Len Smofsky Nov 27 ,2018

Your video content has 15 seconds or less to grab viewers’ attention before they hit back or scroll through their “recommended” list.

Remember, you’re fighting to earn screen time against countless other videos. The list is endless: branded videos, newly-released music videos, recaps of sports games, late night talk show clips – it goes on and on.

As a marketer, your video must work hard to grab attention, much less sustain that attention and persuade viewers to act.

With the right strategies in place, your video can serve as one of your strongest marketing assets, earning a high number of views and driving your viewers further along the customer journey.


Let’s face it – unless you’re a YouTube star or a trending celebrity, no one is going to spend their time and energy looking for your video. They don’t know you and you shouldn’t expect them to know you. That’s where good SEO practices come into play because, at the very least, your video can appear in a user’s search results if it’s properly optimized (and is relevant to the user).

SEO is the chameleon of digital marketing. It’s constantly changing its colours to match and suit the trends taking place in the digital landscape. And now that we’re almost in 2019, there are some new standards to keep in mind to make your video more discoverable on search engines.


  • Insert your video’s transcript – The transcript of your video functions as page copy. This is crucial because search engines can more easily scrape text as opposed to a video itself. A transcript also can help viewers follow along with your video if for some reason they can’t hear or listen to its audio.
  • Use thumbnails carefully/artfully – We’ve all been taught not to judge a book by its cover, but viewers will always judge a video by its thumbnail. Customized thumbnails that speak to the video’s content are far more likely to get viewers watching as opposed to generic or dull ones.
  • Craft a great title and description for your video – A good title and description benefits video content as much as they do editorial and blog content. An engaging title and description that resonates with your audience, aptly details what your video discusses, and contains the appropriate keywords will get more love from search engine algorithms.
  • Index/Embed your video appropriately – You’ll want to avoid having too many videos on one page. So as part of your upload strategy, focus a page on one video, not more. Also, placement of videos on a page matters. Don’t bury your video below the fold – closer to the top is your best bet for search engine indexing and page one ranking.
  • Place your video in the right spot – Placing your video on the right site is a no-brainer strategy for it to rank better. This corresponds with SEO and of course, where your audience frequents. That leads us to our next section.


You wouldn’t haphazardly move into a neighbourhood because that could mean moving next to noisy neighbours and having a 2-hour commute to work. You’d spend the time to choose a neighbourhood that compliments your lifestyle.

Start thinking of video uploads as a form of digital real estate. The right choice of platform takes the load off of your shoulders in terms of optimizing your videos because you will naturally put it in front of the right people.

The more traction these videos are able to receive organically, the more credible it will seem to search engines when pulling search results.


YouTube Vimeo DailyMotion
  • Has the largest audience/number of viewers
  • Huge real estate for ads and ad space
  • Flexible for scheduling release times
  • Ability to list videos as private or public
  • Availability of free & paid versions
  • Aimed towards mature and specific communities (perfect for niche business and niche marketing)
  • Availability of free & paid tiers available (Plus, PRO, Business options)
  • Can replace videos without losing vital stats/analytics
  • Ad-free
  • Availability of password-protected options
  • Interface allows for higher video quality
  • Fewer copyright claims and issues (larger variety of video content)
  • DailyMotion permits adult/NSFW content (“AgeGate” setting)
  • More popular in Europe (advantageous to businesses with European audiences)

Keep these characteristics in mind, because your video may perform great on one platform and poorly on another. Of course, you can always upload your content onto multiple platforms to see which one it performs better on (the results may surprise you).


The other side of the video optimization coin – SEO being one face – is optimization for web browsers and physical devices themselves. Aside from keywords and text descriptions, search engines weigh video UX when ranking videos.

Tragically, many videos with great content lack in terms of load speed, frame size, and display quality. Remember, today’s viewer has little patience and spends more time on their phones and tablets than they do on laptops or desktops.

So do your viewers and yourself a favour by ensuring your video looks crisp on all browsers and devices. After all, not every member of your audiences uses the same browser or devices.


  • Get the file size right, keep it tight – Make sure to compress video file sizes since bigger ones tend to load and buffer at a slower pace.
  • Specify video sizes – When uploading the video, make sure to specify the frame size so that a browser can pull the necessary bandwidth for it to play your video at the highest quality possible.
  • Choose the best file format – Not all file formats work the same on all browsers. Nevertheless, you won’t go wrong using file formats such as MP4 and WebM since they are friendly with HTML5 – the modern standard for current browsers and mobile devices.
  • Take the load off your site – The less bandwidth your site uses for your videos, the better they will look and load. One helpful tool for this purpose is to host your video on a content delivery network (CDN), which are groups of servers that store cached copies of your website’s static assets.
  • Test on browsers/videos before launching – Here’s a simple test to perform before uploading a video to the world: test it on every browser and device! Run it through Chrome, Firefox, Safari and yes, even Internet Explorer. Conversely, test it on iOS and Android devices. You’ll be surprised what bugs you’ll catch.


Here’s a common occurrence – someone clicks on a video and starts watching it, enjoying the content they see. But then they notice the run time – it’s 20 minutes long. They may tell themselves, “hey, this video looks cool, but I can’t watch this right now – it’s too long.” They never return to it.

