You probably aren’t surprised to hear that Americans now spend more time online than they do watching television. But would you guess that 85.6 percent of the U.S. Internet audience viewed at least one online video in the month of June 2011 alone? That’s a remarkable piece of information, but there’s more. According to data from the comScore Video Metrix service, which monitors digital media use (like Nielsen monitors TV watching):
- 179 million U.S. Internet users watched online video for an average of 16.8 hours per viewer during the month of June.
- The total U.S. Internet audience engaged in more than 6.2 billion video viewing sessions during the course of the month, an all-time high.
- Video ads account for 13.6 percent of all videos viewed and 1.3 percent of all minutes spent viewing video online.
- The duration of the average online video is 5.4 minutes, while the average online video ad is 25 seconds.
Maybe It’s Time to Put Some Effort into Video
The numbers clearly identify an opportunity for your law practice: Educational online videos. Done well, an engaging video help establish your firm’s reputation, create a strong impression—and increase your chances of being retained. Here are a few tips to remember when you are in front of the camera:
- Don’t talk about yourself! Talk about issues that actually affect your clients and potential clients’ decision-making. Divorce attorney Lee Rosen has had more than 100,000 visits to this video. It’s one of a series of highly-instructional videos he says clients tell him they viewed before contacting him. On the other hand, this video is an example of the wrong way to do it because it’s nothing more than a video brochure. Why waste the video?
- Demonstrate your understanding of how the law affects people. Here’s a Los Angeles corporate attorney explaining the legal issues and planning related to selling a closely-held business. While the opening may not be to your taste, what he says is impressive and helpful.
- Don’t tell, show. Advertising agencies have always said there is nothing more powerful than a demonstration. The Internet’s video capabilities give you that opportunity even before someone enters your office.
- Show your approachability and character. The lawyers in these examples do this well. After viewing, you get the feeling it would be easy to approach them.
Academic research also supports the power of the online video revolution. In The American Journal of Distance Education, Hee Jun Choi and Scott D. Johnson, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, wrote that “there is a significant difference in learners’ motivation in terms of attention between the video-based instruction and traditional text-based instruction. In addition, the learners reported that the video-based instruction was more memorable than the traditional text-based instruction.” It’s hard to beat that for effectiveness.
Forget an elaborate firm brochure and move beyond your basic firm blog. It’s time to create your firm’s video channel!
Bob Weiss writes law firm marketing plans, coaches lawyers and speaks regularly at retreats and legal conventions nationwide. He helps attorneys develop dockets of intellectually challenging cases at desirable rates. Considered one of the pioneers of professional services marketing, Bob founded Alyn-Weiss & Associates, Inc. in 1980, and is the author of the new book Marketing in Brief.