Visual Storytelling: The Key to Keeping Your Customers Coming Back

As businesses make the tricky transition from traditional advertising to creating content that your customers choose to spend time with, videos need to play a key in your content mix. That’s because 83% of human learning is visual. And while your audience may not have a passion for finance or insurance or whatever industry your business is in, they do have a passion for music, films, sports, and other topics your business can associate itself with.

Why video works

Video helps us remember more than we would without visuals. News outlets tripled their video content last year, possibly because 40% of people respond better to visual information better than to plain text. The trend is only gaining momentum, and it’s proven to work. Arestia Rosenberg, the senior content producer at the ad agency Hill Holliday, points out the effectiveness of the Dumb Ways to Die video created by Metro Trains in Australia to promote rail safety. After the video’s release, it saw a 21% decrease in accidents and death compared to the previous year.


Videos have the power to inspire, make us laugh, and make us want to take action. Mobile engagement is growing, and it’s the ideal platform for video. YouTube now reaches more 18- to 34-year-olds than any cable network. This same age group chooses brands two times more often when the brand engages them on their passions and interests versus grabbing their attention with a one-off viral video. Using videos to start a conversation—one that your customers want to take part in—is what will keep your customers coming back.

What you can do to get in the game

Two out of five video ads are from advertisers new to the digital space, proving the tools are out there for anyone to make video. As Rosenberg notes, great video is a great story. And telling a great story is the same across all media, no matter the length of the piece. All stories have three ingredients: a character your audience is emotionally invested in; a hurdle, journey, or challenge that the character needs to overcome; and a goal, reward, or payoff that adds what Rosenberg describes as a satisfaction element.

Videos have the power to inspire, make us laugh, and make us want to take action. 

To tell an effective story—in video or other media—your business needs to be okay with staying away from topics that don’t relate to your business. Rosenberg notes that live tweeting events has become a seemingly must-do practice, but live tweeting the Oscars may not be relevant to your business. Know your audience and understand what content they want to see and what emotions are going to make them tick, whether that’s with humor, nostalgia, or an unexpected twist.

And while you can hire partners to bring your vision to life, you can also make it in-house.

Great video is a great story.

Tools like Vine make it easy to create your own videos, and 40% of the top 1,000 shared Instagram videos are posted by brands. Videos that can get shared and commented on are a way for customers to interact with your brand and become part of the conversation. Whatever you create, focus on doing it well and doing it well in one space, such as on your website or on a dedicated YouTube channel, and distributing via other channels. You don’t need to have video everywhere.If you don’t have tons of resources, you can take existing video and repackage it in ways that are in line with your messaging.

Redefine success

As you look for a way to measure your success, Rosenberg stresses the importance of doing it in a way that works for your company. This may mean moving beyond likes, shares, and views. It may be more important to know 250 strong business leads are watching your content versus 1,000 people who have no interest in your business. Having a hard and fast goal—whether that’s sales, referrals, or awareness—will help you measure the difference video is making. And these results can help you on the next go-round.

Arestia Rosenberg is the Senior Content Producer at Hill Holliday and the co-creater of Boston Content. You can find her blog on all things content at