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There’s a remarkably common – yet false – assumption about web video production that I’d like to show you how to put right.

I know from my email Q&A that many customers automatically assume that putting a web video on their site guarantees it’ll get played – and that site visitors will always take the time to view their expensive video message.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s certainly true that an engaging web video will increase enquiries or sales (source: yahoo 2009) , but I know from detailed analysis of our web data at that it takes a bit more to get the maximum viewings.

You need to go the extra mile to get maximum plays.

Here’s what to do.

Use a graphic placeholder image, that clearly and compellingly:

> Shows the visitor there’s a web video available to view, and why they ought to play it

> Demonstrates that the web video will solve their problems

> Implies the web video is good quality and worth watching

Look at this page for examples

In each instance you’ll see:

> a smart teaser graphic

> a prominently displayed Play button.

> a text inducement-to-play that offers to solve the visitor’s problem.

The graphic can be designed to precisely fit in the web page, adding to the page’s overall look and feel, and creating a prestigious impression.

By contrast, not using a placeholder graphic means your web video shows a freeze frame still, or a screen grab with an untidy arrow – and not necessarily the image of your choice .

You get the youtube video look – while your brand is smeared.

The key thing we learned from our studies of actual web video play data is this:

– The graphic placeholder image wins hands down in terms of winning more video plays.

Because this is a really important area of web video production, I’ll expand on it in the next blog post.

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