If you want evidence that the digital video tidal wave is far from cresting, Instagram saw 5 million uploads in the first 24 hours after it launched its new video functionality. This sparked a fierce debate around the burning question of whether the optimal video length is six or 15 seconds.
If you are a professional content site, the right answer is neither (or both). In fact, it's not even the right question.
Here are a couple of questions I think are worth asking. How do I create video that my users will actually engage with? How do I leverage my video to create more valuable advertising inventory?
In the TV model, driving video consumption was traditionally about the quality of content, the promotion, and the time slot.
We can argue whether time slot is relevant on TV any longer, but it is certainly not a notion that translates well to the Web. Promotion is critical, but if the content doesn't speak to your users then no amount of hype will get them to watch it.
Quality of content is the foundation to video success as we have seen in cases ranging from full-length efforts such as “House Of Cards” from Netflix to short form successes such at Globe10.0 on the Boston Globe’s site. (Boston.com).
Quality isn't just an abstract ideal. The most successful professionally produced video on the Web has a distinctive voice.
Network TV has to speak to large audiences. Cable TV can cater to niches. But the Web allows for even more granular targeting, and that's what users expect. If you are a content driven site, users come to you for your editorial voice.
You wouldn't serve them generic text content that they could just as easily find on your competitor's site. Why would you serve up undifferentiated video?
One of the key benefits of featuring video on your site is that it is highly engaging. Don't squander that opportunity to connect with your user by delivering video content that doesn't reflect your site's basic values.
The Wall Street Journal's upcoming series of documentaries on promising start-ups is another good example of targeted content. It is on brand and contextually relevant.
Creating this kind of original and distinctive video content also sets up publishers to take advantage of the migration of advertising dollars from TV to the Web. With digital video ad spending expected to jump 20% to over $5 billion in 2014, original video is no longer a category to be left to the big portals.
And this doesn't just mean standard pre-roll. That will only get you in the game. Native advertising has become a hot marketing buzzword. In order to deliver the contextually relevant experience marketers seek in video, sites must start creating original content that targets their audience while creating an integrated marketing opportunity for advertisers.
The success of social video apps like Vine and Instagram is a great indicator of how much users love to interact with video, but it is just part of a much larger video ecosystem. If your video content reflects who you are, then you can catch the video wave and your business will enjoy a long profitable ride.
Gregg Winik is CEO of CineSport, the largest producer and syndicator of sports video to local media Web sites including the New York Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Atlanta Journal Constitution and others. MediaPost Video Daily blogger P.J. Bednarski is on vacation and will return Aug. 7.