I interviewed usability and user experience veteran Susan Weinshenk, on the psychological proof behind why online video is so persuasive to human beings, and some marketing tips and special technology platforms for taking better advantage of the persuasive powers of online video for your own business.
Video is arguably the most powerful of all online media choices we have today for persuasion. Last year I had the opportunity to cover the affect of persuasion in online video with Dr. BJ Fogg, experimental psychologist and Director of Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab. That's why I was especially glad to find a fellow user experience colleague of mine and long-time leader in the professional user experience (UX community) Susan Weinshenk, cover this issue in her recent column on theBrainLady blog titled, "5 Reasons Why Online Video is So Persuasive, which all video marketers should read and learn from.
5 Reasons Why Online Video is So Persuasive, by Susan Weinschenk, PhD
#1 — Movement in peripheral vision grabs attention – video online is movement, and so will automatically grab attention more than anything else on the screen. (More on this in Susan's blog article, "…Peripheral Vision – Keeping You Alive or Channel Surfing?”)
#2 — Speakers and listener's brains sync up – published research shows that the brain patterns of listeners synch up with the brain patterns of the speaker they are listening to. This means that a video of someone talking is going to be more powerful than just reading words on a page. (More on this in Susan's blog article, "…Speaker and Listener Brains Sync.”)
#3 — Video compensates (somewhat) for the asynchronous problem – other published research explains how synchronous behavior bonds people together. "A lot of online communication is asynchronous — the communication is not occurring simultaneously in real time," said Susan. "Emails, Facebook posts, twitter posts, are asynchronous. Chat is synchronous. Synchronous communication is, in general, more persuasive. Video can be synchronous (think Skype) or asynchronous (think TED talk or YouTube). But video does have the advantage of allowing you to hear and see an actual person, rather than the more removed reading of text. In this regard it is the most powerful of the asynchronous media. (More on this in her blog article, "Synchronous activity bonds the group.”)
#4 — Video can convey emotional information, not just factual – In Susan's book, Neuro Web Design: What makes them click?, she talks about how important it is to speak to the emotional "mid-brain" if you want to get your message across and have your message be remembered. Video has the advantage (over just reading text) of communicating social and emotional information, not just facts.
#5 — Video combine all the powerful elements together – "The technology for video is finally getting easier and easier to create and integrate online," says Susan. She mentioned that she's a big fan of Video Genie , who's new technology platform allows customers to easily make a video testimonial and post it to your site (you get to moderate it, i.e. watch it before it gets posted). "I've talked a lot (in books and other posts) about why testimonials and reviews are so powerful (it's the principle of social validation)," she says. "Video testimonials are social validation on steroids. Social validation, brain syncing, emotional content… you just can't beat this for persuasion." Another interesting example to Susan is Vokle.com: "It allows anyone to host their own video talk show, live, with people calling in.”
Bonus Coverage: How You Can Improve Your Own Web Video User Experience
I also recommend checking out my companion article over at the Video Commerce Consortium blog, "How to Improve User Experience with Web Video In E-Commerce." I interview Susan about the need for better understanding and application of online video by the professional UX community, and some valuable tips for improving customer and target audience experience with web video for your own business.
About Susan Weinshenk, Ph.D.
Susan Weinshenk is the Founder and President of the User Experience Institute. (Previously she was the Chief of User Experience Strategy, Americas at Human Factors International.) She has over 30 years experience in the field of human factors/usability/user experience (UX) – including as author, trainer, researcher, consultant, presenter, and developing user-centered methodologies around web design and e-commerce Her most recent authored books are 100 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About People and Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? . (She also has a companion blog at whatmakesthemclick.net and a podcast series on user experience.)
You can also follow Susan on her Twitter handle: @thebrainlady.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto®, ©frentusha, #9749089
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