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Are Video Instructable Entries Not As Effective? Answered

I recently created a video Instructable for a simple game you can play with your dog. I spent a great deal of time creating it, and making sure it was clear, entertaining and brief as possible. After originally posting it, I noticed that it was largely ignored. Aside from questioning if I created something of little interest, I pondered if the video might have appeared unoriginal, merely reposted from youtube.

I learned through communication with one Instructable staffer that a step-by step breakdown was preferable for feature consideration, etc... The video is under a minute, and so a step by step breakdown seemed to me to be a less efficient, if not a redundant means to provide instructions.

I'm now incredibly curious about the viability of videos as Instructables, or even included with an Instructable. 

According to my social media feed, tightly-edited instructional videos are all the rage.

The current stats for my example Instructable show about 1000 views, but less than 200 views (of any duration) for the video.

I can't help but think that the step-by step instructions are diverting all the attention from the video, where I focused all my effort, but I suspect there's more to this:

  • Are videos as Instructables less appealing?  
  • Has the (mute) auto-play function of other social media videos made click-to-play videos less appealing? 
  • Is the availability of a video, no matter the length, interpreted as more time-consuming to glean the basics from than a step-by-step instructions with images? 
  • Are videos not an ideal format for inclusion through the various formats of Instructables? (I had one person ask me for a link to the video that they somehow missed)

I ask these questions because the effort to create quality videos is not insignificant. Creating a quality Instructable in general is also no insignificant task. It would helpful to have a dialogue to better understand the role of videos on Instructables so that it might be understood better when or if to create video content for the site.

I created an even shorter video demo as a supplementary visual for another recent Instructable, and the views for it, are a teeny-tiny fraction of the total Instructable views, in spite of featuring it prominently and attractively in the intro.

What are your thoughts? 

8 Replies

Kiteman (author)2016-07-07

To my mind, videos are useful if you don't need to follow them - a "tightly edited" video runs too quickly for most people to work along with them, especially when you see the many video that include the boring bit sped up.

If you can watch the video, think, "I've got that", then go do it, you're fine.

However, a step-by-step allows people to work along at their own speed, go quickly back and forth between parts of the project, zoom into photos, and generally not feel so pressured.

There are other benefits that are not so obvious;

> You can't print out a video to stop your computer getting damaged in your workshop, to keep cake mix off your tablet, or to scribble notes onto.

> For mobile users, videos devour data allowances.

> Many users live outside areas with 4G signals or fibre-optic cable access, and videos (especially slick HD videos) take ages to watch through buffers.

Having said that, videos do have their place in an Instructable to illustrate techniques that are hard (or boring) to describe in text* or to show the project in action**. The latter can also be used to promote the main write-up, sharing it via social media.

* https://www.instructables.com/id/Snake-Lashing/

** https://www.instructables.com/id/Double-Barrel-Sho...

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davidandora (author)Kiteman2016-07-07

I completely agree with you regarding anything more than the most basic instructions, or perhaps as an introduction/preview to a step-by-step Instructable. I had specifically chosen to make a video for my dog game because it seemed to me to be the most efficient and entertaining method to teach a very simple game- certainly less involved for a user than a step-by-step. I think that I just didn't have a good understanding of Instructable user's video habits, or their place on the site. I don't think I'll be making any more videos unless they are helpful additions to a step-by step format.

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davidandora (author)2016-07-06

Thanks for these viewpoints! It hadn't occurred to me that perhaps an inherant quality people enjoy of Instructables is the static step-by-step aspect. There are so many great, simple instruction videos surfacing in the past year or so (recipes are one example) which very effectively convey simple instructions or a process in under a minute, but perhaps Instructables isn't the platform for them.

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Lorddrake (author)davidandora2016-07-07

keep the videos, you are doing a good job on them. Just add individual steps to go along with the video as well.

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davidandora (author)Lorddrake2016-07-07

Thanks for the compliment. I'll keep that in mind. The dog game video took more effort than it's limited viewings, so I'm not especially motivated to repeat that.

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Hi David,

If I open an instructable and it just a video i usually will not even look at it, Just because many videos are so poorly done, and 9 minutes of a 10 minute video is, "look at me in my other videos" "don't forget to like me" " look at me rambling on about how great this video is" " thank you to me my mom and everyone who helped" "oh Ive lost my scissors and now you have to watch me find them" or advertisements on the screen covering the vital bit of info I want.

I would much rather have a quick read of the steps, then decide if i like what has been presented and then watch the video.

Saying that your video is nicely done, but you will pick up more views if you had some steps there too.

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Lorddrake (author)2016-07-06

Your video is very well done.

Until recently I have not used videos in my IBLEs.

When I do use a video, it is to augment the step by step instruction I provided, not replace them.

Like Scottchy said .. if I am looking for a video tutorial .. I'm heading to youtube first.

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Scottchy (author)2016-07-06

My two-cents on video instructables.

I enjoy reading instructables in step-by-step format and that I can't say that I've ever watched a video instructable. I believe that there may be a place to show a video to help describe one of the steps in an instructable that is hard to describe or show in a photo, but not a video for the whole instructable itself. The beauty of instructables.com is the step-by-step creation of a project making it easy to go back and review previous steps and see how something comes together. Having to navigate back and forth in a video is of very little appeal to me and I'd imagine to others as well.

To be completely honest, if I was looking for a video tutorial on something, I'd save some clicks, turn straight to youtube and skip instructables all-together.

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