Video "views" are the new website "hits"

Creating video content has never been easier than it is today. Even smartphones have the ability to record HD and—in the higher end models—4K video. Drones have also become easily accessible and more affordable and can produce high quality, stunning imagery.

Where appropriate I often recommend that clients get video footage produced where it can showcase their business in a way that sometimes may be difficult in two dimensions. They can also get a message across quickly and in an easily consumed format.

So easily in fact that of late, on Facebook for example, some videos attract several thousand views within days, “going viral” and much trumpeted by video producers and marketers. Even what was traditionally going to be low interest videos which if placed on YouTube would do well to get into three digits.

Back in 2014 I wrote an article, “Lies, damned lies and statistics”, on how the statistic of the number of “hits” was being used to refer to the number of visitors coming to a website by some people in order to make the site appear to be busier than it actually is. Two years on and there’s a new statistical kid in town, “video views”.

Too Good to be True?

Having several thousand views of your video sounds great doesn’t it? However, whilst browsing Facebook myself and looking at a video I found myself looking at another video which autoplayed afterwards but within a couple of seconds I’d already made up my mind I wasn’t interested and I flicked on to the next. The same with the next video, and the next and so on.

This had me thinking, did all or any of those count as views towards the view count? A quick search on Facebook’s own site and the answer was revealed. Someone needs to watch your video for only 3 seconds on Facebook for it to count as a view and I could easily have added to the view count of several of those videos without taking much notice of their content!

Question Everything

Of course, whilst it’s highly unlikely that everyone is watching your video in its entirety this doesn’t mean that people are only viewing your video for 3 seconds either. The reality will be in your video metrics (depending on your provider e.g. Facebook, YouTube, they provide different ways of measuring performance) which is why it is important if you’re paying for a video marketing service that you have access to this information so that you can see for yourself how well it is performing.

Facebook makes money based on views as well as other factors so it is in their interest for the view count of your videos to be high, hence the use of autoplay.

I still think that video done well can be a great addition to a website and the general marketing effort of a business, just don’t get carried away by the viewing numbers. If you’re being offered video production services ask for detailed breakdowns of performance and what was the outcome of other campaigns in terms of sales, bookings or enquiries.

As I said earlier, your own phone likely has a great video camera these days and self filmed short videos can be very effective as a quick way to promote an event or offer without breaking the bank and make sure any large investments on video production can be used on your website and will have a long term positive effect on your business.

I’ve also heard it said that you should forget everything else and get videos made for your business, that nothing else works. Absolute nonsense.

These days having a successful online presence involves a multi-channel approach. Video can be a part of it, yes, but your website is still the most important aspect—which is also the only one that you are truly in full control of—but the social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc) also have a role to play and should be harnessed to drive traffic to it and ultimately to your business.

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