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How to Build a Long-Form Marketing Video People Will Actually Watch (And Why You Should)

by Karen Morad  |  
November 27, 2017

If an explainer video is the snack, a long-form documentary (think 15 minutes) is the marketing equivalent of a four-course meal.

The thing is... no content strategy can live on snackable content alone. Sometimes, you need to serve up a full meal.

First, some specifics.

"Long-form" isn't really that long. It's more like 15 minutes. But those 15 minutes can seem like an eternity when research tells us to keep our videos under 60 seconds.

So, right about now you're probably thinking any or all of the following:

  • "I barely watch a minute of video at a time. Why would my audience watch more?"
  • "I don't think we could actually fill 15 minutes."
  • "We barely have the budget for shorter explainers. How do I justify something longer?"
  • "When's lunch?"

We had those exact questions earlier this year before making our first documentary for Akamai's Gaming solutions business. Titled "The Most Awesome Game" and clocking in at 14:41, it's a behind-the-scenes look at how online games are conceived, developed, and delivered.

We lived to tell the tale, and no sooner was "The Most Awesome Game" in the can than Akamai commissioned a second documentary, this time for its mammoth media streaming business. "Revolutionaries: Voices from the OTT Frontline," is out now and showcased on Akamai's homepage.

What value did Akamai see in those projects, and why did it therefore greenlight them?

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Karen Morad is director of content as well as client services at revenue marketing agency Demand Spring, a demand-generation consultancy that helps marketing organizations improve their ability to build and progress sales pipeline.

Linked In: Karen Cigala Morad

Twitter: @kciggy

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  • by Jodi Elias Mon Nov 27, 2017 via mobile

    Would love to share this to LinkedIn. However, don't see any social sharing options here. Do you offer such? Thanks.

  • by Aaron Mon Nov 27, 2017 via mobile

    Hi Jodi, yes, when you scroll a little bit on mobile, the share options will appear at the top of the screen.

  • by Karen Morad Mon Nov 27, 2017 via web

    Thank you Jodi. I wonder if it's because you're in mobile view? The option is on the left side in desktop view, as well as under the bio.

  • by Tue Nov 28, 2017 via web

    Hi Karen Great post and i 100% agree with everything you say, but the big question is how many people watched the video to the end? its all about giving value to the person watching the video. So unless you are solving a problem or creating some sort of documentary where the consumer is receiving value, long videos are hard.
    We create both types of video, entertainment and education, 90% of the entertainment videos are under 90 seconds but the education videos can be up to 15 minutes long.
    How are you adding value, and what question are you answering is always the place we start our story telling process....


    [Comment edited by MarketingProfs]

  • by Karen Morad Tue Nov 28, 2017 via web

    Hi Darren. Thanks for the comment. There could be a whole other post on how to promote and measure your videos, right? I agree with you, at the end of the day, if you can't measure your "success" then why do it at all. For these videos, it was about changing the perception of Akamai from a service company to one who is and will continue to drive the industry conversations for gaming and media. That kind of perception takes quite awhile to influence, and it certainly won't happen with one documentary. Any content created, long-form videos included, should be thought through thoroughly in regards to its place in your marketing for the immediate future and the longer term. To that end, I don't know if "views" is the real metric of success. It's more about what opportunities for sales does this asset open the door to, speaking engagements for company executives, derivative assets that allow you to tell a consistent story throughout the funnel. At the end of the day, what matters is an engaged and active audience. Appreciate your thoughts! Karen

  • by Producer Tue Nov 28, 2017 via web

    Interesting video, but a few observations:

    Akamai has a certain reputation and industry visibility so that will draw viewers, and the video is well produced with the right flow and pacing keeping up with the length.
    That being said - it was no doubt very expensive to produce - that kind of result doesn't come cheap. So for most companies (that don't have Akamai's resources), somewhat out of reach.
    Also - video is a disposable medium - so it is perhaps best to produce more short-form videos that can be updated as circumstances change. For smaller, growing firms - next year's video would look a lot different than today's video.
    It also appears to be a recruiting video - so Akamai probably had more than one purpose in mind.

  • by Karen Morad Tue Nov 28, 2017 via web

    Producer - agree. This does not come cheap. It's quite an investment. But the biggest part of the investment is selling the value. We are not saying Long-Form video is right for everyone, but these particular videos yielded at least 5 videos for each (including the full length) with a path for tailored conversations throughout the funnel. I would also argue from a documentary stand point, videos may not be as disposable. Stories shared and valued in this format one year can also stand the test for years to come. (Not always, but sometimes.)

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