By the Numbers: Why Video Is Effective

Aug 7, 2017

At, we’re often asked if videos are effective tools for communicating HIV prevention and treatment information. Our experience, the work of our partners, and current research continue to support the use of video for informing and empowering individuals.

Concept illustrations of marketing various types of online content.

Using video as part of a comprehensive communication strategy can increase the engagement and effectiveness of the health messages. Recent data report:

  • Video is an extremely popular format for content delivery

    • 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week. (HubSpot, 2016 )

    • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter (Bloomberg )

    • 59% of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video (MWP) .

    • Among millennials, YouTube accounts for two-thirds of the premium online video watched across devices. (Google , 2016)

    • By 2017, video content will represent 74% of all internet traffic. (KPCB/Meeker, 2017 )

  • Video content increases engagement with target audiences

    • A Facebook video receives, on average, 135% more organic reach than a Facebook photo (Socialbakers , 2015).

    • People spend, on average, more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video than a video that’s no longer live (Facebook , 2016); and Facebook users comment 10X more on live videos than they do on regular videos (Facebook , 2016).

    • Videos are 6X more likely to be retweeted than photos and 3X more likely than GIFs (Twitter , 2016).

    • People spend on average 2.6x more time on pages with video than without (Wistia )

    • Including video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80% (EyeView )

    • Using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line boosts the open rates by 19% (Syndacast)

    • 52% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI (Syndacast) .

Video is also an excellent mechanism for providing technical assistance. A 2015 article from Vanderbilt University stated “several meta-analyses have shown that technology can enhance learning (e.g., Schmid et al., 2014), and multiple studies have shown that video, specifically, can be a highly effective educational tool (e.g., Kay, 2012; Allen and Smith, 2012; Lloyd and Robertson, 2012; Rackaway, 2012; Hsin and Cigas, 2013).” Furthermore, the National Teacher Training Institute reports that “teachers who use instructional video report that their students retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning.”

To learn more about how to use video for health communications, read CDC’s video best practices for developing videos recommend you:

  • Clearly define your objectives;

  • Know your target audience;

  • Determine moderating capacity; and

  • Establish an evaluation plan.

Furthermore, CDC’s best practices state that content creators should:

  • Keep your video content simple, short, and engaging;

  • Include a specific URL at the end of each video to guide the user to additional information; and

  • Establish a promotion plan.

Here are a few things our HIV colleagues had to say about using videos in their work.

Sarah Hashmall, Communications Manager at AIDS United, told us: “Videos are a great way to make content more accessible and inviting to a wider audience. Videos help people feel part of something bigger – and better convey emotion than text. We use video whenever we can get it. We frequently share videos from the CDC’s Act Against AIDS campaigns. They do a great job jump starting conversations on Facebook and Twitter and convey great information – a total win/win for us.”

William J. Nazareth, Jr, Director of Creative Media, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, said “As an LGBTQ focused community health center, Callen-Lorde understands that our communities access information in varying ways. With the growth of new media, it is vital that we meet people where they are in order to communicate in the most effective ways possible. Without video as a medium we could not spread information on important topics like pronouns and PrEP on platforms like Facebook and YouTube.”

For more resources on how is using video, follow us on Facebook and join one of our Facebook Live events and check out our recent blog post, Video Variety is Key to YouTube Success.

This post was originally published on the blog.

Disclaimer: All references to specific brands and/or companies are used only for illustrative purposes and do not imply endorsement by the U.S. federal government or any federal government agency.