Videos are more engaging than most other forms of content – but that doesn’t mean that you can just rely on their natural engagement to rack up views and shares. Ideally, you should be doing everything that you can to ensure your videos are as engaging as possible, and that begins with understanding what engagement is all about.
Engagement is a tricky metric, mostly because it is often defined in different ways. At a basic level it is a way to measure how impactful a video is on viewers, but unfortunately ‘impact’ isn’t a metric that can be measured in itself.
As such engagement is measured through a variety of other metrics such as viewer retention, likes, comments, shares, ratings, and so on. All of these metrics are relevant to engagement, as they show that viewers found the video impactful enough to watch it and possibly perform other actions related to it.
The key takeaway, however, is this: In order for your videos to be engaging they should be focused on retaining the audience and provoking action.
Creating Videos that Retain Viewers
As you can probably imagine there are a lot of different factors that have a part to play in retaining viewers. In effect, anything that can grab the attention of viewers and keep them interested is worth pursuing.
To be more specific, however, there are a few ways that you can create videos that are more likely to retain viewers:
Choose a good topic
The topic you choose is of the utmost importance to both attract as well as retain viewers. It should be something that is of interest to viewers and will help or benefit them in some way. Researching your target market can be particularly useful, as it will help you to choose good topics.
Watch the duration
As a rule the longer a video’s duration, the less likely it is to retain viewers – which is why videos that want to have high engagement levels should be kept short. While the optimum length varies depending on platform and audience, keeping videos at about a minute in duration tends to be best.
Make the first 8 seconds count
A large portion of viewers will decide whether to keep watching within the first 8 seconds of your video – so you need to make them count. In other words, you should get straight to the point and let viewers know what the video is about and how it will benefit them to watch it.
Frame the video for mobile
More and more viewers nowadays watch videos on mobile devices, so you should frame your video with that in mind. Avoid wide-angle shots or small details that may be difficult to make out on smaller screen sizes.
Convey the message via subtitles or other visual elements
Another trend to keep in mind is that a large number of viewers will be watching your video while it is muted. To retain and engage them, you should try to ensure the message is conveyed visually – via subtitles or other elements.
If you take these steps, you should end up with a video that is more able to retain viewers and should also get more views in the process. However, as you know – that is just part of what engagement entails.
Provoking Action Using Videos
As you can imagine only a small percentage of viewers actually end up liking, commenting, sharing, or rating the videos that they watch. However there are some exceptions to that, and certain videos somehow seem to rack up tons of shares, likes, comments, and other reactions.
Generally, these videos are able to do that because they take steps to provoke those actions, and there are a few ways that can be done:
Trigger an emotional response
If your video is able to trigger an emotional response, it is likely to provoke action. The nature of the emotion itself doesn’t matter as much as its intensity, which is why you could opt to trigger joy, amusement, surprise, inspiration, pride, or any other emotion.
Ask questions and interact
Actually asking questions or interacting with viewers as part of your video can provoke actions – normally in the form of responses via comments or other means. It is a way to make viewers feel more involved, and use your video as a basis for further interaction. Keep in mind that it helps to reply to viewers as well, as that will encourage further responses.
Use a powerful call to action
Most videos (especially marketing videos) tend to close with a call to action. Although in some ways it is the culmination of engagement, it can also be used to further it – by encouraging viewers to share, like or rate the video. The call to action can also be used to ask for feedback or solicit opinions via polls.
Make no mistake, provoking action can be tricky – but the measures listed above should all help. Effectively you now should be able to create videos that have the potential to acquire more viewers, retain them, and provoke actions – all of which will help with their engagement.
It is worth noting that while other factors such as quality have a part to play, you don’t need to try to create overblown and expensive productions to engage viewers. In fact, in many cases, less is more and simple but authentic and genuine-looking videos can perform just as well. Frankly, if you learn how to make a slideshow on Mac or PC you could come up with a fairly engaging video as well.
In terms of quality, you should try to just aim for your video to be able to deliver its message in a crisp and clear fashion. If you want you could try to make it look a bit polished and professional, but you certainly don’t need to load it with special effects or anything like that. Overall the content of the video matters far more to engagement levels, and that is where your focus should be.
Edward Parker enjoys creating videos for his website and social media. He is particularly focused on finding ways to improve engagement levels and encourage more interaction with viewers
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