The “Why” Behind Video Success

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The “Why” Behind Video Success

Online video marketing is effective, plain and simple.

In a 2010 report from Cisco, video traffic accounted for 30% of all Internet traffic, and that number is predicted to increase to 90% by the year 2013. Websites that use video are more likely to engage their targeted audience, experience higher traffic and conversion rates, and increase their brand loyalty. With over 3 billion videos being viewed on YouTube daily, and YouTube accounting for only 40% of all online video traffic, the estimated impact of video to the daily web-goer is staggering.

So why is video so successful? Why would people rather click on a video link to learn about a product than read about it, even if the time spent viewing the video is longer than reading the written description?

There are a myriad of reasons as to the success of online video in general, but for the purposes of time and length I’m going to focus on two: the idea of story, and the concept of the pictorial superiority effect (pictures).

We’ll start with the idea of story. The majority of communication in our daily lives is told in the form of stories: you wake up in the morning and tell your family about the strange dream you had last night, your boss tells you what went on during the conference call with a client, or you tell your coworker about how the guy in a fancy red sports car cut you off on your way to work. All of these are stories, and are common ways we process and store information. Stories contain large amounts of information divided up into pieces that our brains process as chunks of smaller units of information so that we can better perceive the event as a whole. This process is called event structure perception.

Stories involve many parts of the brain. They contain characters with whom we can relate and experiences that pull at our emotions. As an audience, doesn’t our interest sharpen when we hear a speaker say, “Let me tell you a story…” The words have a magical influence because of how our brains are wired to process information. Now, bring into play the fact that all videos are created to tell a story. They contain information in the form of characters, pictures, and words, and break them down into parts that our brains naturally take in with a beginning, middle, and end. Suddenly, the words “Click here to play” have the same magical quality as those of “Let me tell you a story.” Our attention is now hooked and our mind engaged.

Moving along to the second reason as to the success of online video is the concept of pictorial superiority effect, which refers to the fact that about half of our brain is given over to visual processing. This means that we are more likely to remember something that we have seen visually. When we read or listen to somebody talk, our mind processes words into meaning, and then into images. When you pause to think about it, we are visually processing the world around us nearly every second of the day. It is easy then to see why video has such an impact on our brain – it is talking directly to it!

So, when you combine the visual, sensory experience of picture, with the fundamental experience of a story, it is no wonder at how effective video has become as an internet marketing tool.

7 Responses

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