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February 2011

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Why Video on your Website?


By Steve Stone

From 2009 to 2010 video was the fastest growing feature added to websites. Video is helping business to brand, market, educate, personalize, and build relationships with customers. Video gives you the ability to relay a complex message in a short amount of time. Oh, and did I mention, it helps create revenue!

Video Connects To Your Viewer
Studies show that most people will watch a video on a webpage before reading any text. We are a visual society and lazy by nature. We want to be shown and guided. If you were shopping on-line, searching for a plumber, and came across a website where, unexpectedly, Joe the plumber walks right out over the top of his front-page and simply says, “Hi I'm Joe. I'd love to have your business. I'll treat you right.”, then you are ten times more likely to pick up the phone and call him. Why? Because Joe broke the ice and you feel as if you already know him. Joe spoke directly to you. You got an impression from his direct and personal message. Joe is likeable and honest. We buy from people we like and trust. Joe might be an actor, just as in a TV commercial, but you don't know that.

Video Is A Commercial On Your Website
The front page of all websites will increasingly start to resemble TV commercials. Television advertisers have spent billions of dollars on what they know works and grabs attention. They don't do it with text. They do it with audio and video. They know they have only 3-5 seconds to grab your attention. So I pose this question, what is the difference between a TV commercial and the front page of your website? You want to grab attention and prompt someone to take time and look at your products and services, right? Well, you'd better have video in some fashion up front to do that. Video allows you to really show a product or service most effectively.

Video Ups The Brownie Points In Search Engines
Video brings with it a distinct benefit in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your site. Recently, Google, Yahoo, and other search engines decided that they would rank a website higher in their SEO algorithms for having a video embedded somewhere within the site. They even figured out ways to view the text within the videos themselves and use that in search engines.

Video Talks Well To Younger And Older Generations
The younger generation has grown up with the web and is very comfortable using it and all its tools. They don't pick up hard printed material like the over 50 generation does. The younger generation expects to see video on websites. It's becoming the norm and is often the only means to hook the interest of a faster scanning young customer. Having said that, the older generation is also now accepting web content and video more and more. Many are using the web and video to stay in contact with family members and stay current with news and events. It's easier and faster to show people (young or old) information with a video than have them read text.

Embed A Video To Keep Viewers On Your Site
The most common way to have video on your site is by using a service such as YouTube or Vimeo. But you do need to be smart about how to use these services if you go that route. Your view rating will be a lot higher if you embed the video onto your webpage rather than just putting a link to show your video on YouTube or Vimeo. Besides, why would you send someone away from your website when the goal is to keep them on your website for as long as possible?
Also keep in mind that those type of “BOX” videos take up space on your website. Space is very valuable! After someone has seen your “BOX” style video once, then every time they go back to your website, the space that the video takes up is wasted. They have already seen that video and don't need to see it again (in most cases). So that box area is wasted space that you could use to present other information if your website is set up correctly.
You could use one of the newer video solutions that call up video on demand or do a video walk-on to really capture attention. This is where someone can walk right over the top of the text that is already on the page. It has a transparent background (layered over the top of your existing webpage). Maybe a banner style video ad that comes across the screen on the upper 3rd of your site. You have many different options and styles; it is really up to your imagination and needs.

Video Runs Tailored To Your Viewer
The technology is growing and video solutions are growing with it. Did you know you can be proactive and call up video to display on any specific day, or any time of day? On Wednesdays you could display one video and on Fridays display another. You could even track the viewer and play a different video specifically for them. You could also set up your site to recognize that the viewer who just came onto your website has already seen your video. In that case, the video doesn't play again for one week, one month or whatever time period you designate. That way you don't annoy the viewer with the same video content over and over again.

Video Gathers Valuable Viewing Information
Now you can track viewing statistics and analytics for the individual video elements you choose. You have access to demographic and viewing information.
o Number of Views
o Country or location of Viewer
o How Long Viewer Watches
o Repeat Viewers
o Date and Time Viewed
o Plus much more.

Video Now A Viable Option Due To Internet Speeds
Internet speeds have increased dramatically over the last 2-4 years. Because of this, it allows video to be of better quality, appear larger on the screen, and play longer than ever before without being broken up or choppy.
Last year I helped set up a tradeshow at a DTC hotel. I asked if they had Internet connections available for the booths and was told yes. I asked if it can accommodate 20 plus users connected at the same time and was told, “No problem”. Several participants wanted to show their websites, and had video on them, so we needed a good fast connection. I discovered after we had problems, that all they had was a T-1 (that is 1.544 megabits). The hotel thought that was very fast. I informed them that the average home owner now has the option to get up to 15 megabits per second directly to their home with Comcast or Qwest if desired and that maybe they should upgrade or risk losing clients like me. I was told that their corporate office had signed a five-year contract for this service a couple years ago and that their hands were tied. As a potential client, that excuse doesn't work very well for me. I will find another location next time. I bring this up so you can beware that many hotels are lacking in providing the appropriate internet speeds for viewing video on the web. They will fix this as more people demand the faster speeds available.

Video On Mobile Devices
Recently there has been a big roar about being able to see video on a website with some of the mobile devices (iPad, iPhone, Androids, Blackberries etc). To simplify it…Apple doesn't want to play well in the sandbox with Adobe. Adobe is the creator of Flash technology. Flash is what most web video is created in. 99% of all computers have Flash on their system so viewing web video isn't a problem. Now Apple comes out with its mobile devices & doesn't install Flash or even want to. So you can't see most video already embedded into existing websites with the iPad / Apple mobile devices. This is a problem because many people have and like those mobile devices. Having said that, there is a competitor product to Flash called “HTML 5” that can create video on a website so that Apple devices, PC devices and others can all view video. The problem is that HTML 5 isn't as robust and needs a couple years of development to be able to do all that Flash can currently do. Also all existing video on the web would have to be redone in HTML 5 for those devices to view. Pardon my French but that “aint gonna happen any time soon!” My personal opinion is that Apple will give in and accept Flash down the road. Their users will demand it just like they did with the Mac product.

Shopping For Website Video
Paying someone to do a professional video shoot for your website is great but, remember, a video shoot is only 30% of the solution. Understanding how to use both video and web technology together is the other 70%. You have videographers who know how to shoot video and you have web designers who know how to make websites. Finding a company that understands both elements is a little more challenging. It can be done. You just have to be more diligent and careful to pinpoint the right expertise.

Steve Stone - Owner of Options MultimediaWe bring your website to the next level by adding State of the Art Multimedia elements. Online Video, Online Publications, Video Testimonials, 3D Animation, eLearning / Training & other multimedia. We enhance and support your business or marketing campaign. We are experts and positioned to assist. See samples at: www.OptionsM.com <http://www.OptionsM.com> (Please take some time, there are many cool things to see & worth viewing). Call Steve at 303-731-3028.



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