Know Your Video’s Objective

Feature image copyright Creative Commons 2.0.

A surefire way to produce an ineffective video is to have it try to do too many things. The more focused the objective of any video you produce for a client, the better. That’s why one of the first questions I ask each of my clients is

“What is the desired objective of the video you want us to produce for you?”

Inevitably I’ll usually get an answer like this:

“We want you to interview the key personnel and some of our best clients, then do a blah, blah, blah.”

This is NOT an objective. This is what you want the content to be. A true objective answers the question:

“What is it you want viewers to do, know and/or feel after viewing the video?”

Answer me that question, and then we’ll create a video geared towards achieving that objective.

It’s your role as the producer to help your clients understand this distinction. (Note: if you’re a production company hired by a marketing or ad agency on behalf of the client, assuming they know what they’re doing, they will already know the answer to the “objective” question before you have to ask).

Here are just a few common objectives you might expect a video to have:

  • Build confidence in a service or product purchase.
  • Tantalize the viewer to learn more about the product/service by exploring more of the website.
  • Reduce website bounce rate and increase time on site.
  • Educate the viewer about a product, service or cause.
  • Educate the viewer on how to do something or on a specific topic.
  • Encourage the viewer(s) to donate money or volunteer.
  • Lay the ground work for a presentation (e.g. a keynote, sermon, etc.)
  • Inspire the viewer to make a purchase (this is best for products or services that don’t have a high price tag. Rarely will a video alone be able to get someone to fork over a substantial amount of money.)

Why It Matters

Let’s say a church comes to you to make a video to help a local charity they support. A video geared to recruit volunteers from the community may look very different from a video designed to raise money from the congregation. The kind of people you interview and the questions you ask will be different for each.


As I mentioned at the top of the post. The more focused the video’s objective, the better. Yes, a video can accomplish many things. I recently shot a video for a client that will primarily be used as an employee recruiting piece, but the nature of the content will also help it serve as a promo for the company as well. But if you have a client who says they want their video to promote the business, recruit employees, raise money, teach people how to use their service, and serve as a tribute to the CEO…well, that’s a problem. (And heaven help you if on top of that they say they want it to go viral.)

So be sure to always ask the question and get the right answer.

2 thoughts on “Know Your Video’s Objective

  1. Great article. I always start out project conversations with clients with the question “why should this video exist?” It always surprises me when I don’t get an immediate answer, and tells me immediately that it is time to set expectations with the client. Sometimes they just don’t understand that their video about refrigerator maintenance isn’t going to go viral, no matter how it is shot or edited. But, if the goal is to efficiently give that information to 100 service reps across the globe who need that info, than 100 views would be considered 100 percent successful, and the video has earned its right to exist, satisfied the client and audience, and basically did what it was supposed to do.

    1. Thanks for the comment Bill. But I’m not so sure a fridge maintenance video can’t go viral. If Blendtec can make a blender video go viral, surely you can make a fridge video go viral. 😉

      I like your approach. I would add to your comment about what would make the fridge video successful. If on top of the views (i.e. everyone watches it all the way through at least once), there is some kind of metric around retention of info. How good was the video at communicating the message to the fridge mechanics and them remembering what they learned? You beef up your value as a producer if you weave that into your services as well. Knowing how adept you are at this business, you’re probably already doing something like that. 🙂

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