Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Video just works. But why?

According to a Forbes research report from a couple of years ago, respondents accessing B2B online content preferred video over white papers, case studies and live demos.

There’s no doubt that its impact has grown in stature since then. YouTube is now the number two search engine in the world.  The statistics keep rolling in support of video: people are five times more likely to click on a blog with video than one without (note to self!) and 88% more people share. 

With nine out of ten B2B buyers now saying, don’t call us we’ll find you, it’s more important than ever to make their online visits count. Visitors are likely to dwell an extra two minutes on your site if you have video content and are 64% more likely to purchase. I could go on.

So video works. But why?

Let’s ask a Doctor

In a quest to answer the question, Forbes cited Doctor Susan Weinschenk who claims the reason we respond so much better to video than written material is that, as humans, we are naturally drawn to other human faces as a means of understanding. Secondly she suggests that the human voice is a highly effective tool for converting dry information into palatable, meaningful content.  She claims emotions are contagious – just watch how quickly people in a room reflect each other’s body language.  But perhaps most interesting of all, she claims that movement naturally grabs attention. We’re wired that way. It’s in our DNA.

I totally get that. But we enjoy reading too, right? Well, yes but then we’re very selective about what we read. So in terms of getting attention, video just works. It may be a conduit to a more detailed document that requires the effort of reading but that’s OK. We’re beginning to understand better how to take people on a buying journey that suits the way they want to travel.

It’s only information

I think people often like video because it’s easier to assimilate information quickly. If it’s done well it uses a combination of emotional drivers (editing, music, colour) as well as well considered, concise information delivered clearly, sometimes supported with non-verbal cues like facial expressions, hand gestures or helpful supportive graphics.

People naturally retain more from a well-made video than a well written document.  Think back to a TV programme you watched a couple of weeks ago.  I’ll bet you can remember much of it as if it was yesterday. Now think back to something you read.  I’m guessing a little hazy?

Arguably reading takes more effort than video so perhaps the reason we all like it so much is that we’re intrinsically lazy. That may also be a human truth.

Let me ask you a question

But if I asked you why you like video I suspect the answer would be because it’s more entertaining. Despite the fact that we’re talking B2B here, we all like to be entertained.  If we didn’t we wouldn’t be bothered about getting inspiring speakers to our conferences; anyone would do as long as they read out the facts. We don’t stop being fun loving consumers the second we reach the office. In fact, the tedium of some working lives may make the prospect of being (legitimately) entertained even more attractive.

Of course, we may never truly understand why, for B2B marketing, video works. But one thing is a cert. It just does.

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