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Whether you're making an explainer, mini-doc, or marketing video, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure the success of your online video.
It's been said that brevity is the soul of wit, but for online video, brevity is the soul of completion. There is a tremendous body of research now about online viewing habtits, and the main takeaway is that viewers rarely watch longer than 2 minutes. In fact, the typical audience dropoff is over 90% after the 2 minute mark. But, you say, "my video is SO compelling nobody would possibly drop off before the end." To which we say, "Why risk it?" The research is in; Keep it short if you want people to get to the end.
If you're producing a short video, don't take the radio legal disclosure approach and try to cram more content into the same time. Pick a single message, make it compelling, and leave the audience wanting more. If you have more than one point to make, then produce more than one video. Create a playlist so viewers can easily continue to the next point if they want to.
The sinlge most common mistake I see from online video producers is that they try to make a one-size-fits-all message. Every video should have an audience in mind and cater directly to that audience. The music, graphics, and entire creative should be geared to engage a particular audience. If you have multiple audiences, customize the creative for each one and make multiple videos.