I noticed a provocative blog headline on social media the other day and, since I was interested in the subject, I clicked on it. But when I saw that it was a video–an excerpt from a speech in this case–I made a split-second decision to immediately click off.
✔ The speaker was a woman I’d seen talk before and I wasn’t particularly interested in her or her speaking style
✔ The video stood alone without context. Not even an introductory sentence. I had no clear idea what it was about.
✔ It was five minutes long.
It took me two seconds–maybe one–to leave that website.
1. A video takes longer to watch. A video longer than a minute or two is too long, if the viewer doesn’t have a compelling reason to watch.
Viewers must sit and listen at the speaker’s rate of speech. Not every word is a pearl of wisdom and in fact, many video bloggers take forever to get to the point. Since there’s no way viewers can scan ahead to find the content they actually want, it’s inefficient. I’m an inveterate speed-reader and video content longer than a minute or so seems too great a commitment of time and energy. It’s just too slow.
2. Videos require viewers to be sure volume is up. It isn’t always, and if not, the viewer’s got to start all over again. Aggravating.
3. Viewers need to be somewhere that video won’t disturb others. Reading is a silent activity that can be done anywhere–a plane, public transportation, a waiting room. But a video is intrusive. Not only that, but if a viewer is at work, they might not want audio announcing that they aren’t doing their annual budget their boss assigned but watching a vlog.
That’s not to say all videos are bad. Here’s when I’ll watch a video:
If I know the vlogger is funny, silly or provocative. There’s exactly ONE blogger whose vlogs I’ll tune into. Always.
I’ll also be more apt to watch if there is corresponding written content–that is, if the video doesn’t carry the whole message. If it’s additive and not a replacement for information. Although I’d rather read the info.
If it’s inspirational on a provocative topic or one I’m interested in, I’ll watch. I saw a TED talk the other day by a woman who’s schizophrenic. Now THAT was different.
I’ll watch if it’s a cosmetics tutorial, but not if it’s a tech tutorial. For tech support, I want something written out that I can consult as I go.
Do readers click on blog videos? I read something the other day that noted that they don’t, at least not as often as they’re said to. And I believe it. The many demands on our time require us to be efficient–why waste five minutes when I can scan the same amount of written content in 10 seconds?
So let’s do a little survey. Under what circumstances do you watch video on blogs and websites?