TBV Insights

Making numbers count in marketing videos

Are you making numbers count in marketing videos? I recently ran across through an oversized marketing infographic containing two dozen statistics intended to make the case that 2015, at last, The Year of Video Marketing. Presumably, sharing this infographic with the powers that be could help to boost video marketing budgets.

Making numbers count in marketing videos
This is one screenful (on my laptop) out of 14 in this infographic.

It is interesting to know that

  • 75% of business executives watch work-related videos at least weekly
  • 59% of of senior executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic on the same page, they prefer to watch the video

Letting your eye wander over numbers that quantify this, that, and the other, is part of what makes infographics fun.

It’s also interesting to know that these particular data points come from a study published in 2010, a fact not prominently displayed (or even mentioned) in the infographic. But most people probably don’t rely on infographics, or marketing videos, for rigorously qualified numbers. They just need to be interesting.

Interesting numbers

There’s a a famous anecdote related by the British mathematician G. H. Hardy of a visit to the his protégé Srinivasa Ramanujan.

I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. “No,” he replied, “it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.”
[1729 = 13 + 123 = 93 + 103 ]

Now, I confess that when this anecdote came to mind, I remembered the number as 1728, and I couldn’t remember what makes it interesting! Nevertheless, the number has resided — slightly diminished — in my brain for decades without being called upon until now. So there’s a lot to be said for interesting numbers, and I recommend trying to come up with one or two for every video.

What makes an interesting number in a video?

Numbers calculated to increase engagement. One way to involve the viewer and gain a little credibility is to show how a number is is calculated, or a particular result is achieved. In videos about data replication over distance (for Brocade), we’ve focused attention on how long it takes the cache to run out when there’s an outage. In videos about mainframe management (for BMC), we’ve shown calculations in units of CPU cycles.

Numbers about interesting things

Another of our clients, Cirba, makes analytics software for optimizing virtual environments. They like to cite a “typical” cost savings of 55%. What makes this interesting is that the savings are achieved by moving VMs to minimize the number of host licenses that need to be purchased. This is something not a lot of people have ever given much thought to — but it’s certainly interesting if you’re the one paying for the licenses.

Numbing numbers

Numbers you don’t want to think about may stick in the mind, too. In another BMC video about database management, the value proposition was based, in part, on the fact that there are 10,000 possible performance thresholds to choose from. Who wants to think about that? (Answer: you don’t need to, the software does it for you.)

Doubtless there are types of numbers that are useful in making your case in marketing videos. If you craft a good story around a number, and force the viewer to think about it, you stand a good chance of getting them to think differently about your solution.

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