The Video Content Revolution: Is Text Really Dead?

Tech predictions are often much more dramatic than they need to be. After all, only a handful of the dozens of “next big thing”s hyped by tech leaders and media outlets over the past couple of decades have actually gained widespread cultural prominence. Let’s take a look at the supposed video content revolution and see how accurate that take really is.


Video Killed the Radio Star…Supposedly


Whenever a new technology comes about, it’s usually accompanied by a good deal of hand wringing from the old guard and revolutionary excitement from the new. Such has been the case with video marketing content over the past few years. For example, this 2015 article from the Guardian declares that “online video is the future of content marketing.” When viewed through the lens of two years hindsight, though, it’s pretty clear that digital content hasn’t experienced the video transition that’s the focus of these kinds of predictions.


That’s not to say video isn’t important. A well-produced video is worth a thousand text posts on social media. Video is sharable, concise and incredibly effective for branding and advertising. But it’s not the end all be all. There are some things video can do that text alone can’t. But that opposing reality is a two-way street.


Where Video Falls Short


There are some areas where video actually falls short. For example, while a short step-by-step product demonstration can be a great way to orient a customer to a new product, scrubbing through a video to find the exact moment that describes a specific step is more of an annoyance than a hindrance. Even videos that have timestamp markers the user can click to often require some waiting before the key information comes back onto the screen. Written instructions, on the other hand, allow for a quick in-browser keyword search.


This may not seem like that big a deal, but that sort of convenience does make a difference for some consumers. Plus, at this point, search engine algorithms are more focused on text content than video. Video content shows up in a separate tab in Google search, and while that may change in the future, it shows that text is still important in the here and now.


Getting Ready for the Inevitable


However, it’s important to have perspective on this. The marketing industry consensus generally seems to swing toward heavy predictions of a video content takeover for the future, with studies projecting that 85% of search engine traffic will focus on video content within the next couple of years. Whether or not that exact figure comes to fruition (these kinds of projections can be way off—just a few years ago, some studies projected that 3D movies would become the standard rather than an anomaly that’s still failing to find its audience), the game is going to change. Anyone interested in staying ahead of the pack in the digital space is going to need to embrace video as an inevitability.

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