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How to choose exciting elements for your next promotional video

Everyone loves an effective, engaging video, but how do you get it right? Screen capture software and solutions specialist TechSmith has surveyed 100 outstanding instructional videos and revealed some top tips.

What matters in video right now, TechSmith blogger Ryan Knott concludes, includes some things many executives might not have thought of. PowerPoint slides, for instance, come well down the list of must-haves.

Much more important is quality audio and a narrator who’s easy to understand. About 80% of the videos chosen by respondents in TechSmith’s research as good examples featured quality audio that was easily heard and comprehended.

“While your computer’s or smartphone’s built-in microphone works for video calls, et cetera, to ensure your audio quality hits the mark invest in a stand-alone mic. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent microphone. Even a cheap standalone mic will likely outperform a built-in one,” writes Knott.

In addition, about 67% of the top videos included camera-shot footage, incorporating ‘live’ images from the real world.

“Camera video is great for showing how your product works, demonstrating a physical process such as how to perform CPR, showing a physical space, and more.”

Other common features in the best videos were hyperlinks, calls to action for the viewer, title clips and intros.

“An intro clip or a title card at the beginning of your video can provide good information to help anyone watching the video understand what they can expect. They also add a touch of professionalism, branding, and consistency,” according to TechSmith.

“Keep your title card or intro clip as short as possible. One to three seconds should be long enough.”

The above were all cited more often as contributing to a video’s effectiveness than outros, fancy transition effects, having a visible spokesperson, or even background music.

Only around one in ten of the best videos, as rated by viewers, included graphics, callouts or PowerPoint slides. Of all 100 videos on offer, just one or two respondents placed clips the featured whiteboard drawings or paper cutouts among their top choices for engagement and enjoyment.

Video length can also be important but shorter isn’t always better. Length must be tailored to the specific content requirements, added Knott. “For some topics and audiences, a longer video works great.”

The survey was part of TechSmith’s research for an e-book, Video Viewer Habits, Trends and Statistics You Need to Know.

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