Why Online Videos Are Better Than Other Media Types

September 30, 2015

We create and promote explainer videos, but what is it that makes them work? Is it simply because their format is better than other media types?

Do they really sell more?

We conducted a collective research project to find out why explainer videos are superior to other formats, and want to now share those findings in this article. Our hope is to help you better understand the importance of using digital videos in your marketing plan.

Reason 1: Other Medias Are Often Ignored And Are Not Relevant

Did you ever feel that your conventional marketing plans are becoming less and less relevant?

Above the line advertising, such as billboard and TV broadcasts, are eating into your marketing budget very quickly.

While people still watch Game of Thrones on Sunday night, we found that most viewers switched to another TV channel during commercial breaks, or even left the room. Binge watching is popular because commercials on TV are considered as annoying as mosquitos in summer. Therefore, some people just wait until the regular television season ends and then download the show they want to watch.

Conventional marketing is not the best way to spend your marketing budget – unless you have millions or billions of dollars in that budget. Professional marketing agencies have shifted their focus to online video advertising because these are more effective than TV ads. Digital videos are less expensive, generate more views, and with the right strategy, will reach more people.

Digital videos present a great opportunity for marketers, as online viewers are receptive to ads (particularly when they’re seen during documentary, sci-fi and talk shows). In addition, according to an IAB study conducted by Nielsen, that particular demographic is growing among hard-to-reach viewers like adults 18-34 and light TV watchers.

Reason 2: Online Videos Can Help Your Marketing Campaign Reach More People

When assessing the market for videos, marketing numbers tell the story well. More users are watching more videos, with more frequency than ever. According to the latest report of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), only two types of online advertising have grown in revenue every year since 2010: mobile advertising and online videos.

Moreover, as content providers push to put more videos online, online consumption habits will follow. The action/reaction cycle is real: People watch videos; content producers make more videos and more people watch those videos. Since videos aren’t platform-dependent (mobile versus desktop), the trend toward increased engagement is likely to accelerate.

Reason 3: The Massive Growth of the Internet Makes Other Media Types Obsolete

The idea of primetime is somewhat dead. People are still consuming content, but the desire to watch it and pay for it on their own terms, based on individual wants and needs, has caused a shift in behavior.

People have gone from actually sitting in front of a television to view shows when they air to recording those shows to watch at their convenience. They also avoid commercials whenever possible.

This has led to the growth of Internet streaming video services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon and YouTube, all of which are easily accessible from a variety of devices 24/7.

We’re not saying television is dead – considering its reach and the fact that everyone still watches it – it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. However, there is a shift in advertising that you should be aware of when planning advertising budgets: moving some television advertising dollars into online advertising, specifically digital video ads.

TV commercials are able to measure only the effects of a part of that advertising – such as viewer numbers, or by tracking the number of calls to a tracking number.

Online videos are able to capture so much more rich data – who, when, where and how – and put the data at your fingertips. Platforms such as YouTube and Wistia provide plenty of dashboard data about video metrics such as views, minutes watched, likes, shares, subscribers, etc.

The biggest success advantage that online videos hold over traditional TV is the ability to track clicks and engagement with your website. With TV, it’s impossible to track how many users watched your commercial then went to your website and bought your product.

Online video ads enable you to see clearly how users interact with your site after they engaged in your advertisement.

Reason 4: Looking At Video Helps Viewers Retain Most of the Information

By now you must have been realized that videos are better than other media types.

Research found that looking at videos helps viewers to retain 80% of the information, while reading text articles only allows for a retention rate of 20%.

The Internet changes the way we think, read, and remember. Hypermedia makes it harder for us to pay attention to one particular item; before we finish focusing on one thing, our attention moves to another dazzling message. Videos grab the viewer’s attention for longer periods of time than mere text or audio, so those viewers can absorb more.

This video shows the reason why videos are better than other media forms.

Reason 5: Explainer Videos Explain An Idea Much Better Even Than Verbal Explanations

Direct explanation is not the most effective communication. Did you know why?

Imagine a professor explaining how to start a computer to a group of folks who speak a different language. Since his explanation is given in words they don’t understand, it’s certainly not the best way to teach his students how to turn on the computer.

Compare it with how an explainer video shares information – visually with straightforward directions.

Videos are the perfect format for quickly grabbing a busy audience’s attention. It enables strong storytelling in a short but memorable format that viewers can enjoy—and marketers can measure.

Grabbing the attention of potential customers is more important than ever in a world where buyers do most of their own research online before ever contacting a vendor. We have to cut through the noise, and engage our prospects with content that entertains, inspires, and educates them about what we do and who we are, including the culture of our companies.

Reason 6: Online Videos Have A Better Chance To Get Viral Results From Social Sharing

The basic elements of highly successful online videos are really just fundamental principles of human interaction, and you can apply them to nearly any form of communication (especially marketing).

While there’s no way to guarantee that anything will “go viral,” studying and applying those basic elements can significantly increase the impact, engagement, and sharing of the marketing pieces you’re already put together.

Marketing is expensive, so you might as well make it count for as much as you can.

As for viral, we have some tips for you on creating a video that stands a good chance to go viral:

1. It MUST Evoke Emotion

Posts inspiring feelings of awe, anger or anxiety are shared more often than others. Now, businesses will want to stay away from inducing anger in their audience, but awe clearly works well, if it is appropriate to the brand. Humor is another strong emotion that is safe for brands to play with.

For brands, making people gasp in astonishment or laugh out loud are safe and popular goals.

2. It Should Portray Your Brand’s Image, Without Being Overly Promotional

The material to inspire these emotions has to be original. Once something has been done before, move on: don’t imitate. Think back to your company’s history, your company’s mission, why your loyal customers love you – and draw from that.

3. You Must Have A Marketing Plan

‘Viral’ shouldn’t be your goal. Building your brand’s reputation through engagement and great content is a goal that can lead to a piece of content going viral, but more importantly it will give you a loyal, dedicated follower base.

A video should reflect your core philosophy as a brand; it should resonate with your audience and be a part of a wider strategy to build trust and commitment over time.

4. Other Branding and Marketing Efforts Must Be In Place

Viral success is possible, but even with preparation and great material, you can’t rely on all your success coming from one marketing channel.

The best creative minds all have a plan for acquiring new customers, readers, fans, and users. The rise of social media, the connections created by social networks, and the massive amounts of competition out there fighting for our attention. Data comes at us so quickly that we expect to see, hear, learn and know facts instantaneously. This material comes at us at warp speed and if we have to stop and think about something we feel that time has slowed down and we are wasting the precious moments we have allotted for information input.

Without a good plan, we will simply become lost in all the noise. We need to make marketing and PR the core of every business idea.

As you formulate your plan remember: Whoever we are, we want to grow, and that growth rarely happens accidentally or in a straight and steady line.

If you are interested in understanding more about the way in which we have created more than a thousand explainer videos, and what’s really crucial behind each one of them — join our 8-day explainer video course below.


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