I noticed a provocative blog headline on social media the other day and, since I was interested in the subject, I clicked on it. But when I saw that it was a video–an excerpt from a speech in this case–I made a split-second decision to immediately click off.
✔ The speaker was a woman I’d seen talk before and I wasn’t particularly interested in her or her speaking style
✔ The video stood alone without context. Not even an introductory sentence. I had no clear idea what it was about.
✔ It was five minutes long.
It took me two seconds–maybe one–to leave that website.
I read numerous blogs. I don’t click on most vlogs or blogger talk-videos especially if they have no corresponding copy for context. Here’s why:
1. A video takes longer to watch. A video longer than a minute or two is too long, if the viewer doesn’t have a compelling reason to watch.
Viewers must sit and listen at the speaker’s rate of speech. Not every word is a pearl of wisdom and in fact, many video bloggers take forever to get to the point. Since there’s no way viewers can scan ahead to find the content they actually want, it’s inefficient. I’m an inveterate speed-reader and video content longer than a minute or so seems too great a commitment of time and energy. It’s just too slow.
2. Videos require viewers to be sure volume is up. It isn’t always, and if not, the viewer’s got to start all over again. Aggravating.
3. Viewers need to be somewhere that video won’t disturb others. Reading is a silent activity that can be done anywhere–a plane, public transportation, a waiting room. But a video is intrusive. Not only that, but if a viewer is at work, they might not want audio announcing that they aren’t doing their annual budget their boss assigned but watching a vlog.
That’s not to say all videos are bad. Here’s when I’ll watch a video:
If I know the vlogger is funny, silly or provocative. There’s exactly ONE blogger whose vlogs I’ll tune into. Always.
I’ll also be more apt to watch if there is corresponding written content–that is, if the video doesn’t carry the whole message. If it’s additive and not a replacement for information. Although I’d rather read the info.
If it’s inspirational on a provocative topic or one I’m interested in, I’ll watch. I saw a TED talk the other day by a woman who’s schizophrenic. Now THAT was different.
I’ll watch if it’s a cosmetics tutorial, but not if it’s a tech tutorial. For tech support, I want something written out that I can consult as I go.
Do readers click on blog videos? I read something the other day that noted that they don’t, at least not as often as they’re said to. And I believe it. The many demands on our time require us to be efficient–why waste five minutes when I can scan the same amount of written content in 10 seconds?
So let’s do a little survey. Under what circumstances do you watch video on blogs and websites?
I agree. For me a video that’s supposed to be entertaining can’t be more than 2 minutes, max. And I also agree about the tech tutorials – I’m much better with written content!
I like to “refer” to material, too hard on vid.
I love watching vlogs and videos. I must be a visual learner. So appreciative that there are so many ways for people with varying learning styles to access material. I think we all benefit!
The production company that did my book trailer told me no one would watch it if it was more than a minute long. I am so glad I listened to them. When I include it in blog posts people dont watch it. When I post it on facebook they do??
I will listen to music videos comediens and some Ted talks types but I agree some are just too long and take forever to get to the point.
Don’t you love those audio promos that go on and on for 10 minutes and then try to sell you the book?
I think we all hate those infomercial type videos!
I’ll watch short videos- i.e 1-2 minutes long. Any longer than that, I think I might avoid them!
Yep, me, too!
Great discussion topic…thanks for bringing it up and I think you made good points!
Thanks, Your Stylishness!
I actually watch the tech tutorials…I’m a show me kinda person. But agree on the length. I also do some video work for our marketing clients, and we always try to keep it to a minute…and always under two.
That’s a good policy in my book!
I agree with you Carol. I’ll watch if I know the person or if I interested in a tutorial. But only if it’s very short!
I wonder if it’s our age.
I think there is a time and place for everything – and I see media evolving where everything will be interactive and intuitive, probably revolving around some device that hasn’t even been invented yet! IMHO. From UBC Challenge.
