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A Video Is Worth 1.8 Million Words: Special Value of Video

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but how much is a video worth? The value of video goes beyond basic ROI calculations. After all, a single explainer video can be the catalyst that launches a billion dollar business. 

Ever heard of Dropbox? If you have, it’s because that one explainer video had effects that rippled out to today. 

Many marketers have tried to find the value of video. On YouTube’s official blog, Troy Olson and Jeff Loquist of ShoppersChoice wrote, “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million!” 

They were pointing to how value helps amplify their message and build their brand. And many marketers are likely to agree. But it’s possible to get even more specific.

The Value of Video: A Scientific Approach

Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester took a more measured approach to calculating the value of video. In his study, How Video Will Take Over the World, he wrote that “Video is worth 1.8 million words.” 

That’s words per minute, by the way. You’re packing 1.8 million words of information into every minute of your video. To put that in perspective, 1.8 million words is roughly 3,600 pages of text. That’s the equivalent of reading the entire Lord of the Rings series, 3 times! 

This might sound like a random number, but there’s real math behind it. It all comes down to the number of shots in an average video. Let’s consider the formula. 

Why Video is Worth 1.8 Million Words – By The Numbers

Video is Worth 1.8 Million Words

McQuivey’s equation looks something like this:

  1. 1 picture = 1,000 words
  2. Video shoots at 30 frames per second*
  3. Therefore, 1 second of video = 30,000 words
  4. 30,000 words x 60 seconds (a common explainer video length) = 1.8 million.
  5. Ta-da

There is some variation in these numbers. Video frame rates can actually vary between 24 fps all the way up to 120 fps. So there may be more or fewer frames per second in any given video.

You might be thinking, sure, but I don’t experience every individual image when I’m watching a video so why are we counting every frame? 

You may not process every detail of every image, but we take in a lot more subconscious information than you might think. Scientists generally accept that the human eye can process images at up to 60 fps and some studies go even higher.

So if the best length for a video is around 2 minutes, you’re looking at 3.6 million words of value for every video you post.

The Value of Video or What 1.8 million Words Will Get You

The best way to prove this theory is to look at the real impact of video on marketing plans. Remember when Olson and Loquist gushed about the value of video? Here are the kinds of results that make marketers so excited. 

1. Video Makes Information Easier to Remember

Studies have found that people remember what they see better than what they read or hear. One study found that adding pictures to audio helped people retain 65% of the information three days later. Compare that to people who only heard the voiceover and remembered 10%.

Hubspot research also found that 80% of customers remember a video they viewed in the last month. Video is just better than text or still images alone.

2. Video Boosts Engagement

As micro video content continues to drive social media and sites like Facebook, the economy and immediate impact of video becomes more apparent. There’s a reason Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn have all added tons of video functionality over the last decade. 

Websites see better engagement with video too. One MarketingProfs study found that the average user spends 88% more time on a website if it has video. 

Video can cram everything you want to say into just a few seconds. As more people watch more video on mobile devices, video has become the default way to communicate information. That’s good news for any company with video.

3. Video Builds Consumer Confidence

If you want consumers to trust you, video might be the tool you’ve been looking for. About 70% of shoppers said video helps them understand what they’re buying. About 45% said videos make them feel more confident in their purchases. 

In short, people like to see what they’re going to buy. If they can’t physically touch it in a store, watching a video is the next best thing. Video may be even more valuable when the product is a service or experience. It lets shoppers test-drive what they’re getting. 

How to Find the Value Of Video For Your Brand

High quality, marketing and explainer videos are incredibly valuable. People want helpful content that can answer their questions in seconds, and video is still the only way to do that. Ignore the crazy marketing stats and wild theories, and embrace video as the fastest, most effective way to reach new leads.

For more details on how you can calculate the ROI on your video – or the one you plan to make – watch Will’s five-step Calculating ROI series. You can also download our free eBook for tips on how to succeed with animated video.

And if you would like to see how many words you can make your video be worth, whether it’s in 2d animation, 3d animation, whiteboard or mixed media, contact us for a no-obligation consultation.

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