t been part of a client’s content strategy for their website.
Where video is being used as an additional information point on websites, I don’t think there’s much to say against it. Not everyone will want to watch your video, but (assuming other users do find it valuable) if it supplements other information, this isn’t really a concern.
Something I’ve noticed more and more though – in particular on news sites – is content being published solely in video format. Now, I don’t have any stats to back this up – and the increasing occurrences of this would kind of suggest it’s being received favourably by viewers/readers – but my personal preference is for written content online.
It’s well known that we don’t read in quite the same way online and skim read articles a lot more. I skim read a lot online, which I can’t do with video – so it’s actually rare that I press play on a video entry. What’s less rare is my being disappointed when I click through from a preview link to an article, only to find the content is only available as a video.
I actually watch a lot of video online – but mostly via iPlayer, Netflix, Eurosport etc – sites where I have gone specifically to watch video. If I’m looking to read a few news articles at breakfast or lunch – then my preference is for reading, specifically because I can skim read several articles very quickly.
I might be in the minority here. And if I am, I wonder what it is that will entice someone to watch a full 5 minute news clip, when they’d only spend, perhaps, 1 minute speed reading an equivalent written article? I’m also very interested to know more about the content strategy of sites who are using a larger amount of video content. How are they evaluating which content type is most popular with visitors? And is video being used to replace written content or supplement it?
If it is replacing what would have been written content – I would question this as a content strategy to follow for other businesses without considerable research. I can see the immediate appeal for a website in posting video. It’s probably possible to get good enough recording quality straight from a journalist’s phone, upload that straight to YouTube and embed the video into the published page. The time and cost is probably significantly less than having to type up a written version of the same thing.
The downsides I see are:
- People like me who want to be able to quickly read content rather than slowing down my content intake to watch a video
- Potential SEO implications of missing searchable content
- How this is received by mobile users – even if they’re theoretically happy watch video rather than reading, the bandwidth usage might deter them from regularly streaming video content to their mobile
All this said – in all honesty I can only see even greater use of video online in the future. I’m sure the bandwidth issues won’t always be a concern and perhaps the great brains at Google will devise ways of extracting context and content from video for the purposes of search. But the viewing time will always remain. It’s probably an opportunity for some new technology to find a way of allowing users to process video content with the same speed we can now process written content. It will be interesting to see how content formats and intake adapts over the coming years.
Hopefully this all serves to highlight the importance of having a well considered content strategy in place for your website. Not just following what has been successful in the past, but looking to take advantage of new media in a way that is valuable for your audience and business goals.
Originally by John Cowen for mekonta.co.uk