Improve video engagement by adding a preview.

In the internet age, when people have grown accustomed to skimming through text and looking at photos – videos still remain a great way to connect with the visitors.

I see many entrepreneurs  investing in crafting beautiful videos geared to sell their product. These awesome people come up with witty, clever words that are delivered confidently in front of the camera. Once they have edited and added background music into the video along with adjusting the timeline for 1 millionth time, it is finally ready to be uploaded onto the website.

When you have spent hours editing and perfecting video, why just throw it on a web page and hope people will click? I see videos on web pages with a Red Play Button on it (  hint hint .. last word rhymes with Cube). 

I have been there. Pushing the video on to universally recognized, easy and  free video hosting and streaming service is too damn tempting. Recently, I attempted to look for ways to improve user experience.  I want to share my experience with you peeps and want to see what you’all  think! 

Thumbnail, Thumbnail & Thumbnail:

First leap-frog step towards improving user engagement is to generate kick-ass video thumbnails. I see videos floating on the internet that didn’t take this first step. How to create a kick-ass thumbnail is already covered by multiple experts, so I will skip yapping about it. Generate a thumbnail and you already have achieved significant improvement.

Preview on Hover: 

f you are self-hosting videos or using paid video hosting service, there is another trick you can employ.

We all are familiar with video previews available on YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. When the user hover cursor over the video, you see a small preview of the video.  Viewers can get a glimpse of the video to decide if they want to watch it.  The previews are amazing at convincing users to click the play button.  

Although these services don’t not allow the creator to choose the preview clip – if you host your own video, you can.

To play, or not to play, that is the question: 

One of the reasons why users shy away from clicking the video is because users are indecisive. You can nudge them in the right direction by addressing their objection in the preview. 

‘I don’t have time to watch’‘10 minutes Video will save you hours in research’
‘Video is too long’‘In-depth explanation to make you an Expert’
‘Why this video?’‘We helped 1,000 Startups like yours’ 

You get the ideas right?

Final thoughts:

Before you tweak your video’s preview – make sure you have a good underlying video hosting. Although paid video hosting such as Vimeo and Wistia services are available, I often find videos hosted on AWS S3 are efficient enough for demo videos. Hosting on AWS S3 allows ad-free experience for your viewer while being cost efficient for you. YouCube isn’t going to take web traffic, using recommended videos is good reason too.

And don’t forget to see this demo video:

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