An exploration of digital video content production and distribution

You had me at hello...

Back in 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article called ‘Content is King’.  He was right 19 years ago and he’s still right today, but if content is king, then for video especially, distribution is the kingmaker.

Over the last two years and more obviously in the last six months, video content has formed a significant part of the total content posted to social networks.   Micro videos housed on the likes of Instagram and Vine support short form videos disseminated through Facebook, which in turn compliment the narration and education based films on YouTube.

But with such a large volume of video material to choose from, how do organisations help ensure that their content stands out from the crowd?

The first and more obvious answer is to make better content.  Less, higher quality content is certainly the best approach and ideally that content should relevant and contextual to the desired audience.  Video content specifically should seek to entertain, educate or inspire as those core traits within video content are more likely to appeal to an audience and specifically are more likely to encourage a viewer to share the video with their friends and family.

The second and often overlooked question to consider is distribution.  If, to paraphrase Bill Gates, video content is king then in this instance more than most, distribution is the kingmaker.  YouTube was until August of 2014 the undisputed royalty of online video.  But since that time, driven by auto-play and video advertising modules, Facebook has sought to usurp their throne.

According to the Business Insider and other sources, both Facebook and YouTube are claiming 4 billion video views per day on their platforms across all devices, but the relative views per video and the time with brand vary significantly by platform.  Recent work by Tubular Labs has identified that whilst the number of views per video and the engagement rate is higher on Facebook, the average length of video viewed is much longer on YouTube, which would indicate that the former is better for interruption marketing, with the latter better for participation based communications.

On an intrinsic level, Facebook and similarly Instagram and Twitter, create a large increase in views and engagement for a film over a short period of time, but as platforms, don’t lend themselves to narration.  Equally, searching for older content on these ‘interruption’ channels is difficult to do.  By contrast, YouTube creates a long tail which arguably can lead to more views over a period of time and as a search based medium, is a platform on which potential viewers can find your content over a protracted period.

For more hints and tips on creating better quality video content or designing a more effective distribution strategy, download our paper ‘You had me at hello…’.

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