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The Psychology of How People React to Videos

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I would say there was a big tipping point in my business.

It was the moment I moved from print to video.

When I first started the Science of People I wrote articles, wrote columns, wrote ebooks and wrote books. This is all one medium. In the online business world there are a few you can work in:

  • Writing: Articles, blogs, books, ebooks
  • Visual: Infographics, Videos, Graphics
  • Audio: Podcasts, recordings, webinars

Everyone consumes content in different ways. I realized my sweet spot for my ideal reader (you) was actually visual. I needed to do more videos.

We knew videos were more of a fit than articles because our videos grew and went viral so much faster than our articles! But why?

I partnered with Dialsmith to help me figure out why some videos work and others don’t. A few months ago we posted 2 versions of a book promo for my new book Captivate!

Version #1: Short White

The short white version was a quick promo and shot on a white background (you can see it in the video below).

Version #2: Long Grey

The long version felt more like a laboratory because it was filmed on grey and had a bit more explanation (you can see it in the video below).

Dialsmith helped me figure out the emotional activity while people watched each video.

Dialsmith has tools to measure emotional activity—dials for in-person focus groups and, in the case of our study, a slider of online surveys.. So as people watch the video online, they move the slider left or right to indicate if they like or dislike what they’re viewing and the intensity of that feeling.

For this project, Dialsmith developed a survey to measure the appeal of the two different versions of the promo. We surveyed 100 people and segmented participants based on:

  • Gender
  • Employment status
  • Relationship status
  • Likelihood to purchase the book
  • Preferred book genre

The Winner!

The Long Grey version won by far–with an average rating of 68. The Short White had a 56! Watch the results in this video:

From Dialsmith after looking at the ratings:

“Ratings for both videos show a strong preference for when Vanessa is on screen and there is a notable drop in appeal during the various montages featuring other characters. The longer version received a higher overall score (68 vs 56), largely bolstered by two segments of Vanessa on screen.”

captivate, captivate book, captivate book promo

I also noticed that the ratings went up when I used EMOTION words. Like:

  • I believe
  • Here’s the bottom line
  • I promise

So we actually made a new combo video of the promo keeping all the best parts. Here is the final version of our book promo! I hope you like it!

Bottom Line: I love experiments–and you never know what will happen!

Also major thanks:

  • Thank you so much to Dialsmith for their amazing help with this experiment.
  • Thank you to Maggie Kirkland at Honeysuckle Photography for shooting both versions.
  • Thank you to the whole Science of People team AND all the actors who helped us shoot these videos!

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