How You Can Use Psychology To Improve Your Video Content

Video content has become more prominent than ever in the digital age. The pandemic has caused a boom in the uptake of digital technology, and video communication is now a key part of any business’s strategy. Video communication has been beneficial for communicating with audiences online, but how do businesses know that people are retaining what they watch? 

We’ve taken a look at the psychology of how we view and retain video content. Psychology should play an important role in determining what type of content you deliver, so you can ensure that your videos are memorable long after your audience is done watching them.

Video is fast becoming the most popular form of communication to gain the attention of consumers and wider audiences. In fact, nine in ten marketers are planning its use as a form of digital engagement, according to the most recent Salesforce State of Marketing Report

With a plethora of video content available, understanding how audiences retain video content is crucial in guiding strategy around what types of video content to create. Read on to find out how you can use psychology to ensure you’re making content that resonates with your target audience, as well as get ahead of your competition.

How has the way audiences learn about businesses changed?

This rise of social media has fundamentally changed how information is viewed and retained. A study from Princeton University suggests that our attention is prone to shifting rapidly between various stimuli in very short time windows. Social media has advanced the use of short, sharp snippets of content to capture attention among constantly changing stimuli on our screen, evident when using apps like TikTok and Instagram. Businesses are now investigating how they can emulate and adapt their video content to mirror what audiences are engaging with on their mobile apps. 

Given how many distractions are ever-present in the digital space, grabbing the attention of your audience within the opening seconds of video content is crucial in retaining engagement. When creating videos that aim to drive specific behaviors, evoking emotion during these encounters can lead to quick action from your audience. For example, evoking curiosity means you can pique a viewer’s interest and keep them intrigued. In the past, consumers curious about a business would have to physically visit a shop. Now that we’re in the digital age, people can find out more information about businesses instantaneously by searching online. Engaging audiences during these initial interactions that deliver heightened emotion is critical in retaining attention, and ultimately driving conversions.

Are you teaching your audience about your business effectively?

There are many ways to dissect how consumers make decisions, and one of those is to understand how we process information. Daniel Kahneman explores the different ways of thinking in his renowned book, Thinking Fast and Slow. He presents two ways of thinking, system 1 and system 2 – or fast and slow. These systems shape our decisions and the judgments that we make. System 1 is an intuitive way of thinking – thoughts that are emotional and instinctual. System 2 takes time, reasoning and effort. 

The rise of social media and the drop of our attention span has contributed to the increase in the use of system 1 thinking, which causes users to make intuitive and emotional decisions when presented with videos. We enjoy thinking that is quick and simple, which means that brands that are easier to understand and more memorable are more likely to evoke an emotional response. 

Apple is renowned for delivering marketing campaigns that are sleek and simple. Their campaigns don’t focus on conveying features and tech specs – they focus instead on evoking emotions related to how an Apple product can positively change your life. These campaigns deliver a sense of community and belonging, which proves irresistible for many users. When creating video content that aims to drive conversion, connecting with your audience quickly and emotively is crucial in driving a call to action. 

How can you use psychology to your advantage when creating video content?

In order to deliver engaging video content, businesses must also analyze what types of content leaves a lasting impression. In his book Evolve Your Brain, one of the things Dr. Joe Dispenza discusses is how our brains focus on what stimulates our emotions, writing, “You are attached to the brain circuits connected with the emotions.” So how do businesses use this concept to shape video strategy? Emotions are evoked through videos that are deemed different and exciting and give audiences new ways of exploring stagnant content. 

Whether we are trying to capture our audience’s attention right away, or deliver more informative and educational videos, eliciting emotions is what leaves a lasting impression. For example, using an interactive video to deliver a choose-your-own-adventure concept allows audiences to pick what is most relevant and exciting to them. This means businesses get more of a sense of what their audience is interested in based on their choices within the video. As human beings, our awareness shifts rapidly, and having the ability to choose what captures our attention is more likely to create longer lasting engagement. 

An example of creating a choose-your-own-adventure experience.
An example of creating a choose-your-own-adventure experience.

How interactivity can help your audience learn more effectively

The types of video content your business creates will vary depending on your objectives. However, one thing is certain – content that is innovative and different will stand out from the crowd. Whether you are trying to convert attention into sales, or deliver a creative learning experience for your audience, creating an immersive narrative will lead to heightened emotions and engagement. Interactivity is a proven way to deliver emotive content that best mimics a conversation in real life. 

For example, when delivering interactive video content that focuses on learning and development, questions and prompts throughout the video can facilitate engagement and stimulate learning through the act of doing. Verbal cues can also direct an audience to choose an option, as well as allowing creators to loop videos and reinforce the messaging through repeated content. 

Videos can also be used to mirror conversations by allowing for action to be taken through direct calls to action. When using pins to deliver shoppable videos, businesses can replicate a shopping experience by converting consumers in real time. Audiences can be prompted to take action while they are experiencing a spike in emotion in real time, rather than delaying the behavior. 

An example of putting the power in the user's hands.
An example of putting the power in the user’s hands.

In the ever-evolving digital sphere, businesses must stay ahead of the curve and adapt to the changing norms and trends. The psychology behind how information is retained has been studied at large, with social media and digital communication now having a deeper impact on how our brains process stimuli. The acceleration of video content as a primary form of communication can be extremely beneficial to businesses, but remember – innovation is key.