Leila Yang, SEO Manager, Reprise US


With a growing passion for the digital video space, I was excited to have had the chance to attend the 2019 Brightcove PLAY conference in Boston in May. Hosted by Brightcove, PLAY gathers industry leaders from video marketing, media, OTT, publishers, and more for strategy workshops, inspiring keynotes, an all-day tech-a-thon, and networking opportunities.

Brightcove PLAY was different to other video conferences in that it looked at videos beyond ads. Without the lens of paid ads, the key theme revolved around how brands can create high quality videos that would engage audiences regardless of paid media support.

After a day of listening to brands and speakers tell their stories, I walked away with three key insights that would greatly impact how we should be looking at video creation.

Videos Don’t Need to Be Short! Quit Blaming the Goldfish

“We cannot buy attention, attention is earned over time.” – Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping

The summit opened with award-winning speaker and author, Andrew Davis. He presented on a topic I seldom hear discussed anywhere — “videos don’t need to be short”.

Andrew started out by de-bunking a myth that we all know too well, that humans have attention spans shorter than that of goldfish. He then went on to explain why we need to quit blaming the goldfish.

Audiences can in fact pay attention if we grab and hold their attention. Brands are often able to grab attention, but fail to keep it. Thus, we believe that viewers simply cannot watch a three-minute video, and so “bite-size” content has become the solution.

As we have shifted our focus to producing shorter videos in hopes of higher viewer completion rates, we have also eliminated every element that makes those videos interesting.

We are more than capable of watching long videos (even science says that viewers will make time to consume videos that maintain their interest). Heck, we live in an era where we spend an entire weekend binge watching our favorite shows! So why is it that brands are still focused on creating shorter content? Video creators need to stop blaming the viewers and focus on creating videos that can grab AND hold attention.

Storytelling is Key to Tapping into Human Emotions

Throughout the day, attendees reflected on Andrew’s opening remark: we cannot buy attention, attention is earned over time. This was a recurring theme throughout the various breakout sessions with lots of discussion around questions including: How do we watch videos? What engages us? What keeps us hungry for more content? The answer boiled down to one word — stories.

Marcus Sheridan, author of the book “They Ask, You Answer,” stressed the importance of storytelling through video content and how that eventually leads to stronger engagement and trust with customers. He stated, “It’s one thing to do video. It’s another thing to tell and show a story well.” Stories evoke emotions and emotions drive human actions.

And for those Game of Thrones fans out there, as Tyrion Lannister once said: “There’s nothing more powerful in the world than a good story.”

Create Content Based on Search Demand

As an SEO professional, it was extremely comforting to hear success stories from brands that have created videos based on search demand. One brand manager stated, “The key to successful videos starts with understanding what your audience actually wants to see.”

Through a combination of manual research and SEO tools, brands can identify questions that consumers want answers to and, therefore, understand what their viewers want to see. Whether it be set-up instructions for a certain product, or how to use specific spices in a recipe, understanding what motivates viewers and then targeting that motivation often leads to highly successful video content.

As the digital video space continues to evolve with the introduction of new video platforms and devices along with ever-changing human behaviors, learning how to create content that tells a great story, targets audience motivation, and connects with viewers on an emotional level will be the key to success.

With that said, just remember, “Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davis

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