When you click onto any news website these days, you’ll notice a healthy mixture of video content as well as traditional text articles. Varying content formats is a great way to keep your site’s visitors engaged, and it’s also a great way to reach more people—some people don’t like reading, some people would rather read, etc.—but when it comes to publishing something that could go either way, is one of these formats more effective at attracting views?
Why Post Videos?
In a small study of 1,000 adults in the UK, it was found that consumers are more likely to share an online video than they are a text article. The same study showed that web users are more likely to click through a video ad than they are a banner or rich media ad. According to Simply Measured and M Booth, videos on Facebook are shared 12 times more than links and text posts—combined. On YouTube, more than 100 million users are watching or engaging with at least one video every week. The case for using videos is obvious—people want to consume content without having to read a long article.
Videos have the power to engage people in a way that text can’t—visually. Text often requires one’s full attention in order to consume the information presented, and while we’d all like to believe that everyone is paying 100% attention to our content, we all know that most people multitask – it’s why you check your emails while you catch up on TV shows you like, or why you might check your phone as you wait at a red light. Videos allow the information to be consumed, but they often don’t require all of your attention – you can listen to what’s being said in the video but work on something else at the same time.
On the other hand, however, videos often impart a multilevel approach to the information they put forth—in other words, the visual content will give context to the audio. Think of a story on your evening news. The reporter will be telling you what happened, but the video running behind them will show you additional information, like exact location, the scene, etc. Video content allows you to show your visitors more dimensions of the same content. So why is text still used, if it’s video that provides more fleshed-out information?
Text: More Than Just SEO
Obviously, text content is important due to the way search engines catalog the internet, but that’s not the only reason people still post text content. Sometimes, people will not want to watch a video – for instance, if they’re interested in an update to a story they already know about, they aren’t going to want to watch a video that likely recaps everything that’s already been reported. The same goes for marketing—sometimes your viewers will just want to get to the information at their own pace, rather than guessing what they’ll get out of your content. A text article will give them cues about what will be included—headings and subheads will outline what’s going to be discussed. With videos, it’s often a mixed bag—they may get something out of a video, they may not. With text, it’s almost a guarantee—they can skim the headings and decide quickly if the article has the information they want or not.
But many people simply prefer reading, too. Sometimes, there’s no study-certified answer as to why people prefer one format of content than another—sometimes, it just comes down to personal preference. Maybe the time when someone reads your website is during the time they put on music and decompress. Maybe they’re visiting your site from somewhere that’s quiet and they don’t want to disrupt anyone. Whatever the case, there will always be people who will simply choose a text article over a video. In order to be optimally alluring, you need to appeal to both types of people – those who would rather watch a video, and those who prefer reading an article.
As for which format is better? It’s hard to say that either of them wins. When it comes to promoting your content, you want to reach as many people as you can. Make sure you post a healthy mix of varied content so that no one group is left feeling ignored. Diversifying content also helps ensure that people will actually consume the information you’re posting. No matter which is your preferred method, it’s important to let visitors know that you can do it all—video, text, and otherwise.