The quickest way to lose visitors is to feature a slow-loading video.
Think about it. It’s almost 2019 – who has the patience for a video to buffer or the tolerance to wait for those circling dots in the middle of the screen to disappear?
With the demand for instant gratification at an all-time high, it’s important that your videos load fast, and that means you must optimize your videos for all browsers and devices. Failing to do so will kill your video traffic sooner or later.
So take heed. We’ve listed some key tips to optimize your videos so that they function well on all screens.
Video Optimization: Key Elements
To make sure we’re on the same page here, let’s break down some key elements of video optimization. Ultimately, video optimization has many names and faces. So it’s important to separate into two main subcategories – video usability and video SEO optimization. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus mainly on video usability.
Facets of Video Usability
- Load times – The quintessential factor that keeps viewers on a page is load time. A faster load speed allows viewers to watch a video without the dreaded lagging, blurring, and freezing of slower ones.
- Video quality – Viewers have grown more demanding of video quality, especially with the advent of ultra-HD and 4K technologies. The differences between high and low quality are even more distinguishable now, so your video has to look as clear as possible.
- Screen fit – The way a video appears on a screen is crucial, especially for mobile devices (phones and tablets). Remember, not all of these devices and platforms are built the same.
- Compatibility – This is an all-encompassing feature that, for the most part, takes care of the three elements above. When thinking of compatibility, we’re talking about making videos that run smoothly for specific browsers (ie. Google Chrome, Safari) and devices (ie. iOS, Android).
So how do you ensure that your video meets your viewers’ usability demands? Well, here are some tips below.
- Compress your file sizes – The bigger the file, the slower the video. However, various compression tools can take a bloated video file and trim it down so that it loads faster while still retaining a high resolution.
- Specify video sizes – By specifying the height and width of the video, the browser will allocate the necessary bandwidth the video needs to play at its display.
- Choose the best format – There are plenty of video formats out there, but of course, some work better in other browsers than others. Two fairly reliable options include MP4 and WebM formats (although they each have their capabilities and limitations). These HTML5 formats are more friendly for modern browsers and devices, making it possible to upload videos without plugins (which slow down website speeds).
- Take the “load” off your site – The more resources (ie. bandwidth, cache) your site uses for videos, the more likely your videos will have slower load times and reduced quality. You can take the load off your own site by streaming your video directly from your server. You can also do this by means of hosting your video on a content delivery network (CDN), a network of servers that store cached copies of your site’s static assets. A CDN is especially useful for large video files.
- Scrutinize your video’s length – Longer videos by nature take up more space. Now, we’re not saying that every video you create should be two minutes or less, but it’s vital to use your content appropriately. In other words, be strategic with your video content, using longer ones sparingly and for the right purpose.
It’s All About Presentation
It’s unfortunate, but video content that has serious potential can fail simply because it wasn’t properly optimized. Don’t let that happen to you. A properly optimized video can mean the difference between a video that gets ignored versus a video that goes viral.
Optimizing your video to work well with many browsers and devices will present your video in the best light possible. And with a browser and device-friendly video, your audience will more likely stick around to absorb its content.