What makes a video successful? What makes a video “viral?” I spend most of my waking consciousness thinking about this, for better or for worse.
As Creative Producer for BC, I make social videos that tend to fall within these characteristics:
- Montage, highly visual; narrative or theme driven
- Inspirational, uplifting tone
- 1-2 minutes in length
- Fast-paced, upbeat music
- Bright, colorful visuals
- Broad, expansive topics
- Scripted concept: Boston College Awaits; Here All Are One
- “Day in the Life” – Snow Day; First Day
- Event/News-driven – First Month; Upset Saturday
- Informational/Academic – Schiller Institute; Carroll Dean’s Message
- Fun/Community – Life is a Dance; Boston College Shake It Off
To some extent, there is a bit of a formula to the way we approach all of these BC videos, and the novelty often comes from one or two different techniques – drone shots, hyperlapses, timelapses – and a creative way to showcase the same series of student life events that occur each year. My goal with every video I make, especially social videos, is to focus on emotion and heart – something that is relatable to as wide of an audience as possible. Often I’m toe-ing the line of overly-sentimental, but I find that when I air on that side of things, it tends to garner the emotional response you’d hope for in an often-nostalgic audience – especially recent alums wishing they could come back to the Heights.
If there were a few “case study” videos I’ve been mulling over this year, it’s Snow Day, Here All Are One, First Day, First Month, Upset Saturday, and Boston College Awaits. Here’s the breakdown on these videos in terms of characteristics and results:
|Video||Description||Day & Time Posted||Length||Views|
|Snow Day||Montage of memorable blizzard||Friday 9:30am||1:56||113K|
|Here All Are One||Celebrating Student Intersectionality||Friday 8:45am||1:02||23K|
|Upset Saturday||Recap of BC vs Duke Upset||Saturday 7:30pm||1:19||44K|
|First Day||Sights and Sounds of First Day||Thursday 11am||1:07||51K|
|First Month||Recap of First Month||Wednesday 1pm||1:06||34K|
|Boston College Awaits||Admissions Early Action Message||Friday 8:45am||2:04||71K|
But, what does the BC audience really want to see? Are these types of videos that are “thumb stopping” and content that people want to share? Should our strategy prioritize “day in the life” content such as First Day and Snow Day, news/current content such as Upset Saturday, scripted concept such as “Here All Are One,” or huge, Admissions focused montage videos such as “Boston College Awaits?” Obviously there needs to be a healthy mix of all-the-above, but in terms of creating and managing a video team that is best equip for the higher education digital landscape, how we prioritize each category of video will drastically change the way we operate.
Additionally, in the larger marketing landscape – given Facebook’s new changes, increasingly stringent algorithm, and “pay to play” model, is a non-profit University like Boston College well-positioned to stay on people’s timelines?
I would love to hear your general feedback as a class:
- What do you like about BC video content?
- What do you dislike?
- What types of videos would you like to see BC making?
- What brands should we emulate?
- Which of the above categories (a, b,c, d, or e) should be our primary focus?
Qualitative feedback from a few members of the class would be greatly appreciated, and based on some of your thoughts, I hope to follow up with a more formal survey that perhaps more members of the class could contribute to, featuring more specific examples and feedback opportunities.
Obviously view and share counts provide their own form of feedback on videos, but I often struggle to identify the variables that are driving those analytics. If you feel so inclined, please also comment on any or all of the characteristics I mentioned above (1-6) and let me know what you think is most effective or important in your decision to share (or not to share) BC video content.