Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Your eLearning Video Is Missing 40% of Its Audience

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Today's guest post comes from at closerlook, inc. He blogs at digital-pharma.tumblr.com and pretty much lives on Twitter (@digital_pharma) if you'd like to reach out.

You have a great eLearning program. No, really. I can see every dollar you spent on getting that KOL on film with a killer script that nails your message. The camera work and editing is spot-on. The coding work you did to build a custom interface is delightful. The website is fast, clearly laid out behind a login, and it even remembers which videos I've watched and where I left off last time. Excellent stuff. Kudos to your agency partners for putting it together. I bet you get great traffic, and that everyone involved got a nice pat on the back when it came time for their annual reviews.

This is unfortunate, because I get all my email on my phone, and you guys send me emails all the time. They practically beg me to click on the link and watch the video, but when I do, I get a big grey rectangle. Or an error message (which is funny, because I didn’t do anything wrong). I wonder how much time and money you spent on that pretty video that is completely useless to me.

Suddenly I don't like your website anymore, mostly because it's built around encouraging me to watch a video I can't actually watch.

You've looked at your email metrics lately, right? You know that mobile devices account for anywhere from 40-60% of all email views, right*? Have you looked at your web metrics? In particular, the percentage of mobile traffic to your site, and how it has grown at a near-exponential rate for the past year? That means that all those technical decisions you made only 12 months ago are kinda worthless now. Can you see how desktop traffic stays around and watches your movie, just like you want them to, but that your mobile traffic is almost all gone a minute after they show up? I bet you can (and if you can’t, I’m betting your web team can show you).

*[how do I know that? Because we have access to 29,000 Texas HCPs and we send them bi-monthly newsletters and that’s what our email metrics say.]

If you embrace the idea that mobile is here to stay (and if you’re reading this on a tablet or phone, I think you do), you need to understand how people use these devices.

Allow me to direct your attention to a study that shows that tablet and phone users are more than happy to watch a ten minute video on these portable devices. The small screen is no deterrent. In fact, sitting on a train or waiting in line might be the only time your target has a chance to watch your epic video.

The problem isn't just the file format. It's not too much trouble to re-render the movie into some format other than Flash, but any interactions you’ve built in need to account for the fact that on a tiny screen, buttons need to be big and easy to use. And a mobile user is more likely to need that pause button. The rule of thumb, as described here is that the smaller the screen, the smaller the slice of time the device works best at filling. When they start watching your movie in line at Costco, they may need to come back and finish it later. Not accommodating that behavior means that HCPs just won’t come back.

We've also seen that emails opened by phones tend to get opened sooner. We think it's because most people carry their phones around with them everywhere and are happy to check their email dozens of times a day, rather than checking their email a few times a day at home on the laptop.

So are you ready to embrace mobile and walk the walk? Just don’t walk while texting.  Will you go full-mobile to get your eLearning video seen by more of your target list? Yes? That’s what I figured.
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