Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, October 20, 2006

Video Marketing Online: How To Effectively Market With Video On The Web

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Online video marketing is the key business differentiator for web companies wanting to communicate effectively their product profile and benefits within the shortest possible time. There is nothing else that comes close to the effectiveness and persuasion power of a well designed video message.

This doesn't mean that putting up a 10-min video tutorial on your site will automatically get you to double-up your conversion rate of new registrants or that you will instantly sell more of your products. There is more to effective video communication than just slamming some video content up on your web pages.

Photo source: (c)

Video is a complex, highly multidisciplinary art, and extracting the best out of it is not as simple and clear-cut as writing a news story or a blog post.

But why is video the best way to go? Because, today, the average attention span of a web user today is measured in seconds. Once delivered to you on a red carpet by a major search engine search query, or by a recommendation link on a review blog, the new web visitor applies only a very limited effort and time to see whether she can make sense of what you are communicating/selling/proposing and to decide whether your content, style, look and approach are a good fit for what she was actually looking for. If you can engage her interest right there and then, and offer a fast, highly visual way to let her discover what your "message" is, you have done bingo.

See, at any given point within those first few vital seconds on your site, the new web visitor is on the verge of clicking away and abandoning that flimsy but unique opportunity to open up a relationship, possibly a conversation with you and your products.

But be careful, you can't play many tricks to fool your reader about what you really have to offer... your reader is going to find out in a matter of seconds. In fact you shouldn't even think in terms of making it worthwhile for them to stay, since today's web users know already what they are looking for... nobody goes around "surfing" in a serendipitous style anymore ... what you instead you really need to address is the desire from the user to get at what she is looking for in the least time possible and in the most effective way (from a communication viewpoint).

In this article I am showcasing an example of a well crafted video marketing approach, while dissecting the unique characteristics and traits that make this video marketing approach so effective., and what you need to be doing to replicate it.

Case Study -'s is a new web startup with a unique product that needs to compete with a number of existing tools and established practices.

Its approach to video use is an excellent example of what can be done to convey product key traits and characteristics within a very short amount of time in a unique, memorable way.

Rule One: Get Your Video Seen

When you first land on front page, you are presented with a few simple choices. One of them is a video.

Where you place your video on your web site, will have a huge impact on whether it ever gets seen. Smartsheet get this right. The video is one of the first things you are going to see when you arrive at their site.

Photo source: (c)

The invitation to view their video is prominently displayed, and given plenty of screen real estate. It is utterly pointless to create a high impact video introduction to your company or service if you are going to tuck it away on another page, or hide it in some far flung corner of the screen.

People don't need introducing to your company when they've been touring the site - if they ever get that far. This ''too little, too late'' approach defeats the object of putting your time and effort into making an arresting presentation for your potential customer.

The video introduction is a firm handshake, a whirlwind tour of the office, a welcoming invitation to come in from out of the cold.

It is no good introducing yourself half way into the meeting, you will already have failed to win the confidence of your client. You need to convince them from the very beginning that you are a company that knows what makes it different from the rest of the pack.

Rule Two: Let Them Know It's A Video, A Short Video

The average web page is incredibly image rich. How is the casual browser, scanning the content of your site in a matter of seconds, going to know if you have a video to show them, or if its just an image?

Because you're going to tell them, and you're going to make it obvious. Don't tuck a miniscule caption under the video, or worse, use a captionless screenshot and then expect your information scanning visitor to work it out for themselves. Shout it out. ''There's a video here, come and get it!''


If you make it obvious that the user has a choice between reading through your documentation or getting a single serving of information rich, multimedia content the choice is not a difficult one.

But just as importantly - let them know it's a short video. No one wants to sit through a 30 minute presentation on the history of your company. People are paid to sit through presentations. You are not paying your site visitor.

Say in two minutes what others are taking ten to cover.

This is an introduction, a way to whet the appetite of the visitor, to inspire them to read on. If you get carried away with the features of your service, don't assume that your enthusiasm is going to be contagious. Telling your life story to some one you have just met is a sure fire way to send them running.

Rule Three: Make Your Video Zing

An effective introduction to your product or service is going to be zippy, then, and if you want it to have the desired effect, it is also going to zing. Two minutes seems like an incredibly short amount of time to deliver everything you want to say. It really isn't.

In internet video time, two minutes can seem like an eternity if the content is dull and lifeless.

In the following video clip, taken from the deft fusion of traditional advertising methods with the better aspects of Web 2.0 screencasting makes for a high impact introduction to what the company has to offer. There is plenty to be learnt from this approach.

Video Source: (c)

So, What Makes This Video Work?

Why is the Smartsheet introduction a good example of what a product demonstration or company introduction needs to do to stand out? One thing I mentioned is that it was well placed, and well timed. So what are the other components that make this video so effective?

  • A Visual Scheme - From the beginning of the video, we have a recurring colour scheme, background, motion graphic and font. These elements are threaded through the entire video, and create a sense of both continuity and corporate identity.


  • If you don't consider your visual scheme, you won't have one. Your video needs to project a consistent image of your company. If this image is not thoroughly consistent, down to the smallest details of all of your public communications, your company will appear to be amateurish, unreliable, improvised.

  • Dynamic, Fast Paced Delivery - Two minutes could be a very long time if you are staring at a boring, static shot of a hard-to-see new software gizmo for the entire length of the video.

    Full-length screencasts might be good if you want to showcase the intricate details of how to use a piece of software or the specifics of how to operate it. For everyone else, watching recordings of a static screen with a cursor moving on it (screencasts) present a great demand in terms of patience and attention.


