Many businesses are now integrating video on their websites. Unfortunately, the integration can be sloppy. Why spend the time, resources and energy making a great video just to fall short on the final delivery? Here are 10 common mistakes businesses make when integrating video on their websites.
1. Self-hosted video (on a slow server)
Your web server probably isn’t optimized for video. This is why self-hosted videos move like molasses compared to video-centric sites like Youtube. If you want to make sure your video loads quickly, you are better off using a hosted service such as Vimeo Pro to serve the video. This will offer better accessibility, up-time and speed. Not to mention much easier implementation.
2. Ridiculously long loading time
Long buffer times may cause viewers to give up before your video starts playing. This is especially true in situations where viewers are only slightly curious about your video. Be sure to encode your video correctly for streaming before uploading and use a dedicated video hosting service such as Vimeo or Brightcove to make sure you have an optimized server streaming your videos. This hosting service is completely separate from your website hosting.
3. Inability to stream video on multiple devices/formats
Go with a video format that allows the video to stream, and as stated above, use a video hosting service if possible. If you are not sure of the proper encoding method, these services usually re-encode your video after uploading so they can be delivered properly. The viewer should never have to “download” your video to play it on their computer. This should go without saying. HTML 5 video allows you to embed video in your site and customize the play controls in new ways, and is compatible with more mobile browsers than flash.
4. Random or ugly video cover screen.
The “cover screen” is the static image the viewers sees before clicking play. Many video sites (such as Youtube) will pull a frame from your video to use as a preview screen before the video is played. You can customize this preview screen to draw more viewers in either by making a custom graphic/logo screen or choosing a more relevant frame pulled from your video.
5. Buried video and hidden play button
Not only will it beg to be clicked, but a prominent play button will ensure that even the most unobservant viewers will find your video on your site and watch it. Don’t bury your video on a sub-page of your website (unless it is only relevant to that page). If you have a great video, try to embed it (or create a prominent link to it) on your home page.
6. Antisocial Video
For maximum utility and reach, make sure to upload your video to sites like Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook so they can be found and shared from places other than your website. Don’t be afraid to upload the same video to multiple services for more reach and possibilities for sharing.
7. Funky embed ratios
When embedding your video, keep the height to width (16:9 for most video) ratio intact to avoid black bars on the left and right or top and bottom of your video. Youtube and Vimeo custom embed code maker will do this for you if you supply a width or height.
8. Epic lengths
You may have a lot to say, but it is a cold, hard fact that the average viewer has the attention span of a gnat. Make sure to edit your video down to its essentials to deliver the core message as quickly as possible. In most cases, 3 minutes or less is a good benchmark. If you need to, cut your video into multiple parts. Yes, we are guilty of breaking this rule.
9. No call to action or payoff
Your viewer watched your video all the way through… What do they need to do now? Make sure you include some sort of call to action at the end. This can be accomplished through text or graphics at the end of the video if a call to action doesn’t flow or seems forced.
10. Looks and sounds like a TV ad
Your website video shouldn’t mimic a television commercial. Web video viewers are a different animal than TV watchers. They are not forced to watch your video to get through the next commercial break (unless you are running pre-roll ads). If they give their time to you, make sure to use that time to educate, inspire or entertain. If you are creative enough, do all 3.
If you produce a promotional or introductory video for your website, make sure you are not making these common mistakes. If you have any suggestions for this list or are interested in getting help with video hosting or site integration, please contact me.
– Carson Coots