Hi Jina and thanks for stopping in!
Absolutely Carol. For me, I need to sure that watching a video doesn’t waste my time and that it doesn’t impact my productivity. Nice post.
I do not watch vlogs. I work in an open office and don’t like wearing headphones. I often read a few blogs during the day between projects, but have no interest in watching/listening one. Work related videos and TED talk are in another category that I do watch.
I sure hear you on that.
I completely agree. Because I blog a lot about retro pop culture, I do include short retro music videos regularly at my blog …and I will watch a music or dance video at a blog (if it is short). I always skip video presentations, though. I would much rather read a blog than see a long presentation.
Nothing worse than talking heads….unless it’s interminably long talking heads….
You’re absolutely right Carol. When I started doing song parody videos for Funny Not Slutty, that was the first thing the editor told me; keep the videos to one minute. Here I was doing three minute videos and wondering why nobody was watching. But as soon as I kept it to one verse and one chorus, people watched, and it makes total sense. I don’t have time to sit through three plus minutes either. And when people vlog they need to keep it interesting. So many times I’ve watched videos (or 30 secs of them) where people are just blathering on about nothing, not getting to the point.
You got some darn good advice!
The video has to be entertaining and educational!
Some great points here!
I never watch vlogs unless I am alone – and only if I have some extra time. I have included some video in a few of my posts – I wonder if my discussion of them has encouraged many people to actually view them. I’m going to keep this in mind from now on. Great post!
I didn’t realize, until I read your post, that those are all the reasons why I don’t click on videos. You hit the nail on the head. That being said, I think videos are necessary for some bloggers/speakers, so this would be a great post to help them improve the experience.
Short is best. Short short.
As Meg Root said, I didn’t realize why I didn’t watch videos until you pointed out the reasons. When it comes to tech videos, I like both as I am a visual person but I also want to do the steps one by one using the written word to guide me.
How do you feel this applies to HOA? I find most of them very irritating because they waste so much time. Most of them are an hour long that could be reduced to a few minutes. I am looking for the “meat” and it takes forever to get past the introductions and chit-chat to get there. There is one guy who regularly puts on HOA on social media subjects that really interest me but when he talks he has a log drawn-out AHHHHHHHHHH after each sentence that I just can’t watch him anymore.
What’s HOA? I keep thinking Homeowners Association LOL. I think some vloggers believe they are more interesting than they actually are.
Totally agree with that!
Wonder why this popped up today as it is almost a year old??? I saw that I never answered your question — what is HOA? Hangouts on Air. They are almost always tutorials with two or more’experts’ but the chit chat goes on forever and rarely do they get to the meat until half-way through.
I wrote an update and link to the older blog–the link is to today’s content which refers to the older link. I think it’s getting more relevant and I wanted to repost it.
Agree–I do watch a couple of vlogs regularly, but that’s because I know they usually come up with good material, and they deliver it well. I’ll also watch music videos if I like the performer(s). On our blog we offer a trio of videos each Sunday, but we try to ensure they’re short, interesting, and to the point. In other words, we curate them and don’t include anything we wouldn’t watch ourselves.
I think it’s difficult to hold attention on a video. Just one of those things.
I will very rarely click on a video, for all the same reasons you mentioned. You’ll probably never see one on my blog because I have no idea how to do it anyway!
I wonder if it is a generational thing too. If I do watch, I don’t watch more than 1 minute. If there is no intro text I don’t watch. We were strongly encouraged to add a video to our company’s website. We made it 59 seconds and funny because that’s the way we roll!
short and funny is the ONLY way to roll!
I agree. I will watch short inspirational or funny videos….but I want to feel like it’s worth my time. I do enjoy lots of TED talks though…but I have to set aside time to watch them since they tend to be long.
