YouTube Lessons Learned for Brainshark Authors

February 07, 2012 | Irwin Hipsman
YouTube Lessons Learned for Brainshark Authors

As part of our on-going series of blog posts related to benchmarking your Brainshark presentations, we recently wrote about the length of presentations.  

I just came across the YouTube Creator Playbook. Updated fairly recently (November 2011), it is a resource that compiles tips, best practices, and strategies that help build an audience on YouTube. There are many ideas related to Programming/Producing, Publishing/Optimization, and Community/Social Media. One of the more relevant topics for a Brainshark author is the First 15 Seconds, or what we would call, the First Slide. 

First Slide Length

It is no surprise that the first slide is critical in that it hooks your viewer into the rest of a presentation. Our research shows that if your viewer sees the first 30 seconds of a presentation, they will spend 14% more time with it. According to the Playbook, “viewers decide whether they are going to keep watching your video within the first 10-15 seconds. Attention spans can be short and they are just one click away from abandoning your video. The video?s content - “What am I Watching?” - should come across in the first few moments and hook them early to give them a reason the stick around.”

Our best practice for the length of audio per slide is 30 seconds (it was 46 seconds across every presentation created in 2011). Regarding the first slide, we agree with YouTube and the best practice for the opening slide is 15 -20 seconds (it was 40 seconds across every presentation  created in 2011). It is worth the extra half hour to break the opening slide into two and write the script with the hook in mind.

Analytics can be a very helpful guide to increasing viewer retention and to determine how long your audience is viewing a presentation use the Viewer Retention Report in Brainshark.

First Slide Look

The first slide is also important because it is the visual introduction to your presentation and with some thought can complement to the script’s first 15-second hook. In Brainshark, the first slide is also used as the thumbnail for online presentations embedded on a website or portal. If all of your presentation’s first slides look the same, it may be hard for your audience to find a presentation and the portal may look repetitive and boring. Another first slide consideration is the default location of the play button, which can easily get in the way of the text. If you are using a thumbnail, we recommend the font size be larger than what you might normally use. Below are some excellent first slide thumbnails:

To download the 73-page Creator Playbook from YouTube click here.

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