On the flip side, someone might click on a video about a subject that they’re really concerned about or would like to learn. They click it, start watching, but then realize there are only two minutes of content. So, they skip it and look for a longer video that has more to offer.

The lesson? Video length matters. Of course, it goes beyond merely deciding whether it should be long or short – what really matters is the strategy behind the video’s length.


  • Consider lengths on the viewer – 30 seconds without engagement will lead to a 33% loss of viewers – that number jumps to 45% at one minute. This doesn’t mean that short videos are the end-all be-all, but that time and content do piggyback off of one another.
  • Shorter or longer isn’t what matters – As illustrated above, some videos should be shorter while others should be longer. What matters is the purpose of the video and also, the platform you’re uploading it to.
  • Platform matters – The platform you choose is one of the biggest considerations for video length. First off, most platforms have time limits which you can’t surpass. Secondly, studies have shown that videos of certain lengths perform better or worse on certain sites (see below).


Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube LinkedIn Pinterest
FB Video Cover – 20 – 90 Seconds (maximum)

Profile Video – 7 seconds (maximum)

Ideal Overall Video Length – 60 – 90 seconds

Maximum Video Length – 2 hours

FB Live Streams – up to 4 hours

Ideal FB Live Stream Length – 15 minutes

FB Stories – 20 seconds (maximum)

Maximum Length – 2:20 minutes

Ideal length – 43 – 45 seconds

Maximum length – 60 seconds

Ideal Overall Length – 30 seconds

IG Story Ideal Length – 15 seconds

IG Live – 1 Hour

IG TV (smaller accounts) – up to 10 mins

IG TV (larger/verified accounts) – 1 hour

Ideal Length – 5 – 7 minutes

Maximum length – 12 hours

Maximum video length – 10 minutes Maximum video length – 30 minutes

Ideal length – 15 – 30 seconds


The crew who will produce a brilliant product demo won’t look like the crew who will produce an emotional branded film. Video production is a multi-faceted beast, and it takes different skill sets and personalities to tackle different video formats.

Your internal team should obviously play their part no matter what type of video you produce because you know your product/service better than anyone else. However, you have to know when to take charge or get an outside perspective for a video you want to work on. How do you do that? It boils down to matching the right talent with the right format.


Creatives → Artsy folk such as film directors, writers of film/TV, novels, conceptual visual artists (photographers, painters), actors/comedians/musicians.

These folks will excel at creating glossy branded films that depend heavily on narratives, humour and high-art concepts.

Marketers/Sales → More than likely, the people on your team/in your department – the copywriters, salespeople, strategists, product designers and managers.

These are the teammates you rub shoulders with daily. With a little outside support, you can produce videos such as product demos, tutorials, behind-the-scenes culture videos, live streams and personalized videos.

Educators → These are people who are people who have lessons and insights to give. They can include marketers and salespeople on your team, but also, subject matter experts (SMEs), researchers, teachers, journalists and influencers.

Anyone can fit the category of “educator”, providing they are experts in their particular field. These individuals can serve as consultants or direct contributors for videos such as explainers, documentaries, reviews and Q&A (interviews).


One of the most appreciable qualities of video marketing is variety. There are numerous types of videos, each with different strengths and weaknesses, and levels of popularity among differing audiences.


  • Animated
  • Explainers
  • Product demos
  • Tutorials & guides
  • Branded films
  • Live streams
  • Culture/Behind-the-scenes
  • Q&A/Interview
  • Documentaries/Web serials
  • And more…

Choosing the right format should revolve around your strategy. To start, review your buyer persona/audience profile because different age groups and subcultures gravitate towards certain video formats.

But don’t forget to see what your competitors are doing so you can learn from them. Watching your competitors will give you a sense of what opportunities they have yet to capitalize on, and what gaps you can fill with your own video content.

Finally, look at trends. That means looking at past videos of yours that have performed well and video trends in the marketing realm that have proven to be effective for your industry and audience. In this regard, if there’s already a winning formula, there’s no need to deviate from it.


This may look like an exhausting list of tasks to complete, but incorporating these techniques can mean the difference between massive video success or viewer apathy.

There’s no doubt in mind that you want your video to be in the former category, so it’s essential to have a robust strategy in place.

And don’t fall for the trap of “viral” success. Many of the world’s 30-second videos that went viral were actually the result of months upon months of planning, strategizing and building upon previous failures. Very rarely were they lightning strikes of random genius.

Remember, this saying: “It takes 10-15 years to become an overnight success”. You certainly don’t need to wait a whole decade to taste success, but it’s important to remember that results won’t come immediately.

So stay patient, stay hungry but more importantly, stay persistent.


About the author: Len Smofsky

Len Smofsky

Len has over 25 years of experience in visual communications and strategy. Over the last decade his focus has been primarily in the digital area.

Specializing in corporate communications, Len founded one of Canada’s most successful production companies. His company created leading edge video production, TV commercials, digital strategy and media.

In 2006, Len and Larry formed a partnership to create a new BlueRush with the intent of creating personalized customer experiences using a unique blend of digital media and deep technology capabilities. BlueRush works with clients in the financial services, healthcare and packaged goods industries leveraging current digital technologies and services, creating great user experiences at all points in the customer journey.


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