I tried a video marketing experiment. The results were exactly what I thought.
Here’s what I did:
In November 2012 I gave a lecture to attorneys at the NYC Bar Association. It was about medical malpractice law for the non-medical malpractice attorney. It was part of their Bridge-the-Gap program.
I’m invited each year to lecture and for some reason the attorneys keep writing great reviews of my lecture and I keep getting invited back.
I videotaped this lecture. It was an hour and a half. The only problem was that the lighting was awful. Dreadful. Even though I was using a professional videographer, we couldn’t do anything better with the lighting. That was problem #1.
Problem #2 was the length of the video.
My theory: If I put a 90 minute CLE lecture on YouTube, nobody would watch till the end.
My assumption: I knew that people would watch part of it. I knew that viewers would stay for a little while. What I didn’t know was for how long they would stay.
As the graph above shows, the audience retention went down dramatically after the 20 minute mark. That’s actually quite remarkable when you think about it.
I wouldn’t watch an attorney CLE for 20 minutes, unless I had to for CLE credit.
YouTube analytics confirmed my thoughts that nobody would watch till the end of the 90 minutes and that’s cool.
I was very uncomfortable uploading a 90 minute video. All of my videos are 2-4 minutes long. Having a 90 minute video just went against the grain of all that I do. Even with good lighting, a viewer should never be expected to sit through a video for that long.
What has this taught me?
To turn up the lighting in the room and bring my own external lights while giving next year’s CLE to the NYC Bar Association. Then post it as another experiment and see if the lighting makes a difference when viewed against viewer retention.
Remember, if you’re going to change one of the video factors, only change one thing at a time. Otherwise, you’ll never know what worked and what didn’t.