The Results of our Persuasiveness Test

By January 15, 2014Announcements
If the internet was to vanish tomorrow, never to return, how many people would you lose contact with?


Over the last decade, we have become increasingly dependent on the interactions that we have with people online. In an online community that is expected to triple in size over the next four years, we expect to see people uploading more informat ion, staying in touch with more people, and spending more money.

Online communication is at the very heart of our browsing experience. Today, text adverts win our clicks on google, picture ads steal our attention when we’re scrolling, and marketing emails slip through our ‘junk’ filter, only to clog up our inboxes. We Skype call
friends and family from thousands of miles apart, give the world a glimpse into our lives through 140 character tweets, and immortalise those never-again moments by uploading the footage to YouTube. All these forms of communication, no matter what median, are ultimately passing on information between users.

As presenters and communicators, whether it be at work, in education, or at home, the challenge is understanding how to, most persuasively, present our message online.

Is it a wordy document that can be read at one’s own pace? Is it the case that pictures do indeed speak louder than words? Or are people more likely to watch something that simply demands the click of a play button? We wanted to create an experiment to give us insight into how the same message, when presented through different online medians, can affect persuasiveness.


Over the last year, we’ve found that students have started using to make video CV’s. So we decided to launch a Google adword campaign that publicised this.  We then built 5 almost identical landing pages (an example) that communicated the same concept, with the same proposal, but presented in 5 different ways:

  • PDF  (Words only)bloglanding
  • PowerPoint slides (Words with pictures)
  • Video (Video only)
  • PowerPoint slides with an audio voice-over (Words, pictures, + audio)
  • Video and PowerPoint slides (Video, words + pictures)


The total experiment lasted for a little over a week. Our adverts popped up over half a million times, and were clicked on over 4,000 times. Each click then led to one of the 5 landing pages listed above. At the bottom of each landing page was a call to action button. Our logic was that if people were convinced, then they would click this button that said “make a video CV”, if they got bored, or weren’t impressed then they would click off the page. We hoped that this would give us a little more insight into the most effective form of communication.


Of all those that clicked the call to action button at the bottom of the landing page, here are the percentages of ‘click through’s that came from each of the 5 landing pages:

  • PDF only (Words only) – 13.4%
  • PowerPoint slides only (Words with pictures) – 19.7%%
  • Video Only (Video) – 21.6%
  • PowerPoint slides, with an audio voice-over (Words, pictures, + audio) – 20.3%
  • One with Video and PowerPoint slides (Video, words + pictures) – 25.0%


1. Pictures with words are better than words by themselves!

As one might have expected, having pictures there to enhance the words that were written seemed to encourage people to click on. We actually found that not only did less people click through on the words only landing page, but the people that went off the page, went off the quickest. It seemed that impatience played a role

2. Video is most effective when accompanied by slides!

Video CV

Just as we had hoped, the landing page with both slides and video came out on top; more people were persuaded by that format of communication. Presenting next to slides enhances our message, and makes what we’re saying more memorable. Could you use to increase the persuasiveness of your content?

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