This reminds me of something called “Short Attention Span Theater.” Anyway, aside from a couple of entertaining ones I’ve run across, I’m mostly turned off by these. Unprepared, unprofessional=waste of time. Have you ever run across an old, old TV commercial, back when they used to last a whole MINUTE? Seems interminable. We’re used to quick hits now. Good points in this post!
LOL…I hear you on that!
First thing I do is look at the “time”. If it is not something I am dying to see and it is more than 1:30, I am on to the next. If it passes those 2 things and it does not grab me in 10 seconds or less, I am on to the next. I know that is crazy but it is true. We are all so busy and video players are so inconsistent that I really avoid vlogs, period…. Great insights Carol.
Very insightful post. I have to agree. Love the list as well. I’ve heard many people talking about “everyone” watches video blogs and do it to increase “personal” touches and whatnot, but I don’t know. I understand the part about it providing a personal touch, and for those who I specifically subscribe to FOR the video blogs (like Marie Forleo and hers are normally only 5 minutes or less, but I rarely watch the longer ones), I do like to watch. But in general, they will get put off, or if that is all they do, and they don’t provide the best and most entertaining vlogs, I am with you. I stop watching, don’t watch to begin with, or unsubscribe. And for all the reasons you list.
I think the idea of needing to provide a personal touch through video is… misguided. I do watch a beauty tutorial vlog but i end up fast fwding through the first 3 minutes of her being cute just to get to the meat of it.
I hardly ever click on videos — mostly that’s because the main computer is in the living room where there is little to no privacy — it’s like Grand Central Station in here; when I’m in bed on my iPad, my husband is usually aside of me and in order for me not to disturb him I have to fish around for the headphones, which I can almost NEVER find when I need them. So, yeah, I prefer the written word, as well. 🙂
I’m not sure most people think this through….
Am I in the minority here, or do I just misunderstand the term vlog. I watch youtube quite often. Granted the video needs to be visually stimulating and the “host” needs to be entertaining, but I love the format. I admit, I usually watch them at night when I am relaxing in bed and not in the mood for a book. But nine year old daughter, on the other hand, subscribes to her favorite youtube channels and watches new episodes regularly, even repeatedly. There are even youtube stars making a living from their channels with thousands of subscribers. Are we experiencing a generation gap?
Yes, there’s a difference between watching entertainment on Youtube and a video blog or vlog. Or even much of video posted that’s not entertainment.
I agree. Time is in short supply as it is why waste 5 min when you could have gotten 2 or 3 things finished in that amount of time. I need to know if it’s worth it.
Unless the message really requires voice, there is really no need to impart info that way.
Too many things to watch/read/see…but not enough time in the day!
Ain’t it the truth!
Where you reading my mind Carol? I am too impatient to seat through anyone rambling along on a video. With text I can scan through the article. With audio I can multitask and even 2x the speed so I find video painful to go through plus it eats up my data.
You and I are on the same page, Bola!
You said it right 😉
I don’t enjoy watching video blogs myself 😀
Thanks, Anmol. We have that in common.
Confession: I hate vlogs. Unless they are how-tos, I think they are dumb, time-consuming, and rather narcissistic. Unless you are really funny AND take the the time to carefully script your presentation, please don’t waste my time and yours. Write a blog, and end it there. very few of us are actually good enough on camera to make it worth the time an effort.
Good observations about vlogs. Yes, my teen watches cosmetic tutorials. I prefer short videos that get to the point quickly. If I am 20 seconds in and there is a huge wind up still ongoing, I’m usually gone.
Let’s put it this way: Blogs, 100% Vlogs 0%.
Unless it’s puppies, kittens or cute kids.
P.S. I find Simon’s Cat hilarious . . .
Video content is widely popular. As a matter of fact, if you are a blogger and create them, you views can and will double or triple. I agree videos with no point or purpose, like vlogs, can be completely boring uninformative. I’ve got a limited bandwidth – pun intended for those type. I love learning from videos and watch them daily. I guess it all comes down to personal preference, learning style, and interest. Great question indeed and you raised some excellent points!