Why is Information More Easily Consumed in Video than Text?

by Leattytia Badibanga ⎸Blog ⎸13.04.2016

We’ve already heard a lot about the effectiveness of video in workplaces. Video has quickly become one of the most impactful ways to deliver content to an audience. It seems safe to say that video content is more engaging than text. By tapping into a little basic psychology, we can further break this down.

The brain perspective

Videos are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. Humans are built to avoid stress, so we will often choose information that is easy to process over the form that makes us put in a lot of effort.

Reading articles and watching videos require two different brain functions. When reading, the brain gets more actively involved than when watching content, and actually requires a longer attention span and deeper cognitive effort. Reading requires the production of “inner voice,” which dials up our attention span. This means that careful reading isn’t really automatic.

Watching a video, however, is passive. It’s more of an automatic process, and is better at getting us to be emotionally engaged than text. When we watch a video, we become immersed and create an empathetic connection with the screen. Emotions are regulated by automatic physiological reactions, and our brain mirrors what is before us as if we were part of the scene, even if we are just sitting passively on the sidelines.

Scientifically there is no difference between watching video and experiencing something in real life for the brain. Scientists believe that we can actually experience the pain or pleasure of those we witness on screen. This phenomenon known as “XXX” makes the spectator much more emotionally involved.

The tendency

When we choose to click on a video rather than reading text, it feels like a clear choice. But the truth is, there are several unconscious factors at work that influence our decision process without our realizing it. When watching a video, we unconsciously let go of our perception of control over our environment, making the video a form of mental escapism.

So how is video such an effective tool when it comes to corporate communication?

The unit, both seeing and hearing, might sound like an obvious answer, but combining visual and audio interaction has a much greater impact. Studies show that retention rates of information that is both seen and heard is 80% compared to 20% retention for information that is only seen and 10% retention for information that is only heard. The combination introduces the emotional factor.

Today, a video message can be sent anywhere in the world, to any device, easily and quickly. This allows large, decentralized teams to send effective communications to their members in a cost-effective way. You don’t need to be a professional actor to engage your audience effectively in videos, the authenticity plays a big role in the message you convey. People don’t want to see and certainly don’t appreciate watching scripted robotic speakers. From employee generating content to CEO announcements, video has become a cost-effective and a productive way to cut through old-fashioned communication channels.

What makes video so effective for internal support vs. documents in workplaces?

Knowing that non-verbal communication makes up roughly 90% of our communication, the importance of face-to-face communication cannot be understated. Facial expressions, gestures, voice tone, posture and even our choice of clothing are all essentials of great communication. As effective as emails can be, sometimes they just don’t cut it. Relevant and delicate information should be delivered in a way that leaves as little as possible interpretation to the receiver of the message. Unlike text-based messages, videos incorporate all the essential non-verbal queues and allow the message to be received and understood as intended.

➼ Studies show that retention rates of information that is both seen and heard is 80%

As Millennials become more of the workforce, there’s a desire for employees to use content they way we do in the rest of our lives:, live streaming and interactive video. Videos help to convert internal communication into two-way discussion, facilitating idea sharing and participative discussions. And with an appropriate video platform, content is available at all times so employees have the flexibility to consume critical information anytime, anywhere! Given that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words there’s no doubt that video does it marvelously. In short, video is everywhere with good reason.

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