With new technology such as Google Glass taking advantage of eye tracking technology, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the online world would follow suite. Now, Cube26 has designed a new iOS video app called LookAway that automatically pauses YouTube videos when the user looks away from the screen. The video automatically resumes when the user looks back at the screen.
LookAway works in two ways. First, people focus on natural eye movements. This allows the viewer to shift their focus point throughout the screen without the video pausing. One of LookAway’s other features it the ability to mute. All the user has to do is raise a finger to their lips in the “shh” gesture and the video will mute but keep playing. These two features in LookAway could start the beginning of a trend that changes how we create online video. Even if it isn’t a revolutionary app, it’s still an important reminder about how important it is to keep viewer attention throughout a video.
As more online content keeps shifting towards short-form content, it won’t take long for video content to adjust as well. Already we have the growing popularity of the 6-second Vine, but even professionally produced marketing videos might have to change their techniques.
Here’s the situation: LookAways and eye tracking technology could actually make it harder to keep viewers. Think of it this way. Imagine 10 years from now: Perhaps a viewer is watching a YouTube video and all they have to do is look over to a related video and blink in order to switch videos. In other words, if you don’t capture and hold their attention, they can literally leave your video in just a blink of an eye.
Even if this isn’t the case yet, LookAway is clearly preparing a future where this is possible. Fortunately, there are various techniques that can be incorporated into the video creation process to increase viewer attention throughout the video. Learning this lesson from LookAway will keep users looking at your video.
To keep make your videos more engaging:
- Use quicker editing cuts. This is especially true on YouTube, where the video culture drives on quick edits. One of the reasons Gangnam Style became such a viral sensation was due to the quick video editing that repeatedly flashed catchy visuals in the viewers eye.
- Keep it short. Of course, 30 seconds are the most viewed videos on YouTube, and viewer attention rates drop dramatically after the two-minute mark. However, if you’re been practicing your Vine posting skills, creating a 30-second video should be a piece of cake after 6-second Vines.
- Frontload. Since viewer attention falls off the longer it gets, be sure to put the best footage at the beginning. Even if this isn’t enough to grab the attention of some viewers, you’ve at least made a positive impression of your brand that will stick with them.
- Make it funny. Comedy is the largest niche on YouTube. Videos that make people laugh also have a tendency to go viral faster and wider than other videos. This will also make your brand more likeable. Almost every industry can incorporate some sort of humor into their content.