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It turns out videos have potentially more advertising power than any other type of media, and here is whykeattikorn/Getty Images/iStockphoto

YouTube is a household name, but when it comes to marketing, do online videos really have more than entertainment value? The proliferation of videos across company websites and the creation of company YouTube and Vimeo channels is not a passing fad. It turns out videos have potentially more advertising power than any other type of media, and here is why.

1. Our brains are hardwired to focus on faces. Part of the brain's visual machinery, the fusiform facial area is designed to process human faces. Since time immemorial, humans have gathered important social clues from faces, including levels of trustworthiness. Our neurological wiring encourages us to perceive faces as centers of valuable information. Watching videos enhances a person's, and therefore a product or service's, appeal. This likely has more than a slight bearing on why watching videos leads to higher conversion rates.

2. People who watch videos are more likely to convert.

Dozens of studies tout video's effect on higher conversion rates. Findings suggest that video viewers are anywhere from 64 per cent to 174 per cent more likely to purchase a product (download case study here). Numbers vary, but what they all have in common is video's significant increase over conversion rates from other forms of media.

After seeing a product video, 52 per cent of individuals report having more confidence in their purchases. The longer a person stays on a site the more likely she is to purchase something. Even those who don't buy anything tend to remain on a site with video roughly 9 per cent longer, increasing their engagement and the amount of information they retain.

3. Video is more easily syndicated, searched and shared than text.

Leading blogs tend to post content only if it has not been featured in other places multiple times already. Fresh textual content raises their Google search rating and makes them seem like thought leaders. Fortunately, the same is not necessarily true for videos. Google and other well-known search engines are attempting to make search outcomes more universal, which means more inclusive of video and other media. A site's rankings may be helped rather than hurt by including oft-watched videos.

Video provides plentiful opportunities for expanding a company's SEO reach. Using keywords in video descriptions, tags and sitemaps improves search engine results. Video SEO is another weapon in the attention-getting arsenal–one that too many companies are not yet implementing. This alone gives those who do use video SEO a head-start from the beginning.

Video is also much easier to share than text. According to Comscore's February 2013 U.S. Online Video Rankings, at least 83.3 per cent of everyone who uses the Internet in the U.S. watches video online. The audience is there. There are a plethora of outlets for videos, including YouTube, video podcasts on iTunes, embedded links on a company's website, Facebook page. Companies can also embed video links in comments and posts on others' Facebook pages.

In a world where humans seek crucial information from faces that can be recorded with the click of a button, relying solely on text is no longer a viable marketing strategy. Videos are essential in the current marketplace because of their ubiquity, conversion rates and even biological appeal. People watching product videos receive face-to-face information they are biologically more likely to trust, spurring conversion rates. Content leaders actively seek rising video to repost, unlike popular articles which may hurt search rankings. Social media sites provide a wealth of opportunities for video syndication. All indicators point to video claiming the coveted highest converter position for years to come.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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