why so many videos fail

When a video fails, it’s a big let down. To the business, and to us. As video producers, there’s nothing more discouraging than creating videos that never get seen, more disappointing than producing videos that don’t deliver on their promise- videos that don’t make a difference.

For business owners and marketers, the problem is that their efforts to create and distribute video isn’t producing the outcomes they hoped for. And it’s costing them money.

Why is that? Why do some videos fall flat, while others catch on and resonate with people?

This question continues to baffle organizations who spend their limited marketing dollars on videos that don’t get results. This post is intended to shed light on what they’re doing wrong, in order to help people avoid making those mistakes and ultimately see better returns from the videos they create.

A Paradigm Shift

We’ve redefined what success and failure mean to us when it comes to video. For years, we measured a video’s success by the client’s satisfaction, and our own, with how it turned out. But we discovered that there’s more to a video’s success than how we feel about it.

While we still aim for happy clients and strive to create work we’re proud of, those aren’t our primary indicators of success. Today, we define a video’s success by how it performs for the client- if it generates the outcome they were hoping for.

Most of the time, when consulting with potential clients, we’re surprised to discover that there is no tangible goal in mind when creating video content. There may be a goal, but it hasn’t been linked to any overarching business objectives. They’re essentially creating video for the sake of creating video, for whatever reason.

Why Videos Fail

We’ve seen videos that look amazing, yet never gain traction online. And we’ve also seen poorly executed videos that see wild success.

Surprisingly, there’s more that contributes to a video’s success than the video itself. There’s a number of reasons why so many videos fail to produce the results they were intended to.

Here’s the short list:

  • Rushed execution

A lack of strategy and planning leads to mediocre videos. And mediocre videos just don’t cut it.  As urgent as it may feel to create a certain video for your organization, don’t rush it. If your timeline, from idea to finished product, is less than four weeks, beware. Do it right, and extend you’re timeline a few more weeks. Slowing down to think about the big picture- why you’re making the video, what you hope the outcome will be, and how it can best reach your audience- will increase the odds that your video will succeed.

  • Poor distribution

This is the reason great videos get no views. They’re buried somewhere on a website, sitting idle on a YouTube channel with no subscribers, or posted once (organically) on a social media page with a few hundred followers. It doesn’t matter how awesome your video is if nobody ever sees it. And without a solid distribution plan, it won’t be seen.

  • Too many messages

Videos that try to communicate too much end up losing engagement. People watch the first few seconds, check out, and move on. Trying to explain all 25 features of your product in one video isn’t a good idea. Nobody wants to watch a 9 minute video online, unless they’re sitting down to watch Netflix. Less is more.

  • Inappropriate budget

For organizations that can utilize their internal marketing staff to create video content, a low budget or no budget makes sense. Especially if the content is produced for internal communications, or if the video is solving a minor problem. If video production is being contracted out, or if the video is solving a larger issue, shoestring budgets can sabotage the objective at hand. Here’s our rule of thumb- The bigger the problem you’re solving, the bigger your budget should be. In other words, your investment should reflect the return you’re hoping to see.

The Common Denominator

Ultimately, videos fail because they lack a holistic approach. For any video to be effective, these three elements need to be aligned:

  1. Video Strategy: This is where your video game plan is crafted to reach your goals
  2. Video Production: This is where your video is filmed and edited
  3. Video Distribution: This is where your video is published and gets seen by your audience

If your strategy is lacking, the video won’t produce the results you need. If your production is lacking, the video won’t resonate with your target audience. And If your distribution is lacking, the video won’t be seen by the right people, or anyone at all.

Our Framework For Effective Video Marketing

Now that you know what causes videos to fail, learn more about our framework for creating effective video content.

If you’re unsure about your strategy, you may consider seeking help to align your video content strategy with your business goals. We’d love to help. 


Schedule a free, no-pressure consultation to discuss your objectives and how we might partner with your business to accomplish them with effective video content.

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