To video or not to video? That is the question

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Most of us love a sleek video that tells us what we need to know and packs a visual punch.

From a web development perspective, sites that incorporate video have been shown to increase both engagement and conversions.

The benefits of videos on websites

Whether it’s a virtual tour shot by camera or aerial footage captured by drone, a well-made video can be an invaluable resource on a real estate development website. Videos can showcase properties in much more detail than photos or textual descriptions ever could. And with the overwhelming popularity of platforms such as YouTube, video has become an effective marketing tactic for many companies.

There are many benefits to adding video to real estate developers’ company websites:

  1. Website visitors are more inclined to watch short videos rather than read long bodies of text.
  2. Videos allow you to convey information in different communication styles.
  3. They’re more dynamic and interesting than text, and also more effective, due to users’ increasingly lower attention spans.
  4. Videos provide dual exposure on YouTube and in Google search results.
  5. They can add significant credibility to the company.

Challenges

Videos comprise larger files than images. For this reason, they can cause pages to load more slowly, which, in turn, can actually decrease engagement. According to Google, even a page that takes longer than three seconds to load can cause users to abandon it. In addition, certain browsers aren’t equipped to showcase some newly-optimized video formats.

Strategists and web developers alike, therefore, face the following challenges: How do we incorporate vibrant and engaging video content while keeping the page load speed lightning fast to address the demands of modern consumers? And how do we address the issue of browser compatibility?

Host content on an external platform

As for browser compatibility, there are a few ways to get around this issue. One option is to host videos on external sites such as YouTube or Vimeo and embed them into your website from there. Having your video hosted by an external platform keeps your bandwidth from being used up, and with an established site like YouTube, it means your video can be accessed on mobile, tablet and desktop. Ask your web development company whether this is the right option for you.

Measure page speed

There are times when hosting your video on an external site just won’t cut it. Sometimes, it’s because you want the overall site design to present in a way that needs a more seamless look. If you’re sold on having video part of your web development from the ground up, ensure you’re testing the page speed both before and after its integration, and optimize the video if needed.

Choose autoplay carefully

Autoplay refers to videos that immediately launch and play when you load some web pages. These videos take up a significant amount of bandwidth and are a notorious cause of slow page load, so take this into consideration when working with your website design team.

Also keep in mind that not every user loves this feature, especially if the videos also play audio automatically.

In our opinion, launching video and audio automatically might not be the best use of UX, as many users use their phones in situations where audio isn’t appropriate or Wi-Fi isn’t available. But, there are ways to incorporate this feature while still being mindful of user habits. For example, you can have video autoplay while muted (with captions), or you can have it appear as a pop-up once someone has clicked on a “watch video” link.

Use full-screen video sparingly

There’s no doubt about it – a full-screen video has an immediate and theatrical impact. However, a good web development company will also tell you that those sleek, full-screen videos need to be used carefully.

For starters, it’s best to make them simple and short. As you might imagine, videos of this size can be a massive drain on bandwidth, especially if they’re high-quality, as they should be. Again, if you want to incorporate audio, it might be best to make that optional for users.

To video or not to video?

Despite shifts in video trends, it’s unlikely that this feature will ever completely go out of style. Movement, colour and narrative have a way of catching the eye and crafting a story in a way that text alone – or even static images – simply can’t. Videos are great for showing products in the e-commerce sphere and are equally great for telling the story of your brand or showing the impact of your services.

To best leverage this feature, however, web developers need to carefully balance its look and feel with bandwidth requirements and video’s natural tendency to slow down page load speeds. Like many aspects of web development, it’s a balance that, when skillfully handled, can give your digital presence an edge.

Getting started with videos and video marketing can be overwhelming. To learn more about how video can be used to tell your company’s story (and whether it’s the right fit for you), get in touch with us today.