Videos Encourage Viewers to Take Action

A new study has found that videos are more effective than text at prompting the public to take recommended health-related actions.

The study looked at the effects of video on public health websites. More specifically, it examined videos on websites that attempted to teach mothers of young daughters about potential breast cancer risks.

Website video health women action

The researchers compared two websites—the first website contained seven pages of text detailing the potential hazards and ways of avoiding a substance called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which has been linked to increased breast cancer risk; the second website contained the same text but also included four video clips, one on the homepage, and three dispersed throughout the site.

A group of 197 mothers were then divided into two groups and asked to view the sites. Two weeks after this event, a survey was conducted to assess the impact that the information had on them.

The study found that the website with video made a greater impact on mothers than the text-only site. In fact, those mothers who had viewed the video-enhanced website were more likely to have taken a greater number of actions to eliminate PFOA-containing materials from their homes. On average, this was one more risk protection measure than those who had visited the text-only website.

Adding Video to Homepages

Another valuable finding from the study related to video placement. Researchers found that the most important location for a video is a website’s homepage, as views tend to decline as viewers navigate away from the homepage. This highlights the need for brands and businesses to create at least one quality video that can be placed at the center of their homepages.

RTOWN - Digital Strategy, for small business 2014-01-24 15-49-36

Evan K. Perrault, lead author of the study, said that their findings emphasize the importance of video in explaining public health messages and he encourages health promoters to add video content to their current websites.

“Videos add an element of realness and richness to complicated topics. Videos can show people how to take action, instead of just text that can only tell them how.

“Videos can add significant cost to public health campaigns.

“[But] Our study indicates that videos are worth it if done right and are properly placed within a website.”