We hear it all the time from social media gurus to SEO magicians; using video in your marketing and social engagement efforts can provide huge results for your company. But is it really that simple? Is it really as easy as they all make it seem? Well here are Five Reasons not to make a video.
1. Someone told you having a video will improve your SEO and Google PageRank.
I’ve heard it at least 100 times. “All I have to do is put a video on YouTube, and Google will rank my website higher. Google now owns YouTube, so they want to rank pages with youtube videos higher than other websites.” Although there are definitely some SEO benefits to including video in your online marketing strategy, just having a video alone will not make any measurable difference. At least not anymore.
In 2007 Google rolled out a feature called Universal Search and Blended Results. It’s still a feature today, but things are a lot different than they were in last days of the housing bubble. Back then, Google listed top videos in their blended results along with top pages in the News, Local, Books, Images, and Shopping categories. Well, black hat SEO companies figured out pretty quickly that if you uploaded the same crappy video to YouTube 100 times and named each one a different keyword, the video would most likely show up when someone searched for a similar term.
But there was a problem; it didn’t matter what was actually in the video, only what the title of the video was. As to be expected, this creates a not-so-great experience for Google users, and in 2014, Google drastically cut the number of “video snippets” in their search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google still includes some video snippets in its SERPs, but they are mostly limited to large brands and YouTube videos that have been optimized to be searched and found on YouTube, not your web page. There are definitely still ways of leveraging video as part of your SEO strategy, but that’s a topic that could easily fill at least three more articles. In fact, there are probably over a million articles written on the subject, but here’s just one: https://wistia.com/blog/optimize-wistia-video-for-seo
2. Someone told you it’s easy.
I recently saw an article written for a very popular blog about inbound marketing called 6 Tips for Making a Business Marketing Video. Although the tips were great for the person who was looking to MAKE a video, it didn’t touch on any of the more important areas of making the video WATCHABLE. The advice included writing a script, not using the camera’s microphone, being yourself, using good lighting, framing your face well, and ending your video with a call to action.
Like I said, these are great tips, but do you really know how to write a compelling script that keeps an audience’s attention? Do you know how to use an external microphone and how to sync up the sound later? Are you the best choice to be on camera representing you company’s brand and culture? Do you know how to act on camera? Do you know how to light a scene well, let alone in a way that evokes a certain response from an audience?
And here’s the real kicker: 40% of viewers of the average online video stop watching within the first 5 seconds? And you lose even more as time rolls on. Putting a call to action at the end of the video is great, but how do you know anybody is even seeing it? Grabbing an audience’s attention quickly and being able to hold it for the extent of a video is not easy.
3. Someone told you people love watching videos.
No. People love watching GOOD videos. According to Sturgeon’s Law, 90% of everything is crud.” This definitely applies to online videos as well. And when you take into account the daunting fact that over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, you can see the enormous task of getting your video watched is not easy at all. And even if you have some magic bullet that gets your video in front of the masses, what’s to say your video isn’t doing more harm than good? A good video can help build your brand and even generate some revenue. A great video can catapult your brand into the stratosphere. But a bad video is not neutral. It can actually do severe damage to your brand.
So how do you make a “good” video? Have a good story, and know how to tell it. This doesn’t have to be YOUR story either. People love good stories, and they make time in their day for them. Ever had a co-worker come in and say “You would not believe the amazing sandwich I just ate! I was seriously smiling from ear to ear like a weirdo the whole time I was eating it. I’m pretty sure people were staring at me, but I don’t even car. That sandwich was incredible!” Usually, we lean in, open our eyes wider, get rid of distractions, and say, “Ooh. That sounds good! Where did you get it?” It’s part of our human nature. We LOVE stories. A good video is built on this premise.
However, if that same coworker came in and said, “I walked to the store and purchased a sandwich for $4.96. It had ham, cheese, pickles, lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, and was served on wheat bread. It was extremely satisfying. Then I walked back here.” You’d think that person was a loon! Who cares about your lame sandwich?!?! But far too often, business owners approach their marketing and especially video in this way. No offense, but no one wants to watch a video about the boring features on your boring product. They want to watch a good story!
4. Someone told you that YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world.
So what? Going back to point 1, unless you know exactly how to leverage that fact in your video creation, distribution, marketing, and sales funnel, it’s just a worthless fact. Are people searching for your products? If not, they won’t find you on YouTube. If they are, you’ll most likely have a lot of competition competing for those same eyeballs. This means you’ll need to out-compete your rials with a better video SEO strategy, better videos, and better engagement and conversion.
If your product or service is being searched for on YouTube, this can be a huge benefit to you, but just like I said in the last point, a bad video can be detrimental to your brand, so make sure you know what you’re doing before you just start uploading videos like crazy.
5. Someone told you they’ll do it for cheap.
If you have a qualified, skilled, and talented video professional in your back pocket who’s willing to take time out of their schedule to produce a video for you on the cheap, snag that opportunity like it’s part of a fire sale! Then make sure you’re generous with all of the revenue the video generates and buy that person a vacation!
But if you’re like the rest of us, hiring a video professional, production company, or even a full-scale digital marketing firm will be the same as any other vendor: You get what you pay for. So what should you pay for a video vendor to produce a killer video that everyone wants to watch and brings in tons of revenue? That’s another article.