Quick, if you had to give up any of your five senses, which would you choose?

I bet you didn’t pick your sight. Our experience of the world is perceived 83% with our sense of sight. Hearing ranks next at 11%, and smell, touch, and taste rank 3%, 2%, and 1% respectively. (Unless you’re a dog reading this, in which case I apologize for not communicating in the scent of sausages.)

For marketers, this might give a hint as to why video is the best medium for engaging and converting audiences to customers. It gives us a visual scene that becomes an experience in a way that text never can.

It’s true that video marketing is an art; it takes time and skill to do it right, and to craft a piece that truly engages viewers. But it’s also a science. Humans connect with the medium in a way that marketers need to understand; then we’ll be able to better understand our audience, and better achieve our goals.

Here’s what you need to know about the science of video:

Video is visually stimulating

Videos are 12 times more likely to be watched than text is to be read. That’s in part because movement is known to grab attention. Paying attention to motion is a skill that humans have always used to survive; it’s part of our DNA.

We pay attention to visuals quickly, too: humans get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Imagine how long it would take to describe a scene in text. In fact, take a look at this image from Uberflip, and you’ll see what I mean:

Visuals don’t just make us glance over at them, they make us think about them: 90% of information that’s transmitted to the brain is visual. And when they form a moving scene, you can’t look away!

Video conveys messages faster and easier

Visuals like video undeniably attract attention, and they’re processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than text. Humans are also hard-wired to avoid cognitive strain, so video is more enjoyable for viewers because it’s easier to absorb information when it’s in that format compared to any other.

65% of people are visual learners, and since one minute of video is the equivalent of 1.8 million words, that’s a lot of information people can absorb easily and in a very quick amount of time!

That’s why video works so perfectly for complex ideas; in a mere moment, someone can understand in just a few blinks of the eye what it would take pages to explain.

Video triggers emotions like no other medium

Have you ever noticed that when someone smiles or cries in a movie, you find yourself making a similar expression? Well, you can thank your brain’s mirror neurons for that. These mirror neurons fire similarly to how your brain would react if you were in the same situation as the person you’re watching.

It isn’t just about automatic facial expressions, either. Your brain reacts with an emotional response that is similar to how you would feel in the situation.

That means companies can utilize the power of viewers’ brains to create an emotional connection to the brand. Research shows that images that elicit emotional responses cause our brains to release a chemical called oxytocin. This chemical helps us form empathy, leading to emotional connections, and even helps to build trust in a product or brand.

That emotional connection helps convert viewers into customers: campaigns with purely emotional content have been shown to perform about twice as well as campaigns with only rational content.

Video is memorable

So, video gets you noticed, helps you explain things clearly and quickly, and elicits emotional responses like no other medium. But that won’t do much unless people remember you.

In one study, 80% of viewers recalled a video ad they have seen in the past 30 days. That’s pretty impressive; if a brand can stick out in their target audience’s mind, they’ll be that much closer to converting that audience.

The play button is considered the most compelling call to action in no small part because of the science of our eyes, brains, and emotional responses. If you’re trying to plan how best to allocate your marketing efforts and budget, you can’t argue with science: video is an extremely powerful marketing medium.

Emily Ross