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December 18, 2018

Webinar Replays Killed the Video Star

Years ago, a research analyst determined that when it comes to retention, one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.  Since then, everyone has jumped on-board the video train, and now you know whom to blame the next time you suffer through an hour-long sales webinar replay or half-hour video missive on filing expenses.  

When video content creation became economically viable for virtually anyone, many people assumed it would magically increase interest and retention in whatever subject was being presented.  Video can be transformative when used correctly, but improper video use is starting to give it a bad rap. In fact, new research shows that video content in general is not living up to its potential, despite the fact that people still feel like engaging video is really helpful.

How do you ensure that your videos hit the mark?

Keep it short

First,  keep your videos short and concise.  The most common problem with video engagement is that video durations are too long to maintain audience interest.  Remember that they can (and will) multitask on their computers and mobile devices as soon as they get bored. If you have a lot of content to cover, break it up into separate videos, concentrating on one concept at a time.  Doing it this way serves several purposes:

  • Your audience is much more likely to remain engaged
  • They can refer back to the content they need much more easily
  • Overall retention will increase

What does short look like?  Keep in mind that one’s attention span is inversely related to his or her initial interest in the subject matter, so if they don’t already have a stake in the topic, there is no such thing as too short.  Even for engaged viewers, five minutes can be a lot of time. Obviously, there will be outliers where more time is required, but make sure that’s what they are: outliers.

Don’t worry about beauty

Most of the time, you don’t need to worry about production quality.  In many (maybe most) instances, a short video using a smartphone or webcam will accomplish the same goal as a highly produced commercial.  If your subject-matter expert (SME) has important information to relay to the field, his or her cachet should be enough to support engagement, not whether or not there’s soaring background music or CGI graphics.

In fact, a key value of video done well is the ability to record and share great ideas in a quick and engaging way.  What’s more powerful than your top rep letting everyone know about a new sales technique that helped her close a big deal?  Or your SME informing the team right away about a regulatory change that will affect how to sell one of their products?

Make it accessible

If a tree falls in the forest and someone takes an amazing 4K video of it, does anyone have enough bandwidth on their phones to watch?

This is another pitfall for some video–especially highly produced content: it doesn’t play well on mobile because it’s a bandwidth hog.  However you choose to distribute your video content, make sure that it can play on virtually any device for which it’s intended. Even better, try to put it on a platform like Allego, where content can be viewed even when there is no internet connection.

Video might have earned a bad rap, but you can easily turn that around by enabling SMEs, reps, and others to produce more bite-sized content that’s on-point and easily accessible.  Once you do that, you–and video–will be rock stars!

For more on how to use video more strategically to drive better sales performance through learning, click here.


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