'Less is more' – Why shorter videos have a bigger impact

In 2000, a Microsoft study showed that the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. By 2015, it had dropped to eight seconds.

A 2019 study from the Technical University of Denmark found that our collective attention span is still narrowing. There is simply so much information available that we can’t keep up.

This is also backed by data from different social media platforms. Short videos generally do better than long ones. If a video is less than 60 seconds, over two-thirds (68%) of viewers will keep watching until the end. If a video is over 20 minutes long, only 25% of viewers will finish it.

Choosing a school for your child is a strong motivating factor, it’s true. Parents are keen to know as much as possible about prospective schools. But they can’t unlearn existing habits. When it comes to school promo videos, less is definitely more.

Here are a few other points to consider:

 

Creativity loves constraints

Think of all the things you want to get across in your school video. Your values, your school culture, your community, staff, students, curriculum, extra-curricular activities, facilities, results and more.

Packing this into a short video requires real clarity of message. A presentation in the school assembly hall during an open evening gives you much more leeway. At least the parents don’t have the choice of leaving half-way through, like they would do with a video.

To distil your core messages into a two-minute video means your team needs to be in agreement on what they are. That means investing some discussion time, but the effort will pay off through a clearer focus across all of your materials.

We would start with reviewing:

  • Your values and mission
  • Your goals for the video (e.g. what do you want people to do after watching it)
  • Your audience, their hopes and concerns
  • What your school offers prospective students
  • What makes your school different from others (such as your ethos, history and traditions, community or location)

If you’d like a helping hand, our expert communicators can facilitate relevant discussions and workshops.

 

Emotion drives decisions

People are exposed to thousands of brand messages every day. One study found they’ll be aware of 86. Twelve messages will leave a lasting impression and they’ll act on a very small number. Your school promo video is part of this avalanche of information.

Emotion makes messages easier to remember and it drives action. Another study looked at humans who had damaged the area of their brain where emotions are generated and processed. Despite being able to use logic and function completely normally, they struggled to make any decisions – even what to eat for lunch.

To help your audience remember and act on your video, you’ll need to include messages that resonate emotionally. Not full-on Hollywood drama, but positive themes about what it’s like to study at your school.

Did you know that good news and positive content spreads faster on social media than other content? Social psychologist Jonah Berger also found that people share more content that’s exciting or stimulating. Unoriginal simply blends into the background.

This may start to sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Aiming for a shorter video length reduces cost and makes it easier to hold your audience’s attention. How long is that? It depends on your messages and goals, but around two minutes is a good rule of thumb.

If you want to create an engaging school film that works for you, please get in touch. At Blue Apple Education, we can offer support with all aspects of film-making, from the initial plan through to the final edit.


 

 

 

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Learn more about a Blue Apple Education video for your school

 

We are here to support schools so if you have a question or just need some advice, arrange a completely free and no-obligation chat with one of our experts

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