Why do we LOVE video?

Over the years, we’ve spent a good deal of time in this space analyzing and answering this critical question. From the way our brains work, to how our senses operate, to our level of emotional engagement, to our willingness to act on a specific message, the effectiveness of video remains unparalleled. That being said, we’re always seeking new data about what makes audiences tick when they watch. According to YouTube, users view one billion—yes, with a “b”—videos on the platform every day. Some new analysis of YouTube videos shows:

1. People relate to people, not pretenders. If you feature an on-camera host for your video campaign, ensure that person brings his or her humanity to the job. Videos are a great way for brands to showcase personality and purpose. That’s tough to do if your host delivers a script like a robot. In this age of authentic communication, lack of humor, sincerity, or empathy represents the kiss of death for audience engagement. Instead, breathe life into your video by getting real with all aspects of its content. This makes it more memorable—and more effective.

2. Time and tide wait for no man. The National Center for Biotechnology Information says the average attention span dropped by about a third from 2000 to 2015. The lesson? We used to say keep your video short and sweet. Now we say keep it shorter (less time) and sweeter (more interesting). Let the images do the talking whenever possible. Replace full-blown narration with captions and animations when it makes creative sense. Make sure sound bites are both pithy and petite. And ensure scripted copy contains concise sentences, clear word choice, and active-voice verbs.

3. It’s audience first, audience last, audience always. Before you make the first decision about the content of your video, ruminate—obsess, if you will—over what your audience wants, needs, and hopes to see. Video is no exception to the rule that rules all messaging: the more you tailor your message to the hearts and minds you hope to influence, the more likely you are to influence them. Tools like Google Trends can help you better understand your audience’s interests, so you can channel them into brand-building excellence. Viva video!

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