Marketing Future: Videos Online? Please No!

If you’re looking at developing video products for marketing purposes, here are two articles you may want to check out:

Ken McCarthy – Internet Version 4.0

What is Internet Version 4.0?

It’s a lot of things, but a big piece of the puzzle is video.

I hope not. I really really hope Ken is wrong. When I’m on the net and on my computer, I like to move at my own pace, do what I want to do, go where I want to go, read the section or chapter I want to read, skip to bottom of the page, go back and re-read Section IV.

A video just straps me into my chair to sit still and sit back at the pace and in the direction that the video produces.

I haven’t sat and watched many videos on my computer from start to finish.

  • 9/10 times they’re *too slow*. The pace of video tutorials especially are excruciating for me to sit through.
  • I have to sit. Passively. And watch – not *do*. That doesn’t appeal to me. I get restless.

Here’s Jakob Nielsen’s take on videos online:

Talking-Head Video Is Boring Online

broadcast TV is a medium for relaxation, where the “user” sits back and becomes immersed in whatever the program directors decided to air. In fact, TV users are usually called “viewers,” emphasizing their passive mode of engagement. In contrast, computer users sit forward and drive their own experience through a continuous set of choices and clicks.

Because of this fundamental difference in user experience, broadcast video feels boring on the Web. There’s nothing to do, no choices, no user control.

(bolding mine)

Jakob nails it exactly IMO.

I think we’re going to see a lot more online video activity in 2006. It doesn’t appeal to me at all, but it will be interesting to see what happens and if videos can be a super tool for online marketing.

I don’t think it will work too well on people like me though ;).


I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

4 thoughts to “Marketing Future: Videos Online? Please No!”

  1. I totally agree. In fact there is a wordpress tutorial video I’ve been meaning to view for months now. I can’t seem to get myself to do it, even though I NEED to figure out how to change my template in WP. This is the reason why! Plus I have 4 kids around and finding the time….we don’t even watch TV! If she had provided a print out tutorial, I woulda had that sucker up and running ages ago.
    Great point.

  2. It generally not a good thing when video is used to REPLACE text. However, video can tell stories that text simply cannot. For example, video tours of homes on a real estate site can give a perspective that text can’t.

  3. Good point Ed about not replacing text. There’s been a lot of that this past year – tutorials especially. And like Carrie mentioned above, it’s a real struggle to crank that beast up and work through it – or I should say sit through it.

    Video tours on real estate – I’d rather use live web cams so that I could check the house out at my own pace and put more focus on the features and rooms that I have a particular interest in. Goes back to the ‘user driven’ experience.

    I hear what you’re saying though. Text can’t give the user a real visual experience. A full gallery of good quality pictures can (that I can pick and zoom at will). Web cams can do really well (if the quality is good) because the viewer has full control over the experience. I’d sit and play with a web cam online when viewing real estate any day, any time, over a video.

    Videos just bring me to ‘infomercial’ territory and I know some people will sit and watch those. I think the marketer will *love* video marketing as it controls the viewers attention on the direction the marketer wants. When I have my customer/shopper/user hat on – videos are just not for me ;).

  4. I agree that LONG videos can test the viewer’s patience.

    The keys to effective videos are:
    (1) Good Presentation
    (2) Relevance of the material to the topic
    (3) BREVITY.
    (4) Finally, the video must add some VALUE to the presentation.

    Issues regarding being forced to sit powerlessly through a long presentation can be addressed by breaking it into short chapters. If each chapter is five minutes or less, focussed on a topic, presented well, and hyperlinked to from a “table of contents”, the viewer is empowered and less likely to become bored. Moreover, the viewer can return to the presentation and pick up where they left off, without being forced to sit through a repeat of what they already saw.

    Compare watching a videocassette with a DVD – finding a spot on a videocassette is time consuming, but on a DVD, you can jump to the chapter you want from a menu.

    Some material works well with video, some works better with text. The media that works well with one person will fail with another who has a different disposition. The key is matching the media to the message and the market.

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