The birth of the oral tradition, after many thousands of years of refinement, gave rise to its successor, the written word. Similarly, after nearly 100 years of development, photography birthed film as a means of communication. For every medium, there exists a corollary in either the form of a descendent or a progenitor. In most cases though, while you can see the natural path for development, these mediums remain linked but distinct from one another.
The Internet has provided us with an interesting landmark for the means of communication, in that it seems to be the only medium that has melded all previous mediums into one thick stew of ideas. The Internet has supplied a platform by which all other mediums can fight for dominance, and see which proves most effective. Recently, there has been a shift in the power balance of these respective mediums, as video has risen to dominance over all of its competitors. For this week’s blog, I want to explore why it is that video has been raised to its current status, and discuss its implications for the world of marketing.
The Limits Of Imagination
When really engaged in a gripping novel, your mind exists in a kind of mediating state between two types of mental processing. On the one hand, part of your mind is focused on simply consuming the words on the printed page. On the other, your mind is attempting to conjure up images and abstract ideas based on these very words. The strength of the image presented is in part contingent on an individual’s ability to focus, and conjure up an image. This is partly why video remains a superior platform for marketing.
By making the imagistic side of the experience more passive, video does not rely on an individual’s ability to perceive through text. Ideas and concepts are more easily digestible when presented visually, because they are able to skip the aforementioned mediating state, and simply present what the marketer wishes to present. This also helps limit the degree of subjectivity to marketing, as the images introduced by way of video are much less subject to interpretation than images presented by way of text.
One of the limiting factors of both podcasts and text is the language in which they are displayed. If you were to develop an advertising campaign through either of these mediums, you are ultimately limiting yourself to the native speakers of their respective languages. This is a problem that is mitigated somewhat through current translation technologies, but use of these tend to lose the nuance of their campaigns. This problem is further exacerbated the more complex the idea or product being marketed is.
Video, by contrast, has a degree of universality about it that simply does not extend to its peers. Though it is true that video ads are often supplemented with audio or textual components, very often, entire ideas can be communicated non-verbally. Visual communication does not have the same linguistic constraints and can be understood by anyone. This universality lends itself toward viral marketing, which is in effect the ultimate goal for any right-minded marketer.
In spite of the medium’s dominance in the field, there still remains (primarily due to the ease of production) far more instances of text on the Internet than video. This has provided an interesting opportunity for marketers, as consumers tend to opt for video, and advertisers tend to be too lazy to construct one. As such, Google ranks video by default much higher over text results. So simply by creating a video, you have already increased your chances of exposure as if you instead merely wrote a blog post (the irony is not lost on me).
Beyond this benefit, video is also more likely to prompt shares than text and images combined. This acts as a positive feedback loop, as the increased shares lead to an increase in SEO, which lead to increased shares, ad infinitum.
A New Oppurtunity
The idea that products and services can travel far from their point of genesis is an idea that would not be foreign even to those living in antiquity. The unique opportunity that the Internet has provided is the degree to which this process is instantaneous. Now more than ever, marketing is a global enterprise, and likewise, so is competition. As such, ever single possible advantage needs to be exploited to make your approach the most optimized one possible. A good start in this optimization would be to employ video marketing whenever and wherever you can.
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