Is video better than text? Well, do you believe a picture is worth a thousand words?

Yes? Then what about a video?

A few years back, Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research suprised the eLearning and marketing spheres with his announcement: “1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” The blog journalists went nuts. It’s a bit of a joke, but one with some simple math behind it.


1min video – 1.8 million words

One standard second of video is made up of 30 frames. A frame is a single picture, which we’re assuming is worth 1000 words, from the oh-so-famous saying. That means one second of video is worth 30,000 words (30×1000), then times 60 seconds gets us those golden 1.8 million words worth of text.

1000 x 30 x 60 = 1,800,000

That’s the same as 3,600 web pages, at average length. Or, if you were to imagine that it only took an hour for a developer to create one normal sized web page, it would still take 150 days to finish that amount of text. So this may not be the most scientifically correct saying. But there’s merit in what McQuivey is saying. After all:

        1. 76% of people claim that they currently use video solutions at work (Polycom)
        2. 96% of businesses say video help train employees better and faster (Kaltura)
        3. 98% of organizations are predicted to use video as part of their digital learning strategy (AmbientInsight)

Proverbial sayings aside, the advantage of video in marketing or eLearning simply cannot be overstated. Video isn’t just desired by your learners; it’s expected by them – and they expect more by the second. Your audience wants quality, they want entertainment, and at the end of the day, they want to remember the information they just learned. Let’s look a bit deeper into why video just works so well to accomplish these three things.

It’s physiologically ingrained in us to love video better than text

40% of the nerve fibers in our brains are dedicated to the retinas, and 90% of all information that comes to the brain is visual. It’s a “no-brainer” that’s as a result, the majority of people are considered “visual learners.”

Visuals are processed in the brain 60,000 times faster than text, and they’re stored in the part of your brain that stores “long-term memory.” And here’s what you really want to know – that part of the brain is called the medial temporal lobe – which just happens to also be where human emotions are processed.

All this makes video quick to understand, easy to remember, and naturally evocative of emotion and feeling. Text just can’t compare to the power of video to get your message across.


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