Last month we talked about how research respondents have taken so enthusiastically to using video surveys, so this month we thought we’d look at video from the audience’s perspective.
Video is engaging – we all know this instinctively. It’s the reason why we have to wrench our children (and ourselves) off screens so often. It forms a large part of the entertainment and social media we consume these days, and the reasons we like it in that context can be similar to the reasons why it works so well in a research, marketing or PR environment.
Video doesn’t just add impact to a research presentation or an online report. The magic of video is its staying power in the audience’s mind. Research experiments by distinguished professor Richard E Mayer, an educational psychologist, have shown that compared with learning via text only, multimedia learning – i.e. absorbing information via a combination of text, pictures and video – results in much more accurate recall of that information hours, days and even years later.
This is the holy grail of market research. The usability of research for a business is paramount, and research can only be usable if it is presented in a way to which the audience can relate. Words on a PowerPoint slide are all very well, and certainly have their place in laying out key points, but they can be abstract rather than tangible. To communicate messages with maximum impact, nothing can beat putting the target market right in front of your client. There is an authenticity in seeing the very people you are marketing to voicing their opinions; there is a real live person with genuine thoughts and feelings behind those speech bubbles that you might otherwise have used to backup your bullet points.
If we have seen someone say or demonstrate something, we can understand their point more easily and remember it for longer. The combination of seeing and hearing, as Richard E Mayer’s research has proven, results in a stronger cognitive reaction than just seeing or just hearing. This is particularly true when a demonstration of some sort is involved. The ingredients that a chef chooses and the way she cooks them; the explanation of a complex argument on a Ted Talk: a recipe book and an academic paper are much less powerful ways to absorb the information.
What’s wrong with research being entertaining? It’s more likely to be remembered if it is. We’ve all encountered witty, eloquent respondents who articulate perfectly how consumers like them feel. Just think of Brenda from Bristol, the unwitting star of the 2017 election campaign whose incredulity at the news of another election went viral. If her words had been printed in a newspaper we would be unlikely to remember them now.
We all need a bit of light relief, especially if the research matter is dry or hard to get to grips with. Text and diagrams don’t always cut it. Videos break up a presentation or report, providing variety and a change of pace, keeping the audience’s attention for longer. You only have to watch an audience’s reaction to a market research video and the debate that follows it to know it stimulates thought.
As an information or sales tool, video is great at pulling an audience into the world of the story you are telling, helping them appreciate more fully the issues that concern them and their target audience. It makes for impactful, memorable research – the best kind of research there is.