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Why Does Video Work? It’s All in Your Head

Most likely, you have already heard this before: video is a powerful marketing tool. Study after study has shown that people respond more favorably to video, are more likely to buy when they see a video, and trust video more than any other format. The question, though, is why?

The fact is, video is so powerful because we are hardwired to respond to it. That’s right: as humans, we can’t help but respond to video. When a video hits the right emotional notes, it resonates on a level that goes well beyond simply getting attention for your business and making a sale. It builds a connection with your audience. It spurs emotions, grabs attention, and conveys information in a way that the printed word simply can’t.

Does this mean you need to do away with all of your other content and focus on video only? No. However, with a stronger understanding of the psychology behind the response to video, you are in a better place to develop videos that resonate with your audience and a visual marketing strategy that helps you reach your goals.

The Four Factors

According to brain researchers, there are four main reasons we are attracted to visuals.

1. We Naturally Pay Attention to Faces

The Fusiform Facial area of the brain is a segment of the brain that naturally draws our attention to faces. We look at faces to gather more information about the speaker and draw conclusions about what’s being said. Faces can provide clues to the context of what’s being said, the trustworthiness of the speaker, and create relatability. For this reason, it’s generally considered best practice to include images of human faces in your marketing materials, especially video.

2. We Respond to Human Voices

From the moment we’re born we respond to voices — babies instinctively recognize their mothers’ voices, for instance, and quickly learn the voices of other family members and caregivers. When we hear the words spoken, we automatically interpret the message we’re hearing, and gather additional contextual clues about what’s being said, something that’s impossible with the printed word.

3. We Respond to Movement

Humans naturally notice movement. It’s been key to our survival for thousands of years. Beyond that, though, movement provides visual interest and holds our attention better than static images.

4. We Respond to Emotion

Visuals can spur emotions more effectively than the written word, and humans naturally respond to emotions. What’s more effective:

  • An image of a suffering child or a description of the suffering child?
  • A description of someone in a funny hat or an image of the person wearing the hat?

It’s harder to ignore visual representations, and we naturally respond to them on a deeper level than other formats.

Simply understanding these factors is only the first step to a more effective visual marketing strategy, though. How you address these factors in your video animations is just as important.

Tapping Into Natural Tendencies

With this basic understanding of natural human tendencies when it comes to video, how do you make the most of them? The best way is to carefully select a few key elements for your video. These include:

Include Faces

Even if you choose a stylized animated version of a face, tap into natural tendencies for facial recognition by including faces and creating characters for your video. People want to see images of other images, and since facial expressions are a universal language, you can be sure that everyone will understand what you’re trying to convey and relate to it.

Use Color

The psychology of color is a complex and powerful tool, but with even a basic understanding of color theory, you can create more powerful animations. Choose colors designed to evoke certain emotions to elicit the right reaction; for example:

  • Blue is known as a calming color, but it also evokes trust and friendliness.
  • Green is also calming, but it is a more energetic color often associated with growth and energy, as well as nature and sustainability.
  • Purple tends to a romantic or mysterious shade.
  • Red creates urgency and excitement – or even anger.

Do some research as you select your colors to understand how people respond to and interpret colors, test your findings, and use the results to perfect your visuals.

Use Cartoons

Using video doesn’t mean that you have to have a real person or images. You can use cartoons. In fact, cartoons are very effective, since most people have positive responses to drawings. A cartoon doesn’t need to be humorous, either; when handled with a deft touch, a cartoon can even convey a serious subject.

Given that the majority of people respond more favorably to visual communication than written or even verbal, it only makes sense that video should be part of your marketing strategy. By incorporating your knowledge of psychology into your plans, though, you can develop even stronger videos that take your business where you want it to go.