If for some reason, you hesitate to use video on your feed, think again. Though numbers vary depending on the researchers, just about all studies definitively point to videos getting more engagement than their still counterparts. Video shares keep growing on Facebook. A recent figure has Facebook generating 8 billion video views each day. Instagram caught on and made it easy to record videos via feed or story. The number of hours people spend watching YouTube videos is increasing 60% year. All trends point to a continued up & up, but there’s not only data to back me and my claim up, there’s also common sense.
Social media in general and Instagram in particular have succeeded because they’ve been able to capitalize on relatability like little else can. Video as a medium takes this relatability further than captions and still photography alone can. For one, videos are harder to doctor than a photograph, so there’s often a sense that when we’re watching a video, we’re watching something real unfold. Though of course, it’s common to slap a filter on or cut a video, in general, we trust what we see. Videos are often used as proof; they read as authentic.
We live in the age of Reality TV, and we want our idols to be relatable. Video not only lends its realness to the cause of relatability, it also uniquely showcases our human qualities. Only on video can you watch facial expressions morph in real time, see a body in motion or hear the sound of a person’s voice. These are all tools to demonstrate personality, and help users get a sense of the people behind the accounts they follow.
And then of course, videos are appealing. Videos inherently peak curiosity and build suspense because they unfold over time. We have to wait a little before all information becomes available to us, and while we wait we ask ourselves, “what’s going to happen next?” On Facebook and Instagram, this line of questioning goes even further since the video start playing without sound before we click on them. The videos are teasing us to opt in, asking, “aren’t you curious about the soundtrack to this clip?” or “don’t you want to know what we’re saying?”
Videos are also watchable in the convenient sense. They’re entertaining for all of the reasons we’ve listed, and they also don’t require much of us. Videos are a little reprieve from action They’re easy to sit back, watch & enjoy. On social media the experience is slightly different than on TV. TV is passive. We consume social media on our phones and computers, however, by scrolling, by making decisions to linger and consume a post or to go ahead and skip it. We make these micro decisions over and over again until they blur to together. The act of flicking your thumb can takes over, and we get to scrolling for scrolling’s sake. Videos break the pattern. They’re a bit like punctuation in a feed, alerting us to stop, watch and pay attention. Videos wake us up to what we’re looking at, so for all of us trying to get a message across, it’s always an advantage to have an audience that’s paying attention.
Susannah Emerson | founder of The Keep Collection