“Everything in moderation, including moderation,” said Oscar Wilde.

Personally, I love butter, and I don’t do a great job of moderating my consumption of it. There was a time when society revolted against butter and… “Behold! Margarine will save us all.” But, eventually, trans-fat got its time under a microscope and butter didn’t look so bad anymore. This is the way of the world – the yin and the yang, the swinging pendulum.

Trends in video are no exception. In the last decade, no aspect of video has seen more back-and-forth than production quality – how “good” a video is.

The introduction of HD video… everywhere!

In 2007, producing a video for marketing or communications almost always meant hiring a professional. Videos were big, expensive, and time-consuming, but we were usually rewarded with a “good” video – one of high production quality.

Everything changed when a little, pocket-sized recording device called “The Flip” stole our hearts and started a revolution in user-generated video. The Flip turned into more of “A Fling” once our smartphones came standard with HD recording capabilities. But, the switch had already been flipped (get it?) and user-generated video started appearing everywhere, even in our marketing and communications departments. “I can make my own video,” went from out of the question to all in a day’s work, and the volume of video shared online, proportional to the volume of video producers, skyrocketed.

Produce less, but get more?

For the next several years, the pendulum swung, and we all got bit by the content bug. More blog posts, more videos, more email – this is how we designed our marketing and communications strategies. For most of us, it worked. Appetites were high due to new channels and technologies keeping us hungry for fresh content. But, for how long? If the amount of content we’re creating is increasing while our attention spans are getting shorter (at least, that’s what we hear – I have a different opinion on attention spans that I’ll save for another article), something’s gotta give, right?

For many marketers and communicators, it already has. I recently spoke with a communications professional at a very large, global organization who told me that he and his team were cutting way back on the number of videos they produce (previously in the hundreds) to only a handful (less than a dozen) each year. His decision was prompted by less engagement on lower-quality, less-compelling videos and much higher engagement on high-quality, story-driven video content.

Is the solution as simple as that? Just go back to producing fewer, higher quality videos? Not entirely. Here’s why: the viewer and the viewing have both changed. Viewers are now accustomed to viewing vastly different types of video content in completely different ways.

Videos on Facebook look and sound different than videos on Snapchat or videos on a website. And, they should. Vertical video has gone from totally taboo to becoming the exclusive style of video in its own international film festival. In the same way that Walt Disney embraced television when other studio heads feared it as competition, we should embrace the variety of ways we can create and share video content.

“Now, more than ever, we measure the success of video by the way it engages and connects us to the people who watch it.”

Looking for something practical?

Good, I like practical. For big impact, high-level, wide audience content – go big and spend the time and money to produce something exceptionally “good” instead of doing it yourself. For example, produce a deep-diving, documentary-style short film on your organization’s culture that connects with and inspires customers, employees, and stakeholders.

On the flip-side, for simpler, more frequent messaging – don’t be afraid to experiment and even try DIY. For example, use live video (like Facebook Live or a more casual Instagram Story) to broadcast a one-time event for those who couldn’t attend.

The bottom line is that video quality isn’t measured in resolution or even in number of views anymore. Now, more than ever, we measure the success of video by the way it engages and connects us to the people who watch it.