Social Media: Videos vs. Photos – Which One is More Engaging

Wendy Dessler - Guest Writer
By Wendy Dessler - Guest Writer
November 23, 2020 · 5 min read

Utilizing visual elements in social media marketing is an effective way to attract an audience and boost engagement. Since video marketing has become an industry buzzword, it leaves a lot of businesses wondering where their focus should be: video or photo posts?

Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of videos vs photos on social media and which type of content is more engaging.

The Benefits of Social Media Videos

The overarching benefit of social media videos is that marketers can convey more information in less time. This feature makes them a powerful alternative to blog posts and improves their accessibility and reach. Videos are also incredibly versatile and can range from quick, trending challenges that boost engagement to informative live tutorials that will enhance brand awareness and product familiarity.

There’s also evidence that shows that videos interact better with the various social media algorithms. Facebook released a statistic that videos tend to get more engagement than other types of content, with live videos earning six times more engagement than a pre-recorded video.

The Pitfalls of Social Media Videos

While video may seem like the clear winner, there are some downsides to this incredible marketing tool. Creating video content takes more time and effort than creating picture-based posts. Video marketers need to outline how a piece will come together, whether through editing or as a live production. With that being said, there are also ways to create professional looking marketing videos without spending too much time or money. Create social media marketing videos in just 30 minutes with this guide.

Another specific challenge businesses face when using video marketing is quality. While the technology for creating high-quality videos is readily available, many businesses don’t know where to start. So if you need some help getting started, check out these 12 tactics for creating successful social media videos.

Furthermore, the length is also an issue. For a video to boost engagement, completion is important. While the main benefit of a video is sharing lots of information in a brief period of time, that can also be the biggest challenge. Keeping the video short and sweet is integral for success.

Finally, it’s worth noting that many viewers prefer to watch videos on social media without sound as the vast majority view content on a mobile device. As such, businesses need to cater their content to this audience, by using closed captioning and foregoing loud music.

The Benefits of Social Media Photos

Adding a photo to a post can boost retention and resonate with an audience on a different level. People who read or hear information without visual cues have a 10% retention rate when asked to recall that information a few days later. Conversely, those who see an image with the information have a 65% retention rate. 

Using photos is a fantastic way to stop people from scrolling and build a strong brand in an aesthetically pleasing way. Images tap into a different part of the brain and create an emotional response that could get associated with your business. 

Posting photos is also quick and easy, making it more attainable for many small businesses with limited resources. Rather than worrying about putting together a storyboard and editing a video, businesses can post a selfie of their team from an event, quickly review the best self-portrait hashtags guide, and share an engaging piece of content within a matter of minutes.

The Pitfalls of Social Media Photos

Many businesses have discovered that images don’t elicit the same compulsion to click and share, which dramatically impacts social media reach. Studies have shown that the movement and visual stimulation of a video is more likely to stop a scroller in their tracks. 

While videos are more costly to create, they often have a higher ROI than photos when used in Facebook advertisements. It can also be challenging for businesses to come up with new ideas for photo content, whereas videos have more potential in that regard. 

Another thing to consider with social media photos is that they’ve been done. Video content is novel right now, with people flocking to TikTok, Facebook Lives, and Instagram reels because they’re different. Static images have been around for some time now. Novelty goes a long way when appealing to an audience that requires constant entertainment.

Videos vs. Photos: Which is Better?

In simplest terms, videos are better at driving engagement than photos. However, that doesn’t mean you should put all of your eggs in one basket. Realistically, having a blend of video and photo posts is an effective way to reach your audience and improve engagement over time.

It’s also important to ensure your content is intentional and relevant. Don’t make videos just because they drive engagement; make videos to connect with your audience and develop brand loyalty. 

Always remember to consider your goals when creating video or photo content. You may find that videos drive more engagement, but photos lead to more conversions. Consider developing an A/B testing strategy and using the insights to make data-driven decisions about future campaigns.

It’s undeniable that video content is worth exploring for engaging your audience and growing your business, but don’t forget the basics of content marketing as a whole. 

Still not convinced? Click here for a video ads vs. image ads comparison.

If you loved this article, you won’t want to miss:
1. TikTok vs YouTube – Which Should You Choose in 2022?
2. Social SEO 101: Exploring the Impact of Social Media on SEO
3. The Best Time to Post on Instagram

About the author

Wendy Dessler - Guest Writer

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Your video marketing education
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