    If the goal is the one of communicating effectively in the least amount if time possible, you need to practice the same skills and tactics that make television advertising effective. Most everyone today is conditioned to the editing pace and the visual choreography of television commercials. This is why you need to pick up and refine upon those very visual languages established by television over the years, even if your medium and target audiences maybe deeply different from those normally targeted by tv ad campaigns.

    Single shot, static video is not going to arrest anyone's attention. That's why traditional screencasts don't work very well for this purpose.

    The average length of any single "shot" within the Smartsheet video is 5 seconds. This is quite enough to show a feature, make a point using dynamic text, or move from one part of your demo to another with a transition.

  • Soundtrack is everything - Video is not just a visual medium. Effective video powerfully combines sound and vision towards a perfect synergy. And yet, there are countless product demonstrations on the web that don't use sound at all. A video with no sound screams out 'amateur', and has no hope of sustaining your visitors interest.

    So what can you do to make the soundtrack dynamic?


    Perhaps most importantly choose a good voice to sustain your video ads..

    Listen to the great dynamic counterpoint created by the male and female voices in the Smartsheet video. Feel their rhythm, note how effective and engaging is their voice ping-ponging in guiding your attention, to a few, key information points. The two bounce off one another, creating an active dialogue, a sense of rhythm that invisibly adds to the overall flow of the piece.

    Music also makes a difference. If your target customers are "up-beat" and on "the edge" you probably may consider making them feel more so also via the music you select. The custom soundtrack created for this video has a good, positive, up-beat beat to it, carrying with itself the feeling of fast-paced, "smart" people, looking for greater efficiency in their work life.

    Choose the mood, select your music, and let it carry the visitor from shot to shot.

  • Slogans and Buzzwords - While you don't want to overload your viewer with jingles, there is something to be learned from traditional advertising, and that is achieved well in the SmartSheet video.


    Smartsheet play throughout the video on the binary of "smart" and "dumb". Drawing attention to ineffective practices and grouping them under the buzzword "dumb" gives them the chance to not only set up their product as a smart solution, but also to reiterate the keyword "smart" that features in their company name.

    Through the selective use of slogans and buzzwords, within context the power of traditional advertising can be tapped into to good ends and without re-iterating the negative aspects of traditional commercial video advertising.

    These recurring buzzwords, supported with text and graphics, create a sense of continuity between the segments of the video. They act both as a characterizing glue to bridge the different video sections together, as well as agents defining your company key traits and character.

  • Support your narrator with keywords and graphics - Great narration and great visuals are one thing, but being able to make one support the other in a true synergic approach, can indeed take video communication to the next level.


    As an audio-visual medium, your greatest chance of having a powerful impact is to give greater emphasis to those buzzwords and verbal messages with highly relevant text and graphics. But you shouldn't stop there.

    Make sure that even if you turn the audio off, the key message contained in the video is still carried through. Even to those watching your web site with no audio ability, make sure you deliver an engaging, visual experience and thorough message, that doesn't make them feel they were somehow left out of the party.

Could Smartsheet do even better than that?

Sure they could have!

As I am here to dissect the video communication components that make this video so effective, let me throw in a couple of small extra ideas for making such approach even more effective.

Here they are:

1) If your video needs to market something, let it fly!
What's the advantage of keeping that great video clip you have now produced glued to your web site home page. Allow me and one hundred other influencers, bloggers and technology reviewers take it up and include it in their personal posts about your brand new product. Share your marketing video! Make it easy for anyone else to become your marketing agent and take your best communication effort to as many "voluntary"stages as the web is willing to offer.

2) Play it Smart!
If your product is called Smartsheet and you don't ever play with that buzzword in your own choreographed video showcase, well.....that's dumb! Imagine if the above Smartsheet video had ended with a final stamp screaming "That's smart!". Just re-view the Smartsheet video ad and picture/hear it "smash in" at the end of the clip. Wouldn't that be the cherry on a great-tasting pie?

As the internet transforms into a video rich domain, if you are not a live channel, you are a dead channel.

Michael Pick - [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2010-06-15 15:52:44

Glenn @ L'Amandier Moroccan Villas

Couldn't agree more! Especially in real estate business, video marketing has been slowly recognized as a valuable tool in showcasing a property. Thanks for the post!

2009-11-09 22:12:54

Landon Reid

Great points.. This was done back in 2006, and you were way ahead of the game with video marketing online.

2009-05-07 06:22:46

Jack Wallington

Agree, nice advice - it mirrors some of the recent advice we recently released through the IAB UK.

2009-04-28 19:49:58


Wow, you covered great tips in this article. Online video marketing is the best way to get your story out, to simplify things for your users, and communicate an important message. I will definitely check out SmartSheet.

2009-04-23 07:04:29


What do you think about this video? Viral enough? Good targeted?

2009-02-23 01:49:25

Video marketing

Video has become one of the most effective marketing tools on the internet and your comments and observations are absolutely correct and are guidance to any one venturing into this field.

2009-01-20 07:18:03

The System

Thanks for this post. You are ahead of your time and every comment you made in 2006 is as relevant today. This post is even more valuable as video has become the most important marketing medium on the Internet in 2009. If you'd like to know more about the virility of video marketing visit us at

2008-02-29 19:07:51

Loris web marketing

Ottimo articolo condivido pienamente. Complimenti

2007-10-25 13:35:45

Mark Robertson

This is a great post. I would love to repost with credit at if you would be interested. Please let me know. Thanks.

posted by Robin Good on Friday, October 20 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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