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Illustration Video Marketing

Video Marketing: How Many Words Is a Video Worth?

Natalie Ediger, March 6, 2020· Communication

Illustration Video Marketing

A picture is worth a thousand words. A metaphor quoted to death, but with something in it in any case. In marketing it has long been said that visual elements are more effective than pure text. This is also proven by the principle “show don’t tell” . At Cleverclip, we like to live by this principle. So… if pictures are already such powerful communication tools, what about videos? If a picture says more than a thousand words, how meaningful should video content be? This is exactly the question we will get to the bottom of in this article.

A video says more than (…) words

A picture says more than 1000 words, we already know that. But a simple video counts 30 frames per second. That means, a video 60 seconds must have ding, ding ding…right!… 1.8 million words! It’s a simple math calculation, without a lot of hocus-pocus:

  1. 1 picture = 1,000 words

  2. Video recording at 30 frames per second

  3. Therefore: 1 second of video = 30,000 words

  4. 30,000 words x 60 seconds (a standard length of an explainer video) = 1.8 million.

TADA… Marketing specialist McQuivey came to the same breathtaking conclusion. Ever since, marketing managers have been circulating the quite logical assumption: “A video is worth more than 1.8 million words”… . Well, you don’t have to believe everything you read. Because scientifically speaking, the whole thing is a little questionable. After all, this calculation is based on 1000 words per picture, which … who exactly specified … ?

Okay, his name was Fred R. Barnard. In an advertisement for the trade magazine Printers’ Ink, he promoted the use of images in advertising prints on trams. Well, his statement was not particularly empirical. By the way, it says “more than… a thousand words” and not ” equal to”… As a mathematician, you can’t just turn a > into a =? And apart from that, for a 60 second video, a script of maximum 120 words is recommended…???? Ok, now it gets complicated.

But let’s put this numerical and amusing digression aside and don’t take everything at its word! Because whether McQuivey’s calculation seems logical or not, one thing is clear: We don’t have to argue about the effectiveness of video content!  And that’s what this statement is all about.

The power of video content

Although Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research is a very reliable source, in this case his statement has little relevance, at least from a scientific point of view. And yet he is quoted by marketers around the world. Because he hits the nail on the head: Video content is much more influential than a picture! Companies that ignore the trend towards video content are missing out on stronger target group interaction rates, higher sales and ultimately greater business success:

  • Embedded videos in e-mails increase the click through rate by 200-300%. Just the keyword “video” in the subject provides a 19% higher opening rate.

  • Online videos already account for 50% of all mobile data traffic. In the coming year, this is expected to rise to 75%.

  • 64% of consumers confirm that they tend to buy more likely after watching a video. 71% claim that a corporate video gives a better impression of the company than a purely text-based webpage. (Animato).

  • 95% of consumers remember information they get from videos more easily than text-based information.

  • Videos influence the SEO positively: Company pages with embedded videos are 53 times more likely to appear on the first Google page than pages with pure text content.

  • Videos have up to 1200% higher shares on social networks than text combined with images.

What’s behind the magical effect of video content? In fact, a (good) video manages to tell an entire story in 60 seconds, creating an emotional bond with the brand and the audience. Storytelling is one of the most important marketing strategies to place information effectively in the long-term memory of consumers. Stories are already strong brand ambassadors, but in combination with moving images as well as audio elements, they are the business power tool of the 21st century.  Much more important than the number of words is the added value in terms of content. Is the video captivating? Does it have a coherent plot? Can the audience identify with the content? If you have answered all questions with “yes”, then congratulations, you have understood the key to success of a video.

It is up to you to decide how the mathematical equation should look like. From a scientific point of view, a video may not correspond to 1.8 million words, but it may correspond to over 1 million sales and customer interactions. You decide what is more important to you… Either way, a video is the power tool in content marketing!