The Case Against Video – Should You Bet on Text-Based Content in 2017?

 

Let us tell you, it felt weird to write that headline!

Almost every week, we talk about how video is taking over the Web. At various points, we have discussed all kinds of video content: whiteboard animation, interactive video, social videos, and how to use it for everything from marketing to customer service.

But let’s face it, despite the staggering growth in video content, text isn’t going anywhere. In many ways, it’s still the most convenient format:

  • It’s easily searchable and transmittable.
  • It can be skimmed and understood more quickly in large volumes.
  • It’s the most compact way to store and share information.

Some people, like the author of this post, go so far as to say that text is the most powerful communication technology, bar none.

And as an entrepreneur, you should carefully consider where you will invest your hard-earned marketing dollars in 2017. And if text is still the medium of choice… why go with video?

In this post, we’ll try to do something we haven’t done in a while – predict!

Let’s put on our fortune-teller hats, pull out a crystal ball… and throw them away, because we don’t need them. Today’s prediction will be all about what data is telling us, what the current marketing trends are, and where the smartest people in the world see technology going…

So – should you bet on text rather than video in 2017? Let’s find out!

the-case-against-video

How Video Will Beat Text at Its Own Game

As we’ve mentioned before, text has some advantages video doesn’t. It can be searched, indexed, and organized to make navigation easier. It’s ideal for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to consume content. Finally, text doesn’t take anywhere near as much bandwidth to transmit as video does.

But here’s the thing: unlike video, text has been around for thousands of years. It had all the time in the world to evolve and become as versatile and convenient as it is today. Nowadays, we think about it as digital hypertext… but we forget that it used to be clay tablets, and hand-written manuscripts!

Text wasn’t always compact, or searchable, or easy to absorb. It took a long time to get there – and video is currently on a similar journey. It is still evolving as a format.

And all the signs point to the fact that very soon the advantages of video content will be comparable to those of text – and even outweigh them!

Let’s take a closer look…

Advantage #1. Navigation

With text, you can look up certain words and phrases in seconds, and find exactly what you’re looking for. With video, you can’t easily search for certain frames of phrases within it – you’d have to jump around the clip, or watch it at 2-3 times the normal speed, or find other workarounds.

According to Kevin Kelly, a renowned futurist and technology expert, that will change soon. In the near future, it’s going to be as easy to search the contents of the video, down to individual frames – or specific objects in a frame.

We see the beginnings of this right now:

  • Video platforms like YouTube get increasingly better at making videos more discoverable by tagging them, and making navigation easier with annotations. And Google is making more room to display videos in SERP, making it infinitely easier to learn about something by watching a video, rather than reading an article.
  • User themselves make the effort to tag, comment on, and otherwise mark specific points in video and audio content… sometimes completely transforming giant video clips and sound recordings into something easily searchable and, as a result, more enjoyable.
  • Machine Learning has the potential to speed up the process of identifying and cataloguing every piece of visual data ever put online: images, videos, even surveillance footage. Even if people don’t finish the (frankly, impossible-sounding) task of mapping the world’s video content, Artificial Intelligence will.

For now, text still has the edge when it comes to navigation. But it’s about to change.

Advantage #2. Interactivity

Have you ever had the experience of going on Wikipedia to look up something specific… only to end up 2 hours later, reading an article on a completely random topic, like “Nuclear power in China”?

That’s the power of hypertext – one of the first genuinely interactive media, responsible for the Internet as we know it. Right now, you can fall down the rabbit hole of hyperlinks that goes on forever – or until you get bored. Or you can take any word of combination of words, and look up anything on the topic instantly.

Video doesn’t have the same level of interactivity yet, but it’s getting there. Interactive video already exists, allowing you to shape your experience as you go (like this charming clip from IKEA). So does virtual reality, which immerses you into an experience as completely as possible. And then there’s the first interactive feature-length movie that came out this year…

Watching a video used to be a completely static experience – just like reading a clay tablet, or leafing through a book. But the technology is finally there to even the odds.

Advantage #3. Ease of understanding / absorbing

At first glance, it seems like video would have a clear upper hand here. After all, our brain processes visual input 60,000 times faster than text.

But the thing is, it’s much easier to make an interesting text narrative than an engaging video.

Plus, a reader can choose which bits of the text they consume, while a viewer usually needs to sit through the entire video – assuming it’s not interactive – to get the full benefit. Skipping around, speeding it up, or rewinding often makes it even harder to retain the information.

But there are situations when video absolutely dominates text when it comes to ease of understanding. For instance:

  • When your video has engaging visuals and a narration, it’s much more likely to stick with the viewer. That’s why we love whiteboard animation videos so much we make them for a living!
  • When you’re communicating in a language that’s not native for your customer, it helps to enhance your message with visuals. And since several billion people will be going online in the next 5 years, you want to be understood as easily as possible!
  • For certain types of content that benefit from visuals (e.g. humorous content), video will always be the go-to option compared to text.

Bottom line is, when it came to Advantage #3, video had the inherent edge all along. And now modern technology and 21st-century trends will help it capitalize on them.

Advantage #4. Compactness

We don’t need to explain this one much. As Internet bandwidth increases globally, and we discover new ways to compress data effectively, video will become as easy to transmit as text is now. Even now, Ultra HD (videos in 4K resolution) becomes more commonplace, with services like Netflix and YouTube embracing the new benchmark of quality.

Of course, if your goal is, for example, to preserve the collective knowledge of humanity in a safe place – you know, just in case we have a planet-wide apocalypse! – text will fit your purposes much better.

But otherwise, compactness will cease to be an advantage within the next decade.

So… Should You Invest in Video in 2017, Yes or No?

Short answer – yes. By 2018, 84% of Internet traffic will be video, in one form or another. Whatever target market you sell to, they will be watching video – and you’ll have a great opportunity to reach them.

Even if you don’t have the budget for something fancy like an interactive video, or a dazzling whiteboard animation, there are ways for your brand to produce terrific video content without breaking the bank:

  • Create social videos that engage your target customers on the websites they use most often.
  • Make every video you create work 10 times harder by repurposing it into other types of content, so you get the most bang for your buck.
  • Invest in one of the under-used – and inexpensive – video marketing formats: like testimonials and case-studies, teardowns, and user-generated videos.

That being said, “text or video” is a trick question in itself – as with most “A vs. B” questions, the smart answer would be to say yes to both. Yes, you should emphasize video in your marketing, because in many ways, 2017 is going to be the “Year of Video”.

On the other hand, for channels like email, blogs, and a large part of social media, text is going to remain indispensable – and you should invest in it as well. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much!

But if you ever thought about where the future of marketing is going, there shouldn’t be any doubt in your mind – for 2017 and beyond, it’s with video. And that means, so is yours!

P.S. An awesome whiteboard animation video can make a huge difference in your marketing in 2017. That could mean attracting more attention to your brand, multiplying your revenue, and getting more lifelong customers than ever before – just ask these brands who partnered with The Draw Shop!

We want to make it as easy as possible for you to grow your business in 2017 – and that’s why we’re happy to announce a limited-time holiday promotion, just for our amazing blog readers!

Here’s how it works: until January 5th, you can get 20% off any whiteboard video you create with us. If you’re reading this, that means you qualify!

All you need to do is bring up this promotion when you talk to The Draw Shop team, and we’ll apply the discount for you.

Call us today at 844-619-DRAW to chat about what kind of amazing video will make your year – and claim your holiday discount! Or, if you prefer, contact us here.

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