The Psychology of Video



The Psychology of Video Advertising


Video advertising has become increasingly dominant through the years. Really, it’s no secret that video has risen from the ranks and has assumed such a dominant role in marketing strategies. In fact, one research company recently gathered 570 marketers and online consumers for the annual State of Video Marketing survey and found that 81% of businesses are now using video to market their products or services. That number is up from 63% in the previous year.


But why has video become so important?

In an era of fake news, automation, and chat bots, it’s becoming harder for brands to gain the trust of their target audiences. It’s really not a surprise that most consumers crave for authenticity. The advent of smartphones and YouTube has given marketers a cheap and accessible platform where they can share authentic content that will surely hook audiences.


Video advertising can help present products and services in the best light through a variety of short and appealing formats. At the same time, this medium provides enough room for extensive storytelling. You can use the format to leverage both audio and visual elements to appeal to multiple senses. You can use video to create content that’s either focused on facts or emotion, two very important factors that influence consumer behavior.

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Emotional Appeal in Advertising

Marketers frequently use storytelling, music, and other stimuli that can appeal to emotion to influence consumers. That’s because emotions can help consumers better understand and accept the advertising message.


What emotions should you use to persuade target audiences?


A wide range of emotions can be used to trigger consumers to respond to an ad. Positive emotions such as happiness, fun, and love are some of the more powerful ones you can use.  However, you shouldn’t disregard negative emotions. They are just as good of a catalyst in terms of persuasion. Fear and pride are a few of the most effective motivators.


When done right, ads that appeal to emotions can be powerful. But if not, they can be just as destructive. So you can use emotion effectively in ads, but take note of what audiences want and which emotions you should elicit.


  • Do target audiences need an emotional appeal?

Emotions are only powerful motivators for target audiences who need or demand that emotional appeal. Sometimes, consumers just want to be informed of the functional benefits of the product they intend to buy. For instance, consumers might just want to know if their laundry detergent already comes in the scent they prefer. Or, a consumer interested in beauty products may only be concerned about what beauty gurus think of the most recent lip kits or eye shadow palettes. In short, brands don’t always have to elicit emotion to produce a response from their target market.


  • Should you focus on a positive or negative emotion?

Positive emotions have to be authentic and true to the brand. So you don’t end up alienating your target audience, you shouldn’t just take up a random emotion and create an ad about it. The message you are trying to relay must fit the brand and what it stands for. Still, these positive emotional ads won’t resonate with all consumers. Nevertheless, a broad audience that can relate to it should put you on strong footing.


Ads that elicit negative emotions can encourage consumers to find a solution to a problem that they are likely to encounter or a challenge they have already encountered. For instance, a company that offers services to prevent identity theft can use a scenario that makes their ideal audience feel fear and vulnerability.  It should encourage them to act and end that fear which, in this case, is by purchasing the service. Take note that you shouldn’t overdo this. You must make sure that the problem is something that the brand can solve.


  • What video format is the most appropriate for creating emotional appeal?

Without a doubt, long-form videos are the best fit for this approach. Although video drop-off does rise when the length of the video increases, that’s not a reason to opt out of this format.  Huffington Post compared short and long-form videos from one national advertiser, and they found that 2/3 of viewers bolted after 10 seconds in the 30-second ad. It took about 39 seconds for 2/3 of viewers of the two-and-a-half-minute-long video to drop off.


There you have it. Long-form videos can just be as appealing. But if we set aside video completions, really, you can’t tell much of a story in 10 seconds.


Explainer videos are 60 to 120-second videos. That’s not too short, and not too long. There’s definitely enough time to tell the fictional journey of the brand’s ideal buyer persona. Explainer videos typically revolve around a challenge that buyers struggle with, and how they can overcome it by using a specific product or service.


You can have greater emphasis on the story with this format. Plus, consumers like explainer videos. In one latest study, a similar media research company found that 95% of consumers prefer watching explainer videos than reading product explanations. If you’re wondering how effective they can be, well, about 81% of those surveyed bought a product after watching a video ad.


Rational Appeal in Advertising

This approach to advertising entails using facts, logic, and reasoning to persuade consumers into buying a product or paying for a service. In this approach, you prove to consumers that a product or service is what they can afford, what they need, and what they should have.

The emotional approach may be a powerful method of persuasion, but it can often come across as manipulative. Between the two approaches, this tends to appear more authentic.


  • When should you use the rational appeal?

As mentioned above, there are consumers who just want to know what brands have to offer. There are consumers who only want to know the new additions to your product lineup and what their improvements are. If your target audience wants that, the rational appeal should be an effective way of getting them to respond. On the other hand, even if consumers want emotional content, they will find this approach quite useful. It will also make them realize the value of a product.


  • How do you apply rational appeal to video advertising?

Video companies or even vendors would recommend short formats since they generally perform better in terms of video completions.  As previously mentioned, consumers tend to opt out of short-form video ads after ten seconds. YouTube’s response to rising drop off rates was making six-second ads. Obviously, you won’t have much time for stories. Nevertheless, that’s enough to start a buzz and build awareness.


KFC used that 6-second ad to introduce a new food item in Malaysia. The ad created some buzz and awareness. After a few weeks, viewers were treated to a TrueView unboxing ad where they showed their Super Jimat Box meal.


Other examples of well-executed short-form video ads were made by Campbell. Their video production team created multiple 6-second ads. Each ad was delivered to a specific target audience. For instance, consumers who played Pokemon Go received the Campbell ad that asked if their legs were hurting from walking around. Consumers who were looking into soccer matches received the ad which asked if they bet on England.


Before you start your video production, know that long-form videos can also be used to carry out the rational approach. Here’s how:


  • Testimonial videos

Customer testimonials, case studies, expert interviews and other third-party endorsements are effective ways to gain your target market’s trust. Of course, you will need actual paying customers and professionals to step in front of the camera and explain how a product or a service helped them get over certain challenges.


  • Influencer review videos

Influencer review videos follow a rational approach to advertising. You might have seen several of these videos up on YouTube, where influencers talk about a product and if it’s worth its price. As you probably know, they can take as long as half an hour. Yet, millions of their subscribers will watch until the very end. These videos can either be sponsored by brands or influencer can do them all for free.


Depending on your goals, you can either use short-form or long-form video formats to carry out either approach. You might think that the former is the obvious choice since consumers tend to have short attention spans. But as already established, that isn’t always the case. Regardless of the length, there are viewers who will leave as quickly as they can. Although front-load messaging is often suggested as a solution to this, it won’t always work. It may disrupt the flow of your story or your message.  And it may just do more harm than good.


Your best bet is to make the first few seconds compelling. This way, consumers will want to know what’s next. Remember that people like content that they can relate to, that they need. If they feel the content is authentic, they should pay attention to the video until the very end.


Article by Nicole Delgado 2022 | Article Writer | Explainer Video Company | Animated Explainer Videos 



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