Online Video and the Importance of Storytelling

Video Creative Director
Published 1/15/19
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After a rousing weekend in Anaheim attending VidCon 2018, I’m happy to say -- long live the King! Storytelling still reigns supreme in the world of online video. And, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to, well, anyone. After all, humans are hardwired for storytelling. For as far back as we’ve existed on this planet, stories have been shared and passed down through generations—cave drawings, ancient religious texts – it’s as if storytelling is embedded in our DNA.

“Without stories, humanity would not exist. Stories help us explain our view of the world and share that with others to bind us as communities.”

(Cassie Roma, VidCon 2018)

In the realm of destination marketing, great stories can form the building blocks of trust, and trust is what motivates and persuades us to act (or book). As evidenced by the staggering number of YouTube viewers who faithfully follow the stories of their favorite Creators, when the story is compelling, people will watch. The analytics don’t lie, narratives of a visitor’s experience in a destination has been proven to be far more compelling to would-be travelers than traditional commercial formats. Why? The viewer trusts the storyteller. As marketers, leveraging consumer trust is the most effective way to market your destination and turn viewers into travelers.

Great stories don’t need to be hampered by video length either. Compelling storytelling, whether in short-form :15 Instagram Stories or hour-long episodic content on Netflix, is the most important part of creating online content. Viewers will watch your content no matter the length as long as the story is excellent. But, get to the point! Viewers want to understand what they’re watching early into viewing. The first few seconds of your video is your opportunity to grab their attention. Don’t waste this prime visual real estate with too much branding or uninspiring imagery. Instead, lead with a strong hook and amazing visuals, and perhaps some light brand recognition.

But, understanding the watch journey is also a major part of the online video storytelling process. It may come as a surprise that the watch journey actually begins before the viewer even hits “play.” Keep an eye out for the next installment, where we’ll dive into the different stages of the Watch Journey.