If a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, What is a Video Worth?

If a 30-second commercial is rendered at 30 frames per second, then based on the unscientific assessment that a picture is “worth a thousand words,” the commercial would be worth almost a million words! What is it that makes video such a valuable tool for communication, and why is it that it has such a significant impact on websites?

How Does Video Differ From Photos?

Humans have highly developed means of communicating with one another and understanding the world around us, and visual stimuli are only one element the brain will process. Nonverbal cues such as body language and environment are just as important, if not more so, when the brain processes information.

Video helps to satisfy the brain’s desire to understand more about something because it creates a sense of dimension, has movement, incorporates sounds and allows viewers to see nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and emotions. In contrast, static images present a subject in a narrow perspective, providing few additional clues to meaning.

Why Does Video Work?

You have probably learned about the different styles of learning, such as visual, auditory and kinesthetic. One of the reasons that video is such an effective medium of communication is that it utilizes both visual and auditory elements. Educators have long known that the most effective teaching styles incorporate both styles of communication, which is why a wise college professor will use lecture, reading and live presentations to teach concepts to students.

Although video cannot provide the opportunity for a person to engage in kinesthetic learning, it can touch on this by showing a person interacting with an environment or demonstrating how to do something, which is almost as effective.

Video flows and moves, which makes the subject of the video more believable. Consider the world around you, especially Mother Nature. Few things are static; there is always wind, changing light patterns, movement and sound. Our senses have evolved to expect movement, and video helps to satisfy this expectation unlike a static image or words on a page.

Finally, people fundamentally do not care for instructional reading. We read to learn, and it is effective but not exactly enjoyable for most people — with the exception of recreational reading. We would rather look at pictures or watch videos because we love color and we love for our senses to be stimulated.

How Effective is Video on a Website?

Thousands of studies around the world have shown that video increases conversions, improves brand reputation and results in customers buying products. The Online Publishers Association (OPA) has conducted several studies that analyze the effects of video on business. In the results of a study released in 2007, the OPA noted that 52% of people who watched a video online took some sort of action after seeing the video.

  • 31% visited the marketer’s website
  • 22% thought more about the information
  • 15% visited a brick-and-mortar store
  • 16% of those viewers ended up making a purchase

More recently, Business Insider reported that 66% of people who watch an online video more than once would eventually make a purchase related to that video. The article also mentions that 25% of shoppers who use videos in their research will make multiple purchases. Ponder those stats for a moment and consider how strategically placed video could help improve your sales and repeat business.

Where Can you use Video?

Video is especially effective on landing pages, social media, product listings and in email marketing. For landing pages, introductory or demonstration/how-to videos tend to be the most effective. For social media, videos that are amusing or visually stunning tend to get more shares than commercials or promos. Product listings benefit from demonstrations and how-to videos. Email marketing can use any of the videos above, which are an effective means of increasing click-through rates.

Video is the future

Video is mutually beneficial to both the producer and the viewer. For the producer, it results in more engagement and higher conversion rates than static images. For the viewer, the experience is more enjoyable, engaging and educational because it utilizes both visual and auditory elements. In addition, video allows the brain to process nonverbal cues, which drives engagement. In short, the video is more natural and realistic, and therefore the most powerful way that you can currently get your message out there.