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Why people respond to video more than text

Why people respond to video more than text Vitaly Shter

We've heard a lot about the effectiveness of video at work, in school, and at home. Study after study has shown that people are more likely to remember a video ad or recall a tailored ad on a mobile device, tablet, or at a desktop computer. Massive open online courses are succeeding because they offer the engagement that textbooks alone cannot

YouTube estimates 300 hours of video content are uploaded to its platform every minute, generating billions of views each day, while the newspaper circulation in the U.S. continues to drop, according to data from Pew Research Center. The rise of YouTube and decline of traditional publishing emphasizes how much more interested we've become in visual over textual information. Kaltura's recent survey indicates that 80 percent agree that video conveys more powerful messages than written communication

But why?

The answer lies in the ways our brains are designed to read and process information:

Moving visuals are in our DNA

Our brains today are much more sophisticated than our cave-dwelling ancestors', but in some respects, we have similar behaviors and instincts. We're evolutionarily adapted to quickly respond to the combination of image, sound, and motion. About 90 percent of the information our brains pick up is visual, and we process visuals 60,000 times faster than we can process text. Therefore, video allows us to eliminate visual complexities out of our communication and explain complex ideas to any number of people anywhere.

In the big picture of human history, reading is a relatively recent development. We're hardwired to pay attention to and understand things that move, and adding sound increases the effect.

There's an emotional connection

If you want to engage people intellectually, text works great -- you have to think through an argument to engage with text. But video engages us on a more visceral level. Although we're both emotional and intellectual creatures, emotion runs deeper. It helps us connect to ideas and products through visual storytelling. We're built to appreciate video in a way we can never appreciate text.

If you want people to understand your message on a gut level, video can get you there. The emotional connection makes video an incredibly efficient communication tool.

Videos get personal

Video is even more effective and important when we're trying to engage with the audience on a personal level. We're built to read faces. Pareidolia -- our psychological tendency to perceive a random stimulus as significant -- is what makes us see faces in tree trunks, the moon, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

We like to see faces, we want to see faces, and we subconsciously look for them. There's a reason people want to "look someone in the eyes." Our brains are built to establish trust through face-to-face contact, hence we see the "talking head" as an integral component of many corporate presentations, politician's speeches, classroom lectures, product presentations, and even video ads

When someone tells you something, face-to-face, the message has a greater impact than if you read it. Through video, you can replicate that essential, nearly in-person human connection, with thousands of people at once. Video gives us the ability to communicate "face-to-face" on a bigger, asynchronous scale.

Whether you're trying to teach something, sell something, align someone behind your vision, or just create a bond, video is the way to go. In fact, a video expressing these points may be just what is needed to send them home:

What do you think? What are some of the most engaging video examples that simply wouldn't have the same effect via text?

Vitaly Shter is director of product marketing at Kaltura

On Twitter? Follow iMedia at @iMediaTweet.

Vitaly Shter is the Director of Product Marketing at Kaltura, the leading video platform. He oversees the go-to-market strategy for Kaltura’s enterprise video products for communication, collaboration and learning. Vitaly is passionate about...

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