If your online video clip doesn’t genuinely inform or entertain…

If you work in the online world you can hardly have missed all the latest talk about using video and video clips to promote products and services.

Suddenly, video clips are the way to go. And every marketer’s dream appears to be based on magically going “viral” on YouTube.com or some other video-sharing site.

Based on some of the comments from this recent article in the Chicago Tribune, online agency executives are eager to invest in this emerging “medium”.

We have a feeling that most of the money going into “video clip marketing” will be wasted. It will be clutter. Just like the last round of rich media investments.

This doesn’t mean to say we don’t believe in the potential of video online. Far from it. In fact, we are currently looking for research partners to explore this further.

However, it is our guess that agencies and companies will rush into video marketing with sales-centered clips, and be disappointed by the results.

While further research will reveal more, some initial testing indicates that there are three basic ways to go with video.

1. Use video to deliver information and add a depth to your web site content in a way that is either hard or impossible to achieve with text and static images alone. (Here is an example from one of our partners, National Alert Registry.)

2. Use video as a “how to” demonstration tool. (How to install a video card in your computer, how to make a Caesar Salad, how to install a dish washer etc.)

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3. Or use video to entertain.

This third option will be hard to achieve for most companies. There are countless hundreds of thousands of video clips fighting for attention already, most of them made by enthusiastic amateurs. And the chances of any one clip going “viral” in a big way are very slim.

As we learn more about what really works with video clips, we’ll share our findings here and, in time, in the form of a full report.

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