You spent hours of prep time making sure your video would be amazing, you tripled checked the lighting and the sound, and then you delivered your presentation with newsreader like perfection. And then…hardly anyone watched it. Why didn’t they watch? Was it you? Was it the content? Is video dead? Should you even bother trying again? These questions, and many more, probably ran through your mind when you first saw the stats but before you throw in the towel let’s look at some of the reasons why you didn’t get the hits you were expecting.
Classes / Lectures
If you’ve recorded a class or lecture and hardly anyone watched it, first remember the two main reasons why people do watch:
- They missed the class and need to catch up
- They re-watch for revision, especially in the lead up to exams / assignments
So if a particular class wasn’t watched check your roll, if you had perfect attendance then no one needs to catch up. If you’re at a time of year where you’re not about to head into exam week, or that particular class wasn’t covering new concepts then there might not be anything that people want to review. However, this doesn’t mean that later in the term / semester it won’t be watched.
The other thing to consider is how long the video is. If you’re doing three hour classes then for review purposes especially, this can be a big chunk out of a student’s studying time. In this instance consider editing your class. Take out the chit chat at the start, remove the discussion time at the end if it’s not relevant, edit out the 15 minute break you took, etc. Then add chapters so people can jump to the spot they really need to watch (this is much easier than them trying to find the right spot). Alternatively you could easily split it up into a few smaller videos using the Web Editor.
If you’ve recorded a meeting, e.g. your AGM or a budget meeting, then the reasons why it wasn’t viewed are usually very similar to the reasons why a class isn’t watched, but the time factor is a big one here. In an 8 hour working day watching an hour+ video can seem like time you just don’t have. This is where chapters can be important – the President’s address, the budget winners and losers, etc., are small chunks that people can watch quickly without sitting through anything that isn’t relevant to them.
Also look at the quality of the recording. Could everyone around the table be heard? Was there a lot of side talk that made it hard to concentrate on the actual meeting? Were there handouts referred to at the meeting that haven’t been given to people watching the meeting? Little things like this can deter someone from wanting to sit through the video.
Conferences / Events
Event recording is massive these days and can open up a whole new revenue stream for your company by allowing people to watch live or on demand from any location. If you were streaming live and didn’t get the attendees you were expecting then consider where your audience is located. If they’re all in the town where your event was happening chances are they didn’t attend in person because they weren’t available, and as such wouldn’t have been able to watch live either. Think about the time zones if you’re going to people in different states or countries. Starting an event at 6:00 PM Australian time means you’re not likely to get live viewers in New Zealand where it’s 9:00 PM.
If your aim is to have people watch on demand after the event then how are people accessing the video? Do they need to register and pay to receive the link, and if so is the person sending the links doing so as soon as they’ve received payment or is there a slow turn around? The longer a person waits the more likely they are to have another priority take their attention away.
Also, have you told people who were at the event that they can re-watch the event later? This is especially important if you have multiple sessions happening at once. Giving in person attendees access can bump up those viewing numbers without too much extra work on your part.
This could be within a higher education facility or a workplace training video, but the reason for a lack of views can be the same. If you’ve been doing “talking head with a PowerPoint” presentation style videos for a while now it could be time to spice things up. Check out our article on Video in Learning for ideas on stepping outside your normal recording style. The more interesting viewers find your video the more likely they are to watch other videos, as well as re-watching the initial video to help with their learning.
Look at the length of your videos. A 15 minute training video is much more likely to be viewed (and on more than one occasion) than an hour video. If you’re already giving them handouts then use your video to show them how to do a task rather than explaining all of the procedures relating to the task that you’ve also asked them to read. On that note, don’t read word for word what’s on your PowerPoint. This can be a massive turn off for viewers, and if they already have a copy of the PowerPoint they’re probably switching off before you’ve had a chance to win them over.
General Reasons For Low Viewing Stats
The biggest question to ask is where are your videos? At the end of the day, no matter how much someone wants or needs to watch your presentation, if they can’t find it they can’t watch it. If you put your videos on your website is it obvious where they are (e.g. Video Library) or do you have to be lucky to stumble across them? Do you have any way of notifying people when you upload a new video or are them expect to randomly check back and see if anything new is there? Are you emailing the links out? Are you allowing people to use the Share feature so that they can send the link to others? If it’s an internal video how are you telling staff about it? Consider using a Mediasite Showcase to display your videos, with the added bonus of being able to put videos into different Channels related to a topic.
Another reason why videos don’t get watched is viewers can feel like there’s a lack of interactivity, which after a few videos, leads to them barely paying attention and not bothering to click on the next link. Mediasite has a huge range of features that can help viewers feel engaged, and in some cases, even have them performing tasks while watching. Check these features out at https://www.jplmedia.com.au/ways-to-engage-your-audience-the-basics/ and https://www.jplmedia.com.au/ways-to-engage-your-audience-the-less-obvious-stuff/.
How long did you give people to watch before you checked the stats and decided you were never doing this again? The benefit of on demand video is that people can watch it in their own time. This means they may not watch it on day 1. If there isn’t any urgency they may take a few weeks to get to it. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to watch it, just that they haven’t had time to yet. The great thing about Mediasite’s Analytics is that you can see the dates of the first and last times your video was watched, as well as a heat map that shows you which parts were most viewed.
At the end of the day any video is better that no video and people will watch what they can, when they can. Some presentations will attract a bigger audience than others but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a video with only 10 views wasn’t valuable to those people who did watch it. So before you vow to never turn the camera on again have a think about how you can increase your viewership, rework your presentation, and try something a little different next time. We’re sure you’ll be happy you did!