The Psychology Behind Video Consumers

The average attention span for consumers is only 8.25 seconds of video, according to Adage. If you want an effective video, that means you need to capitalize on this brief time span. To hook your viewers instantly, first understand the psychology behind video consumers. Then, you can implement strategies that capture and intrigue.  


Read on to learn how marketers apply knowledge of consumer psychology to video marketing with techniques that lead consumers to identify with ideas, provoke emotion and drive attitudes and behavior.


Psychology Principles In Marketing

There are a number of psychology principles that will aid in your understanding of how the minds of consumers operate. Here are two effective examples with easy-to-implement strategies.


The Verbatim Effect

The verbatim effect conveys that people tend to primarily remember the general essence of what you publish as opposed to distinct facts or specifics. Therefore, you shouldn’t obsess over a detailed script that overloads your viewer with information. Instead, focus on perfecting video headlines, titles, captions, descriptions and opening/closing shots. Include as much information in these labels as possible, while still being concise. You want to ensure that the takeaway from your video is clear and that the main message is memorable.


Facebook does a good job at emphasizing a clear takeaway in a video about groups. The title for the video is intriguing and summarizes the video while prompting action. The narration is simple but relatable. The opening and closing shots are bookend titles and questions that are succinct but effective. Though viewers might not remember the specific groups that characters in the video joined, the message is memorable: use Facebook to find others with common interests and to find groups to share these with.


The Principle of Social Proof

The principle of social proof occurs when consumers follow actions of those that they like, admire or trust. On blogs and articles, social sharing and follow buttons are key to encouraging individuals to influence their network. A display of an accurate number of shares, comments and views may cause site visitors to follow suit, promoting distribution and further discussion. You may want to consider showcasing your video on a platform where these metrics are visible.


Facebook is also a great platform to encourage your viewers to share photos with their followers. This makes it easier for content to go viral. For example, The Late Late Show with James Corden shares episodes on their Facebook page, which shows the number of likes, comments and shares. Adele’s Carpool Karaoke has currently been shared over 31,000 times and has over 17,000 comments on Facebook. These large numbers make the video appear popular and well-liked, making it more likely for other viewers to watch and share a laugh with friends.     

Find What Makes People Tick


Because videos are useful for producing emotional cues—even more so than photos—video marketers should tell a story in a way that reaches consumers’ hearts and minds. Tell stories that are comprehensive and appeal to a broad range of senses.


For some people, your advertisements are persuasive through their presentation of logical, easy to follow facts. But for many other consumers, videos are more powerful when they trigger subliminal cues and evoke particular emotional reactions. Make your video more memorable by utilizing features like locations, audio, and lighting that will appeal to the target audience. Adjust the factors of the video to fit your customer’s needs and wants, such as design, technical aspects, colors, etc. 


Other than the design of the video, your overarching narrative themes will produce emotional responses. Pay attention to detail to ensure that certain feelings are internalized after watching your video. 


A successful example of persuading through peripheral route is Buzzfeed and Purina’s Puppyhood video which uses cues that appeal to the average dog owner. The video’s backgrounds are familiar to the target audience, as the owner is seen in his home and at locations that other dog owners may frequent, including the pet shop and the park. Viewers can relate to a normal home life with a dog accompanying an owner’s typical daily tasks. Typical puppy mishaps, like destroying household items and making a mess, will resonate with dog owners. The video evokes empathy using relatable comedy.

Furthermore, build direct and personal relationships with your audience. Add an emotional human touch to effectively appeal to pathos (emotions) and logos (logic), turning viewers into paying customers.


RELATED: How To Make A Video


Target emotional soft spots for your viewers. For example, cute animal videos tend to be successful even if they have nothing to do with the product. A heart-warming Green Buzz video that targets emotions is the Love Has No Labels campaign for Ad Council, spreading acceptance and cherishing love in all forms.

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is another example of persuasion by appealing to ethics and emotional connection. Dove presents stories about embracing natural beauty and encouraging confidence among women. This campaign successfully revived the brand by altering perceptions and the definition of beauty.



Incorporating knowledge of the psychology behind consumers into video marketing is a foolproof way to reach the target market and increase ROI. Determine what makes people tick, be authentic, and appeal to emotions.

Updated on February 12, 2020.

Sophia Gribbs, Marketing at Green Buzz Agency. Emily Herman contributed to this post.