Chapter Five: Dollars and Senses
Why is video the best way to tell a story? Video is the optimal form of communicating information because when you stimulate the auditory and visual senses at the same time, a viewer’s retention rate greatly increases.
When you read or listen to something, you’re stimulating the auditory sense. Studies show that if you only stimulate the auditory sense, people retain just 10% of that information. But when you stimulate both the auditory and the visual senses, you end up with a retention rate of 68%. This involves the dual-coding theory.
Dual-coding theory refers to what happens when you simultaneously receive information verbally and visually. Information you receive verbally is coded in one way and information you receive visually is coded in another. So to have both acting together allows for a person to really comprehend what he or she is being shown. If someone is a more visual learner, the images are necessary to help him or her understand information. If someone is a more auditory learner, then the words support the images. With dual coding, everyone is catered to specifically, and in the best way possible.
The verbal information is processed sequentially, so that each word has a representation for a meaning.
When you support the auditory channel with a visual, more details that can be stored away in memory because rather than being sequential, the image is more holistic.
That’s why video, and especially animated video, is so effective. (It’s important to note that having a head speaking to the camera is not necessarily dual coding, because in that case, the video would only be stimulating the auditory sense.)
So you’ve got two memory traces, with two different kinds of coding, which means there are more paths leading to the memory.
Having memories is one thing, but being able to retrieve them is actually the important part. You have to be able to go in and find where the information is stored, so the more entry points, the better.
In a 60-second story, we want to combine audio and visual metaphors to not only reduce the amount of time it takes to tell the story, but to activate more long-term memory. When people retain information longer about who you are, what you do, and what benefits you have to offer, they are more likely to visit your website, click on a link, send you an e-mail, or call you.
Retail site visitors who view video stay two minutes longer on average and are 64% more likely to purchase than other site visitors. – Comscore, August 2010