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Want more Online Viewers? Make it Shorter.

I've been teaching for a long time that too many churches and religious organizations are making a huge mistake by only posting full length sermons and teachings on either their website or podcasts. Certainly it's fine (and a good idea) to archive your live stream, media programming, and other content in full online. However, when it comes to people actually viewing it, it's an "ergonomic" thing. People will obviously watch full length TV programs, live streams, and movies on their mobile devices, but when it comes to your short films and video presentations, people generally want their web content in smaller "chunks" so they can digest it in reasonable bites.

For the most part, people view content on the web in short spurts - even when it comes to entertainment. So here's how to think about your online content:

1. There are places where people will view the longer form programming, so it's good your full content is online. As I mentioned, I will watch a movie from Netflix or Apple TV at home, or other movies on a plane or in a hotel room. But for the most part, I want much shorter pieces - particularly when it comes to church or ministry content.

2. Check out this article, from a decade ago. If it was true then, our attention spans are even shorter now. If you doubt me, read the book "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr.

3. At a recent technology summit I attended in Hollywood, the major digital players shared that they're seeing a maximum viewing time of 7 minutes for a video. Any longer, and you start losing significant numbers of viewers.

Believe me - it's worth it to have someone edit your longer content down into 5-7 minute segments. I suggest you do both - a full length copy and an edited version and offer your followers a choice. More people are likely to use the shorter clips, which makes your outreach far more effective.