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Should Video Play a Role in Your 2006 Plans?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video clip worth?
This past weekend I purchased my third Webcam – a gift for a friend – and it really got me thinking about the power of video on the Internet, both as a communication and a marketing tool.
Regardless of whether or not the video is live or pre-recorded, downloaded, streamed, or podcast, it’s impossible to deny the power and impact of full-motion moving images served up online.
There’s an inherent immediacy to video that static images and words usually can’t capture, and I’m of the belief that video can, and usually does, engage people on a more emotional (even primal) level.

Now I’m not saying this because I used to work in film and television and want to return to that world, nor am I proposing that you run out and start adding video clips to your Website just because you can.
I do recommend, however, that for 2006 you seriously evaluate what it is you are trying to communicate and ask yourself if, perhaps, video can and should be used to convey, or at least support, your message. Don’t do this to be ‘cool’ (whatever that means these days) or because the competition is doing it, but do ask yourself if your customers would be better served by a 30-second video clip versus a 30-paragraph Web page. (This is a good question to ask, anyway, because the answer might be neither!)
Keep in mind, too, that with the high rate of broadband penetration in Canada, any video elements that you incorporate into your Internet marketing plans will be accessible to the majority of surfers.
Finally, if you are going to produce video for professional use, please have it created by people who know what they are doing. One of the downsides of the invention of the camcorder is that anyone who can find the “record” button thinks they know how to produce high quality video. Now that I *am* saying because I used to work in film and television!

One Comment

  1. Allen Ford
    Allen Ford January 18, 2006

    Bill, I think the question is indeed relevant and one people should ask. But as a designer who often rolls his eyes when the Lords of Usability decree that splash pages and the use of Flash be banished, I can’t help but wonder if in two or three years time online video segments will be judged as a gratuitous indulgence that is not ‘user friendly.’
    Don’t get me wrong, I am all over how motion can engage people on an emotional level. But when I look at how the virus of the three-column blog web page is growing and growing, I am unsure if in the future whether anything that does not conform to the ‘standards’ can become prevalent.
    Cynically yours,

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