Video on Your Insurance Agency Website, Part III

13thAug. × ’08

Professional or Amateur?

There’s a lot that can be done with video, and having video production capabilities in the family (the kid with the Mac)gives you options. Clearly there is a place for professionally done video production, as well as a place for (reasonably professional), low/no cost, self-made videos (the 50-something with the digital camera).

In fact, there was a recent news item featuring CNN’s opening of ‘bureaus’ in seven cities where they previously did not have one. Expense is a determining factor in opening and maintaining a network news bureau – equipment, technical personnel, etc. The new CNN bureaus will provide broadcasts via web casts, ‘directed, filmed, and produced’ by the reporter. The vastly reduced cost of that kind of production makes it possible for CNN to provide direct coverage in more areas – an example of how fast and inexpensively produced video can coexist with higher production value programming. In fact, CNN has taken this a step further with their iReport service, where virtually anyone can report news and publish video ‘story’.

You have to wonder if there is a ‘best’ balance between videos that are slick and professional, and videos that are not edited with layered soundtracks. I’m sure there is no one right answer, but I’m going to throw this out there: providing only slick, commercial grade videos may suppress total views. Allstate Insurance has had a YouTube video channel for over two years, and the total views have been somewhat underwhelming at 7,114 (and 4 videos account for nearly 75% of all views). There are 37 videos on the Allstate channel, most have been viewed fewer than 200 times. I’m not suggesting that Allstate has not achieved acceptable ROI from its YouTube channel; remember, production and publishing costs would be low. I am suggesting that commercial grade videos may not always be the best way to go on the web, particularly when videos are published to a social site like YouTube.

What does this mean for your insurance agency? Don’t be afraid to have employees, customers, and others in the community produce videos for you. Worry less about matching TV quality production values, but focus on quick publication and community relevance. Your video views, and site traffic, should go up.

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