Video conferencing has become a primary communications means for business, but it can be hard to keep attendees engaged. This article by Gilles Bertaux, co-founder and CEO, Livestorm, provides the best practices to boost video conferencing engagement. The article further talks about the future of video engagement.
There’s no doubt about it: video is everywhere. If that wasn’t true before the COVID-19 pandemic, it certainly is now. In the past 15 months, we’ve seen almost every type of gathering adapted to the small screen, from sporting events to meetings and conventions. Nearly any event that happened in person pre-2020 can now be held online.
Video conferencing has become a primary means of communication in the business world. In a Livestorm surveyOpens a new window conducted in April 2021, 68% of respondents reported increased use of video conferencing in the past 12 months. Further, two-thirds believe its use will either increase or remain the same in the next 12 months, even as 60% of them say they’ll be back in the office by the end of 2021.
Staying engaged during virtual meetings is a challenge, however. In the Livestorm survey, 40% of respondents reported experiencing attention and concentration difficulties when using video communication tools (even as many admitted they tended to work on other things during video conferences).Â
What can hosts do to maintain viewer interest? Here are some simple steps.
- Adding visuals elements, like photos, graphics, charts, graphs, GIFs, and video clips. Many studies have shown that text-heavy presentations tend to have high exit rates.Â
- Upgrading equipment quality. The majority of users rely on microphones and cameras embedded in their laptops. Adding an external microphone or external webcamOpens a new window can usually greatly improve a stream’s audio and video quality.Â
- Encouraging audience participation. Audience involvement is a classic public speaking technique that has been used for centuries to keep audiences alert and interested. Video engagement features like chat, poll, and question tabs can help audiences stay actively involved in the discussion.Â
Moving From Video Conferencing to Video Engagement
The steps above may help companies make a dent in screen fatigue but are not likely to eradicate the problem entirely. For greater impact, companies are starting to transition from Video Conferencing to Video Engagement Platforms (VEPs) â€“ next-gen video conferencing platforms with special features designed to boost engagement during internal and external events.Â
VEP features tend to fall into three categories: promotional, interactive and reporting.Â
Promotional engagement features are designed to promote and drive awareness of online events.Â Examples are custom registration pages and forms, email invitation tools, automatic email reminders, and social sharing tools.
Interactive features encourage users to interact with their attendees in real-time. Popular audience interaction features includeÂ linked shopping carts, emojis, polls, chats and social feeds. This is the core of VEP â€“ enabling interactive conversations instead of one-way presentations.Â
Reporting features help users gather and act on valuable customer insights. Examples include source tracking, landing page conversion analytics, data enrichment tools, attendance analytics, and replay analytics. Understanding previous engagement metrics can help you learn how to improve engagement for the next event.
Learn More: How to Ace Your Remote Meetings With Videos
What’s Next for Video Communications?
Video engagement platforms have enormous potential. Almost all of the features above already exist in today’s market. But what’s next for the world of video? What features and tools might improve the user experience in the next 3, 5, or 10 years?Â
Up until this decade, video communication software has served as a sort of expansion of the telephone. It has been merely a way for users to see other parties, in addition to hearing them. But modern video tools offer far more capabilities than a simple video feed of another person’s face. Today’s video solutions provide a full suite of services that can engage users, facilitate collaboration and drive interest. Additionally, they can provide businesses with valuable information about their most qualified leads, which they can then use to craft a better user experience and, ultimately, boost profitability.Â
This is the key driver behind the move from video conferencing to video engagement. Video engagement tools can capture audience attention, encourage participation, and gather valuable insights, all in one centralized digital environment.
Here are a few ways video engagement can benefit businesses.
1. Enabling anyone at your company to host a professional video conference for two to thousands of participantsÂ
Video engagement platforms are so easy to use that anyone can create and host an event without any assistance from IT. This means video can be used as a tool in many more departments â€“ not just sales and marketing, but also HR, finance and anywhere else.
2. Building brand loyalty
One of the main benefits of video engagement is that it helps brands reap stronger, more genuine relationships with both current and future customers. Ideally, every part of a brand’s identity should be strategically chosen to build a rapport with an audience, from the language and tone used in written content to colors and fonts used in logos and product packaging.Â
Interactive features like questions that can be upvoted, audience polls, and chat tabs enable prospects to have a participatory conversation with businesses and brand representatives. This, in turn, helps keep the brand or business top-of-mind when the prospect is later making a purchasing decision.Â
Being able to forge meaningful connections with audiences has another benefit, too: it tends to yield powerful customer loyalty. When customers are engaged on an emotional level, they are highly poised to become not just passive consumers but avid fans. This type of loyalty reaps a very long and profitable ROI.Â
3. Generating actionable customer insights
Another benefit of video engagement is that it is an excellent way for businesses to understand their customers. They can do this directly, through the event itself (conducting polls, etc.) and indirectly, through analytical reporting features in the software. These insights enable businesses to improve their products or services and design a more efficient and profitable path to purchase.Â
4. Facilitating internal collaboration
Video engagement tools aren’t just useful for connecting with people outside an organization; they can also help businesses with their internal efforts. For instance, video engagement software could be used to:Â
- Help make employee onboarding more efficient and cost-effective
- Quickly share important news and information within a large organization
- Help employees troubleshoot common issues in new processes or technologies
- Train employees on critical subjects, like cybersecurity best practicesÂ
- Gain feedback from employees about new initiatives, procedures, or policies
With remote work models continuing over the long term, it’s likely that video engagement features will become even more helpful.
The future of video engagement is not as a mere communication device but functions as a total, one-stop-shop containing everything a business leader might need to create, promote, and manage an online event. I’ve often said video itself is a commodity, but it’s the features surrounding it that make it valuable. As those features evolve, video’s role in business communications will continue to expand.Â Â