It kind of goes without saying by no that video content is the hottest thing in digital marketing. Users are screaming out for more video and business owners are investing more every year to deliver it.

At least that’s what all the talk on video content seems to tell us. The experts say it’s the future of marking, the studies show us how effective it is and video continues to take hold of the web. The question we want to ask today, though, is whether video content is always the best way to tell your story.


The case for video content

We’re not here to trash talk video or suggest you shouldn’t invest in it. We fully endorse the use of video content in any decent content strategy. Instead, we want to talk about what video is good for, when you should use it and (more importantly) when you perhaps shouldn’t.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the hype and assume video is best form of content for every need. We don’t think that’s always the case, though. And, before we explain why, let’s take a look at what video content is good at.


Video says a lot, very quickly

When video content first became a real possibility on the web it was its power to quickly communicate that had everyone excited. Dr James McQuivey once famously said video would overtake the world. He argues that, if an image is worth a thousand words then a minute of video is worth 1.8 million.


This is because video doesn’t simply rely on words or static visuals. It combines moving images with text, dialogue, music and various other elements to create an assault in the senses. If done properly, the end result is an impression no amount of words can replicate.


Video engages people quickly

As video content started to mature, the stats emerged to back up what we already knew. Video is more engaging than other forms of content. Again, this is because of all the different elements at play. Video simply stimulates more senses than text or an image alone. Try watching a film without the sound on and see if it has the same dramatic impact. It doesn’t. Because video is all about engaging the senses in one hit. Take one out of the equation and the impact is lost


What does this say about when to use video content?

When you consider video allows you to say more, faster and it encourages people to listen more effectively, it’s hard to think of a situation where you wouldn’t want to use it. That’s not the case, though. Some occasions seem made for video content but there are also times that call for an alternative. Let’s start by looking at some cases where video tends to shine.


When you have an emotional story to tell

The true power of video lies in its ability to connect with people on an emotional level. This is why TV adverts thrived for so many years until the digital world made them less relevant. Yet video ads, both online and offline, inspire people to take action, buy products and make important decisions.


When you want to convince people to act now

The power of video to inspire action is why you’ll see it so commonly used for explainer video, charity campaigns and other situations where marketers need people to act right after they’ve finished watching.


This is also why video boasts the impressive conversion rates you’ll hear so many marketers talk about.


When you have a highly visual product or service to promote


This one kind of goes without saying but if your design team has spent months carefully crafting the outer shell of your product, you want to show it off. Think ads for sports cars or premium tech products that slowly pan across the curved contours of a product. It’s that seductive element of design you’re playing on and video is the only way to go about it.

When you want people to remember information later on

This is another benefit to video that has been known since the dawn of moving images. We naturally respond to movement and a variety of information types. Some of us remember text more than speech, others visual cues more than either. Video allows you to combine all of these to create information variety and back up the key points in a way that makes them easier to remember later on.


This doesn’t mean video is perfect for every occasion, though

Despite all the positives, there are times when video isn’t quite so appropriate. The key is to know when to use video and how to integrate it into your content strategy. Here are some cases where video might not work so well.


When you can’t tell your story quickly

In 2012, Wistia offered up these insights on video length and engagement:


The results show people are far more likely to stay engaged for short videos. There are various reasons for this. First of all, short videos tend to have a quicker pace to them. But people are also busy and when they see your video is 30 minutes long, you’re expecting a lot from them.

So, if you can’t tell your story quickly or break it up into episodes of some kind, consider other options.



When you’re giving practical instructions

One of the best uses for online video is tutorial content. Not all tutorials are the same, though, and sometimes video may not be the easiest resource for people to use. For example, if you’re giving technical instructions it may be hard for viewers to keep up with the natural pace of your video.

So be careful when it comes to creating instruction-based content. Sometimes video can make your message more difficult to follow.


When you don’t have a content alternative

The worst thing you can do with any type of content is make it inaccessible. If people can’t access it, your message is lost and video can cause a few problems here.


The fact is video isn’t always practical. Sometime the environment doesn’t suit, the audience would rather read or the content is simply better suited to another format. So always think about how you can back up your video content with alternatives for those who want something different.


When you don’t have a story to tell

Video is great for storytelling but not every piece of content necessarily has a story. The reason infographics became so effective is because they cram dull statistics into a visually engaging format. You don’t need a story, you just plaster your most impressive stats and figures on a page and then animate around them. Sometimes storytelling isn’t the way to go.


Make no assumptions, consider every piece of content

Our aim today isn’t to question the effectiveness of video content. It’s definitely the way to go in modern marketing and there’s a place for it in every strategy. What we want to make clear, though, is that video isn’t the best form of content for every situation and you need to use it in the most effective places. This is something you don’t often hear in blog posts and studies highlighting the wonders of video. There’s a time and a place for everything and that means knowing when and where not to use things, too.


If you need any more tips on how to use video content most effectively, get in touch with our team or reach out to us on social.