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4 Reasons Why Online Video Is Compelling & Persuasive



Why is online video so compelling compared to text?

I’ve been in my video studio working on my new online video course (Designing For Engagement). It’s a lot of work to create my online video courses (through, but it’s also fun to work on them, and it’s exciting to have people taking and enjoying the courses.

It got me thinking again, about why online video is so compelling as a medium, and so while I was in the studio I made this short video “4 Reasons Why Online Video Is Persuasive”:

Here are the 4 reasons:
#1: The Fusiform Facial area makes us pay attention to faces
#2: Voice conveys rich information
#3: Emotions are contagious
#4: Movement grabs attention

What do you think? Do you find online video more engaging than reading text? Why do you think it is (or isn’t)?


42 responses to “4 Reasons Why Online Video Is Compelling & Persuasive”

  1. […] Dr. Weinschenk did a video on 4 Reasons Why Online Video is Compelling & Persuasive.  Always interested in what other experts have found with regard to Video and UX, I took the […]

  2. Linda Avatar

    I usually don’t watch videos because I like peace and quiet. Sometimes I watch them long enough to get the gist of what they’re about and then stop them. Short is best!

  3. Nils Weinander Avatar
    Nils Weinander

    I very rarely view videos on the web, for a number of simple reasons:

    * Viewing a video takes too long time, compared to reading a text. I can speed read a text, skimming, skipping paragraphs, in order to find out if I want to read it more closely. I can’t do that with a video.

    * I find it easier to concentrate on a text as reading is acting, while viewing a video or listening to audio is passive.

    * Most of the web (well, the parts that I come across) is in english, which is not my native language. I read fluently, but sometimes miss out words in spoken english, not the least as my hearing isn’t that acute.

    So, for me, text and images rule, I mostly ignore video and audio.

    1. Lee Caleca Avatar
      Lee Caleca

      I tend to agree with Nils with the exception of how-to videos. Reading allows for skimming to the meat of the offer. With video, I use the slide to move the video along more quickly but there’s a chance of missing something I can’t “see”.

    2. Micah Castorina Avatar

      Everyone is wired differently, but a good video with high quality audio that is compelling will captivate more people longer than still images and text. For someone to say video and audio is passive ONLY; has never seen a great movie that draws you in to care about what is going on. Even great commercials can do this. To show how a thing is built is often more interesting than reading about it. You cannot convey a business owners passion for their craft the same way as reading an “about me” page on a website. That’s just how I see it. I am also biased as I am a wedding cinematographer.

  4. Sveta Avatar

    Videos are of no use to millions of deaf and hard of hearing people if they are not captioned. Auto captions are not of acceptable quality and need to be cleaned up to include proper punctuation, speaker identificaitons, sound descriptions, etc.

  5. Sveta Avatar

    Please read more about the importance of captioning as universal access on my website –

  6. Sveta Avatar

    Susan – videos mean nothing to millions of deaf and hard of hearing people if they are not accessible via quality captions. Auto captions are not of acceptable quality – quality captions are as important (with proper punctuation, speaker identificaitons, sound descriptions, etc.) as quality speech. Would you please make all of your videos accessible via captions? Thanks!

  7. Frank Avatar

    Video is more risky than text.

    I don’t know what I’ll get when I click a video. Pre-roll ad? Rambling nonsense? Bandwidth drought wait.

    So I inevitably look at text.

    So for example instead of spending 5 minutes watching the above video I simply spent 5 seconds reading the bottom four points, then googled Fusiform Facial and spent another 20 seconds assessing its relevance.

    I rest my case.

    1. Sveta Avatar

      Totally agree with you, Frank. That’s the reason why it’s required that videos have both captions and a HTML transcript below it – there are millions of deaf/hoh people who cannot hear audio and also there are many people who prefer to skim text than listen to audio all way (due to various reasons including but not limited to the bandwidth issue you mentioned).

  8. […] it makes sense, use audio and/or video instead of just relying on text. (See my blog post on why video is so […]

  9. […] If you want to find out more about Susan’s studies you can watch her presentation here. […]

  10. […]  Interesting Right? Check out Dr Susan’s presentation more in detail here. […]

  11. Rob Eppolito Avatar
    Rob Eppolito

    I wonder how many people who don’t like videos…. watched the video on this page. I’ll bet it’s close to 100%. This video has attracted feedback and comments. It seems to be working to me :) Check the stats on video is a very effective way to convey any message, especially a marketing message.

  12. Rick Avatar

    It seemed like a good idea so I came here from UX Magazine, but I found myself almost immediately scrolling down to read comments while the video played.
    I couldn’t get over the sterile atmosphere and the echo in the audio so I left.

    1. firefly Avatar

      That’s exactly what I did. I pressed play, lost interest immediately and then started reading the comments.

      I rarely watch video on the web. I actually get annoyed if I click a link and it’s a video without transcript. I immediately leave the site.

      I read first. If the text catches my interest I may possibly play the video as well just to see if I can get anything more out of the video. But no text, or text doesn’t inspire me then I don’t press that play button.

