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 Udemy.com), 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)?

Top 10 Best Usability, and UX Books You Should Read
How To Get People To Do Stuff: #4 -- Does Money Make You Mean?

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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. 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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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. 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).

  6. 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 ComScore.com. video is a very effective way to convey any message, especially a marketing message.

  7. 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. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. Pingback: VIDEO |
  11. 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.

  12. 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.

Leave a Reply to Micah Castorina Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *