The Value of Video
November 9, 2020
No modern workplace can deny the value of video. Video’s evolution has been one of the greatest changes in how we communicate and absorb information since the invention of the telephone in 1876. In 2020, nearly ⅓ of online activity is spent viewing videos—and that number is only growing. Video has fundamentally changed the world and the question is, how did we get here and why does it matter?
It wasn’t until 2002 that the first phones with built-in cameras were released. Then, it wasn’t until 3 years later that Youtube was created giving consumers access to share videos with the world. In the last 15 years, we have seen Youtube grow to a near 20 billion dollar valuation. That includes more than 30 million users per day and five billion video views per day. In those 15 years, video became one of the greatest tools for advertising, sharing information, and connecting people globally.
Some of you may be thinking video has been around for a long time. Video obviously isn’t new. We have been able to save and record video since the 1950s. What is relatively new is the proliferation of consumer access to video and video sharing services (outside of the television). People upload more video content in 30 days than major U.S. television networks created in the past 30 years.
Let’s talk about why video is so important.
First and foremost, video opens up a window that allows us to understand things through non-verbal communication. The difference between a photo, or a postcard, or even a phone call is substantial and tangible. Video enables us to interpret tone of voice, analyze reactions, and connect in a more authentic human way.
We don’t have consensus on exactly how much of communication is non-verbal, but some things are undeniable. Things like facial expressions and hand gestures change how people perceive your communication. Some say up to 95% of communication is non-verbal. Originally, humans developed non-verbal communication to connect and work together despite not yet having developed a verbal language. Darwin hypothesized that humans still use facial expressions because they have become evolutionarily hardwired to communicate internal feelings although we now have these modern formal languages.
Non-verbal cues make communication so much easier. For example, think about a time you communicated with someone who didn’t speak your own language. You can immediately get a pulse on their vibe, intentions, and thoughts through non-conscious analysis of gestures and non-verbal cues. Now imagine having that same interaction over the phone and the helplessness you would feel.
Consumers Love Video
When talking about the value of video, we must discuss how and why businesses now leverage video at record rates. The short answer? Consumers prefer video to just about every other format of content—and marketers know that.
For example, video within an email increases the click-through rate by 96% and users spend 88% more time on websites with video. Video is enjoyable and helps engage consumers to stick around and explore more. Video has the ability to simultaneously inform and entertain us in a way that a simple text message never could.
On top of this, our brains are programmed to understand and remember video better than text. According to studies, the average viewer remembers 95% of a message when it is watched, and only 10% when read. Emails and Facebook ads can work for quick communication but don’t necessarily stick in our memories or evoke visceral emotions.
Value of Video Calls and Remote Work
One underappreciated outcome of video was the ability to have live video calls—achieving almost in-person communication with friends, colleagues, and customers. Stemming from the advancement of video calls in the early 2000s was the proliferation of remote work and the ability to effectively communicate in a distributed work setting.
The evolution of almost ubiquitous and largely free access to video calls, starting with Skype, changed professional workflows as well as personal communication. As I’m writing this in 2020, I can’t help but think about how video calls have become essential to the way we teach, learn, work, collaborate, and connect in spite of a global pandemic.
The Next Frontier of Video
The last decade has seen the rise of social media from largely text-based platforms, to image-based platforms, and finally to video-based platforms. We see a professional shift taking place in a similar way—progressing from largely text-based communication to video-based communication.
While there’s almost unanimous agreement that video calls are better than the traditional conference call, three are still issues. The biggest issue is what people often refer to as “zoom fatigue” undercutting the value of video. People often talk about feeling extremely tired after a long day of video calls. Now, more and more studies explain why we feel this way.
First of all, our brains are not meant to stare at a computer screen all day, no matter how engaging our colleagues may be. Video calls can achieve sensory overload as we attempt to watch and analyze all the people on the call at once. Whether we notice it or not, we also make more eye contact in video calls because we’re staring at a screen full of faces — that constant gaze can be emotionally and psychologically exhausting. Finally, even little things like seeing your own emotions on the screen or being insecure about your workspace setup can add additional stress to your system that ultimately leads to fatigue.
Another modern challenge of video meetings, just like traditional meetings, is that they often take a lot of time and require a very synchronous workflow. Remote teams who are spread out around the world often struggle to communicate in a concise way and rely on large emails to colleagues working in different time zones.
Voodle and The Value of Video
One tool helping to solve these problems is Voodle. Voodle allows teams to communicate through short videos in an asynchronous way. While it probably won’t fully replace the ideation and real-time collaboration offered by video meetings or in-person sessions, it offers a way to stay in touch and communicate in a more authentic way than a written message ever could.
What makes Voodle unique? Videos max out at 60 seconds. 33% of viewers will stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45% by one minute, and 60% by two minutes. This limit keeps videos short and the messages concise, which keeps video digestible and memorable.
There’s also a practical element of using short video calls over text—no one types faster than they can talk. Using video in the workplace saves typing time and considering most office workers spend a significant amount of time typing on their computers, this adds up.
Video fundamentally changed the way we are able to be entertained, to learn, to stay in touch, and to connect in a more full and real way. We are still in the relatively early days of figuring out how to leverage video in the workplace, but I for one, am excited to see where it goes.
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