  13. […] Research suggests that watching a video allows us to use deep-rooted evolutionary observation skills to gather far more information than we could from text alone. When we’re able to get information in a way that’s very natural to us, we feel comfortable. When we’re comfortable with how we get information, we like to keep on getting it that way. […]

  14. […] So what is it exactly that makes online videos so compelling and persuasive? Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D,  author of The Brain Lady Blog, writes about psychology, brain science and understanding how people think and behave. A consultant to brands like Amazon, Disney and Walmart, she answers the question by listing her four core reasons that explain why people are so drawn to videos and why they’re such a powerful f…. […]

  15. […] is a great video you can watch that details why the medium is so powerful. Here are the […]

  16. Carl Gitchel Avatar

    Wow! Thanks so much for explaining the science behind what I have known instinctively for years—audio and video capture one’s attention (and convey more sensory input) than text alone can do.

    I am sorry there are blind/deaf people who can’t experience the utility of this. I understand there are those who simply prefer to read static text.

    However, the numbers are clear. Web material presented in an audio or video format (of decent quality of course,) gets a much higher response from the masses than does static text.

    I look forward to my first copy of your newsletter, Doctor!

  17. […] #1: The Fusiform Facial area makes us pay attention to faces – this is an actual brain function that hard-wires us to use the human face as a gathering point for information and believability. […]

  18. Fernando Ziemer Avatar

    One of the best benefits of video is the ability to simplify complex/lengthy information into more “digestible” information as Ms. Weinschenk did in this video blog. A prime example I know of that is Derek Halpern from Social Triggers. On his blog he summarizes scientific research on human behavior and consumer psychology into short 4-6 minute videos. I find the take aways from his videos extremely valuable since I don’t have time to read scientific research.

    Thank you for all the great information Susan, your work is certainly appreciated!

  19. […] Humans are hardwired to like video thanks to its use of moving images, emotional information and ability to convey tone of voice (Weinschenk Institute). […]

  20. Mike O'Horo Avatar

    I agree with the posters who said that video is too slow. I can read a paragraph in a fraction of the time it takes any presenter to speak it.

  21. John Avatar

    Sight, Sound & Motion-mirror the fundamental elements of Human Existence.

  22. […] Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research has discovered that watching one minute of video has the same impact as reading almost 2 million words. In some parts of America, over half of all internet use is video. It’s also more memorable. […]

  23. […] Weinschenk, Ph.D., affectionately known as “the Brain Lady,” writes and blogs about how to apply psychology and brain science research to understand how people think, work and […]

  24. […] Susan Weinshenk, Ph. D. and consultant to brands like Disney and Amazon, explains that video appeals to humans in four distinct and important ways: […]

  25. […] you want to get all science-y about it, behavioural psychologist, Susan Weinschenk, has a theory of why humans are drawn to video […]

  26. Malcolm Ansell Avatar

    Interestingly, You Tube, Facebook Video and all the other video platforms still appear to have millions of hours watched, daily – and video content search will dominate the web in the next couple O years!
    I could be wrong, but it still appears as if people like it!
    Thanks for the valuable insights – yes I am a video marketer.

  27. jeff thomson Avatar

    we can easily explain the large content in short through the video that’s why online video marketing best in marketing

  28. Alan Cox Avatar

    This article is spot on. I am a video producer and understand the comments from people who like to read the text.

    I also found the audio to be a little off-putting but the value of the content overrode that mild annoyance.

    The type of video determines the length. It is also the content that determines how long people will watch a video for.

    Videos need to use all of the points Susan makes. It isn’t what we think about a video we make, its what our prospective customers think.

    The headline, short description will attract the right viewers. For example, the headline “4 Reasons Why Online Video Is Compelling & Persuasive” got me immediately.

    Because I was interested the rather poor audio and framing of the video didn’t matter too much to me. They were a mild distraction.

  29. […] than it does text. According to Behavioural Scientist Susan Weinschenk, the four main reasons why online video is so compelling and persuasive […]

  30. […] Humans are hardwired to like video thanks to its use of moving images, emotional information and ability to convey tone of voice (Weinschenk Institute). […]

  31. […] Video is one of the most effective communication tools in today’s digital world. We’ve talked before about how video enhances learning and retention*, and in her research, behavioral psychologist Dr. Susan Weinschenk identified four specific reasons why online video is so much more effective than text. […]

  32. […] Video is one of the most effective communication tools in today’s digital world. We’ve talked before about how video enhances learning and retention*, and in her research, behavioral psychologist Dr. Susan Weinschenk identified four specific reasons why online video is so much more effective than text. […]

  33. maria garner Avatar

    Video marketing is a trend now I sawed dozen of Animation video on social media and another platform.

  34. […] With videos, you can enjoy awesome organic reach. This is why many marketers are adding them into their social media advertising campaigns. Here’s the thing, customers are tired of seeing generic ads that lead them to landing pages, etc. With videos, you can easily get more leads as compared to a long page of text, videos are engaging, full of visuals and appeals to our natural tendency towards moving things. […]

  35. […] quite receptive to features unique to video. According to psychologist Susan Weinschenk, there are four key reasons why video is compelling: our brain’s wiring makes the sound of the human voice, the sight of the […]

  36. […] Videos are more compelling than text alone. Susan WeinSchenk Ph.D. gives four reasons for this. First, people tend to pay attention to faces. Second, the voice alone […]

  37. […] same trend is visible in eLearning. After all, the human brain is hardwired to engage better with real conversations (where the tone of voice and moving images/gestures create a multi-dimensional experience). And […]

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