In “The Importance of Video,” Part 3 of our 4-part Webinar Series “Engineering the Recruiting Process,” Sports Recruits Co-Founder Matt Wheeler discussed how vital video is to a successful recruiting process.

In the Webinar, he touches upon how video has grown to become a necessity in the process, how having highlight reels and full games drive engagement with college coaches and how a proper distribution plan is a key to the process that often goes overlooked.

You can watch the video below, and also read some of the interesting takeaways from the presentation.

Takeaway One: Video Is Not a Luxury but a Necessity

What It Means: Especially in the past five years, video has exploded onto the recruiting scene. While it was always important to have a highlight reel or game tape, often this was a labor-intensive process that took a backseat to live action.

However, thanks to advances in technology, the proliferation of recruiting events and film-focused companies, video is now more accessible and malleable as ever. The proof is in the numbers: In the past year on our platform, college coaches have watched over 240,000 hours – over 1,000,000 minutes – of streaming video. That is 2.52 years in 12 months.

While this is certainly eye-popping (sorry to use that phrase, Game of Thrones fans), it should be seen as an opportunity: You can be seen by a college coach anytime, anywhere year-round. While attending recruiting events is certainly important, it’s also notable that you can be seen on a random October Tuesday as well.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 11.51.06 AM

As such, it is important to be cognizant in building a library of video to use for your highlight reel. Ensure prior to events or high school games you are asking coaches if there will be video, or if you need to be responsible on your own. Nothing is worse than looking for video after-the-fact, so keep that in mind!

Having video all leads to building that 3-5 minute highlight video, one that showcases your best attributes as a player. Remember, college coaches are looking for athletes – not just skills. So be sure to show things that highlight your versatility.

The average viewing time for a highlight reel on our platform is 3:18 – which amounts to about 15-20 clips.

From the Presentation: “Think of the recruiting process as a competitive job market. Your highlight reel & video are your resume. Without it, there’s no good way for an employer to know what skills you can bring to a company.”

Takeaway Two: Good Distribution Is a Big Part of Video

What It Means: Having video is the vital first step to creating a highlight reel, which serves as your athletic resume to a college coach.

But having a highlight reel is not going to help unless you have a clear strategy of how to get it in front of college coaches. Consider these two scenarios:

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 5.10.56 PM

Scenario A – “Spray and Pray”

-Families tweet out their highlight reel or host it on Youtube, Vimeo or any number of hosting sites.
-While those are fine, they may not see a return, because they are just being tossed into the ether.
-Maybe this reel is sent via email to a college coach. While this is a great step, you don’t know if coaches are looking, or if they are interested. It’s akin to throwing a pebble in the ocean.

Scenario B is Precision Strike

-While this scenario is specific to our platform, it should at least inform you on how important it is to target the right schools and have a plan.
-You research schools and have a solid target list.
-Send that school your information via your profile and all of the data is tracked. You know who is looking and when, and it allows you to make an informed decision going forward.

While we believe in our site (obviously), the point is simple: Having the video absent a strategy of distribution is stopping the race halfway through. ‘

From the Presentation: “We always liken the situation to a musician: You may have a great song, but if you aren’t able to get anyone to hear it, they will never know. It’s the same concept here – you may be a great player, but you need to get your game in front of a college coach to show them.”

Takeaway Three: Video Increases Total Engagement

What It Means: Having video is the important foundation, and having a distribution plan to get it to college coaches is the engine that makes the process move. But is it worth it?

The numbers point to a resounding yes. We took members in the Class of 2015 on our profile, and put them into two groups: Those with video and those without. Everything else about their makeup – sending messages, complete profiles – was the same.

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 5.09.47 PM

Here is what we found: Having video resulted in 4.1X the exposure with college coaches. Breaking this number down, it makes sense: Providing a coach with a highlight reel gives them something to get to know you as an athlete. You are not telling them about you; you are showing them.

From the Presentation: “Video is a pain. It takes time, and you can’t snap your fingers and make it happen. But it works, and the numbers behind having it pretty clearly correlate to engagement. It’s simple: Having video makes you accessible and thus better able to be recruited all of the time.”