How to pump up video engagement rates

All articles | Video
Published Jan 10, 2019 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Marketers strive for healthy organic reach. And when it comes to video marketing campaigns, this is heavily effected by engagement rates.

On social media platforms, like Facebook for example, news feeds are designed to favour content from people or brands that users have previously engaged with.


The better the engagement rate of content on your business profile, the more preferential treatment you will receive from the algorithms that govern your followers' feeds. A wider audience improves brand awareness and increases the chances of getting your content in front of the right people at the right time. It can take several touch-points to secure a sale, so your online presence needs to be strong. 

So how can you improve your video engagement rates?

Trigger curiosity

Video engagementCuriosity creeps up on us once we become aware that there's a gulf between what we know and what we want to know. It describes that itch to find out more and dispel uncertainty.  

As an industry expert, you are a well of information - you possess the insider knowledge that others are in search of. To improve audience engagement, make videos with information-seekers in mind. Identify common knowledge gaps and provide answers that will help viewers to connect the dots.

Click-bait performs well through the use of tantalising - if ludicrous - headlines. Curiosity is a powerful motivating factor, however, it's not a permanent state.

To maintain viewer curiosity, you have to be tactical about how you deliver information. And you have to deliver value. The most engaging videos are usually short and concise, and focus solely on one topic. Naturally, this will stir up further questions.

Some common ways to pique curiosity are:

  • Take a simple idea and link it to an unexpected outcome or topic
  • Tease answers to a problem, question or mystery
  • Begin a story and delay the conclusion at a climactic moment
  • Address something the viewer can’t explain themselves: leak behind-the-scenes knowledge
  • Introduce a unique new concept or personal experience

To capitalise on engagement, include a video CTA that reveals next steps for your viewer's research. End on a note that leads fluidly to another video, your website, or an invitation to connect. Remind your audience that you are a source of further information and make your brand the first port of call.

Hook viewers

Curiosity sparked by a title or thumbnail may cause a user to click play, but to keep their full attention, you will need to up the ante. Convince audiences to continue watching longer to improve your engagement rates. Much of the stay-power of a video campaign is delivered within the first 3 seconds. So, for online video, avoid opening with a sting and find a strong hook instead.

After sustained interest in the first 3 seconds of a video, the likelihood of a viewer watching up to the 30 second mark greatly improves (as shown by these Facebook viewership statistics). 

Imagine the hook in your video functions like the blurb of a novel - swiftly capturing the essence of your content. It may convey a tone of voice, reveal key points or raise questions. Engage your audience visually and give a clear indication of your core message. A good hook will capture attention quickly.

Hint at what's coming up. You see this technique being employed frequently on television (at the beginning or end of a show, or just before a cut to the advertisements break). Cliffhangers work.

Review your video marketing metrics and identify the point at which your viewers stop watching in other videos. If you can delay the average drop-off time for your work, you will have the opportunity to make a greater impression on your audience and improve your engagement rates. The more time people invest in you, the more compelled they are to give feedback - and the urge to provide feedback leads to engagement.

Master visual storytelling

It’s no wonder visual media is so important in marketing. 

Visual information can be processed nearly twice as fast as the blink of an eye. And much of the brain is devoted to this: neurons devoted to sight take up about 30% of the cortex, which is pretty high compared to other senses (8% for touch, 3% for hearing).

Using visuals to support storytelling makes it easier for people to process data and understand complex processes. It also significantly improves recall: people remember roughly 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read and a whopping 80% of what they see and do. 

Video is more successful than other visual formats in terms of engagement, and it can be an extremely powerful medium for B2B storytelling. It is emotive by nature. When your audience can relate to the story you are telling, it makes it more memorable, and encourages them to engage. Stick to a classic storytelling structure: context, conflict, resolution.

Work on first impressions

Remember, first impressions matter. According to research, users are able to recall mobile content from news feeds after seeing it briefly (as little as 1/4 of a second). This reinforces why thumbnails, and the earliest moments of your video, are pivotal to its success. Your video thumbnail should give a clear idea of what will follow. This could be a quote, an image of your speaker, environment, or a hero shot of your product.

Emotions push us towards action. Curiosity, amusement, amazement, admiration, and annoyance are some of the most common emotions driving viral content. Making emotive content increases the incentive for your audience to engage.

Posting video content at the right time of day can also improve the reception of your video on social media. Keeping this in mind while planning your video distribution strategy can lead to higher interaction and better engagement from your buyer personas. You want them to encounter your content at a time when they are most responsive.


If you can accomplish these simple video production goals and make a genuine connection with your audience, your engagement rates will soar.

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Published by Jeremy Knight January 10, 2019
Jeremy Knight