TPR 5/21/21: How does "number of views" affect your message?

The Persuasion Report


TPR 5/21/21: How does "number of views" affect your message?
By Mark Tosczak • Issue #21 • View online
1-minute read
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How does "number of views" affect your message?
Number of views on a YouTube video
Number of views on a YouTube video
Does having more view on a video make the message more persuasive? You might think so. Perhaps more views signify an implicit endorsement, a form of social proof? Or perhaps it triggers the bandwagon effect, encouraging people to join in to support something?
Turns out that people are a bit smarter than that.
Researchers showed people YouTube videos that were either for or against smoking e-cigarettes. They manipulated the number of views that displayed, so that sometimes it looked like the video only had a small number of views (around 10 or 100, say), and other times much larger numbers — 100,000 or 1 million.
Results showed that participants were more persuaded when they rated them as more truthful and believable. The number of views that the video had did not have a direct impact on how much they were persuaded.
Of course, a video with more views will reach more people. But before you worry about how many people your message reaches, make sure the message itself is persuasive.
Upcoming issues:
  • The science of picky shoppers (and what that means for marketers)
  • Stock ownership and brand loyalty
  • How personalized marketing can fail
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Mark Tosczak

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