Because video is growing in usage for the learning and development space, TechSmith Corporation wanted to better understand what makes a great video. If you can determine the attributes that make a video great, perhaps you can reverse engineer those pieces and apply them to your own videos. TechSmith's Viewer Research Study comprised 1900 participants from a variety of roles and industries including financial services, education, government, healthcare, manufacturing, software design and development, and more. The majority of participants fell within the age range of 25 to 64.
Because there are different purposes for videos, questions were asked to help determine what type of video they were thinking of during the research. The types of video were narrowed down to three: Entertainment, Informational, and Instructional. For our purpose, we focused our research on learning from those who were considering informational and instructional video.
Let the Experiments Begin
Among the key learning of the research, there are lessons that everyone who is considering creating a video should consider, which when applied will help guide us to creating better and more effective visual content. Like all research, I invite you to run your own experiments and validate the research in your environment and for your particular audience.
With the rise of YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing sites, the amount of video being consumed on the web is increasing. According to a report from Cisco, online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016. While a lot of video viewership will be focused on entertainment and its increasing ubiquity, not all of it will be. Some portion will be focused on information delivery and instruction. As video viewing increases, there are points you should understand about how to create better videos, which will allow for better engagement and enable you to achieve your end goals.
Some of the results of the study give insight into viewer habits, which may help you make sure you shape the learner experience. For instance, instructional and information videos are watched most in the morning and the evening. This could indicate that viewers are watching when they feel they have time. This leads to asking, what does the information delivery need that will allow the viewer to get the most from the information?
Importance of video length
For a number of years, I have taught people that videos need to be short, concise, and probably no more than three minutes in length. I have found that while this is still the case, it didn't take into consideration what viewers wanted.
The data from the research indicates that for instructional and informational videos a higher percentage of viewers actually prefer longer videos (with the range varying between four to fifteen minutes in length). When looking at those that were flagged as good or great videos, the length of instructional and informational videos can sometimes be up to 10 minutes in length.
The length of the video may seem surprising; but with more context, it is understandable why a viewer would prefer a longer video. Think about the information you might want to deliver or something you would want to teach; it can be often difficult to condense that information down to a one to three minute video. In addition, other data points indicate that viewers want the right information that will guide and direct them. If the video has too little or too much, they aren't going to want to view it. While it's a difficult balance to achieve, you can solve the problem by asking appropriate questions. You need to understand the problem, and what information or instruction will help to provide the solution.
A number of survey participants indicated that they stopped watching a video because it was not the expected information, the wrong topic, boring, or uninteresting content.
As you start creating videos, remember you have flexibility in the length; but if you provide too much information that is not directly helpful or relevant, the video will be less effective.
Next week: Keeping viewers interested, and the best information to present.
If you'd like to learn more about eLearning, check out IconLogic's eLearning basics mini course. And if you'd like to learn TechSmith Camtasia Studio, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, or Articulate Storyline, we've got a great collection of live, online classes for you.
See also: What Makes Videos Effective, Part 2