October 31, 2020 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In the digital age, getting attention is anything but a given. An abundance of publishers, gadgets and apps are competing for mind share, and data overload causes audiences to block distractions and instead focus on what’s urgent.
Five years back, a Microsoft study found that humans now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which lasts about eight seconds — only two decades ago, we were at 12 seconds. That’s proof positive why content must be compelling, truly entertaining and/or informative; otherwise it’s just mindless noise.
When marketing online, it also helps to have the right format. Entrepreneurs, startups and small- to medium-sized businesses can all use videos to hook audiences with engaging multimedia content. Here are the four key benefits.
1. Multimedia works well with device screens
Attention-grabbing content often requires the use of multimedia formats like videos and images. Think of how memes and Instagram exploded in popularity in the past decade just as mobile usage significantly increased.
Multimedia works well with small electronic screens where users often squint their eyes and impatiently scroll until something compelling captures their attention. In contrast, eyes have a harder time processing written text, especially if an author utilizes complex, multisyllabic words.
“Video publishers succeed when they show audiences relevant and engaging contents,” said Eyal Betzalel, cofounder and CEO of video-discovery platform Primis, in a recent interview with Entrepreneur. “Because of the overwhelming amount of video content available on the web, that should increasingly be based on individual tastes and viewing patterns in order to gain a competitive viewing advantage. With videos, you serve spectators well by showing relevant, timely and excellent content that they are most likely to interact with.”
2. Video makes learning convenient
If a picture is worth a thousand words, that goes twofold for footage and clips.
As mentioned, text has a hard time competing with multimedia when using digital screens. According to research firm Nielsen Norman, site visitors will only read 20 percent of text on a page containing an average of 593 words. Why promote a personal brand, product or service in a format that doesn’t produce enough quality click-throughs?
Digital audiences prefer to consume videos, and a big reason why is because they’re easy, convenient and painless. According to marketing agency 99Firms, users consume 500 million hours of video on YouTube every day and 100 million hours of video on Facebook.
It’s no surprise that Hollywood filmmakers and TV execs continue adapting popular books. Movies and shows communicate information more efficiently via easy-to-process demonstrations or visual aids. Try reading about baking a cake — it’s painful compared to just live-streaming a chef who teaches you how to do it.
A 2018 study by intelligence firm Sandvine found that videos account for 60 percent of all internet traffic, with Netflix leading the way at 12 percent. And 27 percent of U.S. adults haven’t read a book in the past year, according to a 2019 Pew survey. Like it or not, viewers find it more convenient to learn about history (and even classical literature) on television and in movie theaters than having to go through the trouble of reading about it.
3. Video familiarizes audiences with your personality
It’s tough for audiences to become familiar with an author unless they’ve read a ton of their articles or books. Video, however, enables viewers to get acquainted with your unique personality; therefore, it rapidly increases familiarity and credibility. And if you’ve got a standout personality or impactful voice, such charm will be emblazoned in their memory, inviting a purchase, subscription, repeat clicks and social shares.
That bears out in a 2018 study by creative firm Animoto, which found that the vast majority of digital consumers prefer consuming video content on social media. The same study found that 88 percent of marketers are satisfied with the ROI of their video marketing efforts on social media, as well.
4. Clips and footage increase conversion rates
An observer is more likely to cry watching an audiovisual narrative than by reading it. Visual and auditory stimuli even affect taste buds when watching a cooking show. Videos create a lasting impression because they stimulate human senses.
On the flip side of things, writers largely remain invisible or anonymous, given what’s written on paper always stays silent. When using a smartphone or computer, silent content remains in the background as soon as audio or visual messages inevitably interrupt.
It’s tougher to boost click-throughs via text when most people are skimming it. Putting a video on a landing page increases conversions by 80 percent, according to HubSpot. Furthermore, data from Precision Marketing Group shows that the mere placing of a video in an email leads to a 200 to 300 percent increase in click-through rate.
Entrepreneurs, startups and small- to medium-sized businesses should leverage the power of videos and audiovisual presentations. Simply put, they’ve proven more effective than pursuing a text-only marketing strategy.