The Value of Video

Written by Josh Barr • Posted on September 11, 2019
The Value of Video Cover Photo

As touched on in a previous post (Online Qualitative @SCALE), video was touted to have huge potential as a medium for qualitative insight and understanding. Beyond the fact that videos are one of the dominant ways in which people communicate in today’s online and social media environments, videos also help with direct research efforts.

Adding video collection to your research designs – or designing your research around video collection – can help improve the actionability of your results in many ways:

  1. More genuine data with connection and depth
  2. Higher productivity due to video collaboration
  3. Improved customer experiences

1. More genuine data with connection and depth

Using the analog of traditional in-person qualitative research, this approach has historically been fraught with the limitations of being small scale and potential for bias (mainly social desirability and observer biases). Although these limitations can be tempered, the idea of qual as small has really been borne out of circumstantial necessity – it’s too expensive to engage with lots of people in-person and across multiple locations.

In today’s online environments however, video is more prominent than ever. Videos are shared on platforms like Facebook and Instagram – many of which are candid and in-the-moment – like it’s second nature. YouTube acts as the premiere online video library and has even become the second largest search engine as of this year. All of this to say that the dominance and continuously increasing importance of video is here to stay and should be embraced by research wholeheartedly since it enables the ability for:

Authentic and in the moment thoughts and experiences free from traditional bias

Validation of written attitudes and responses by hearing it directly from the person

Potential for further understanding (e.g. a posteriori, semiotic and kinesic insights)

2. Higher productivity due to video collaboration

Video and visual media has helped to transform businesses by enhancing scalability and uniformity through things like how-to videos, tutorials, guides including GIFs for flows etc. In other cases, video has streamlined communication and learning reducing the overall amount of time spent on the efforts. Whichever way you slice it, these benefits can extend to research projects either expediting things or providing a whole new additional component.

Getting participants to answer more complex or personal questions in a way that allows their eccentricities to take center stage will inevitably be easier and more genuine than trying to type everything out and stymieing the free flow of expression. This simple switch from a series of open-ended text questions to a video based approach fosters better collaboration and can be more productive as it:

Provides a quicker and more effective way to communicate (more inherent context)

Reduces the need for redundancy and supplementary back and forths

Lends itself to output that is already presentable and highly communicative

3. Improved customer experiences

People prefer videos nowadays and its fairly ubiquitous across all subsets. More than half of consumers want more video content from brands and businesses. Not only does this reality result in more video concept testing research needs but it also means that projects themselves should be more video based to be more meaningful. There’s many learnings from the video marketing side of things that can be directly translated into research practice like how:

  • People enjoy watching and interacting with video most online as a medium
  • People prefer being informed through demonstration primarily (e.g. tutorials)
  • People will stay on-page longer and are more attentive when video is involved

Since video has a noted influence on decisions and is something that people enjoy interacting with on company social media channels, why not extend that to branded research spaces? Since videos help keep people stay on a webpage longer and pay more attention, why not pose your questions or do exercise walkthroughs as videos? This type of approach makes your research more accessible, kickstarts the video reciprocity principle and helps to contribute to an enhanced overall stakeholder experience!

We are most certainly living in a visually driven world that will continue to foster change in how we collect and analyze data as well as its resulting dissemination. Consumers and stakeholders will increasingly use video as their go-to sources and companies will leverage video beyond marketing (which is already the default practice) to stimulate and enrich these external connections. Designs that are more video laden will surely create more immersive research landscapes and generate more thorough data.

In addition to what’s been explored above, being able to tell your story using videos that reinforce your takeaways with additional voices only serves to improve the usability of those results. The value of video is not just in its depth of visual context but also its narrative power and ability to create an imprint. People are social creatures at the end of the day so getting to actually see and hear feedback from real people is what’s often going to be remembered over the numbers – which are more so referenced.

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