New Study Reveals Whether or Not YouTube View Counts Have an Impact of Persuasiveness On Viewers

There is a perception that people are attracted towards watching a video based on the number of likes or views it has. For example, when someone watches a video with over a million views they are more likely to be persuaded towards liking it based on watching the view counts compared to being persuaded towards a video with less view counts. However, it looks like that is not the case now.

A survey was conducted to test this belief in which 819 demographically diverse American adults aged between 18-35 were present. The participants were shown two videos in the survey which were either against vaping and opposite of it. The videos which were pro vaping were basically advertisements from e-cigarettes bands to let people know why e-cigarettes can be a great alternative while the videos for anti-vaping were public service announcements produced by anti-smoking nonprofit organizations. The researchers manipulated the viewers by showing the like count different for every video to every other viewer in order to test which of the two persuaded them the most and to figure out that do people actually like videos based on how popular it has gotten?

Participants then after watching the videos rated how persuasive the videos were to them and whether those videos affected their curiosity about their attitude towards e-cigarettes.

The final result of the survey showed that majority of the participants were persuaded by the videos when they happen to be more believable and contained useful and intriguing information and the like and view count did not play any role in their persuasiveness.

Apart from this, some participants were divided to see the videos on TV instead of online videos and among these participants many thought that mass media would not have enough reach compared to social media and when were asked to estimate the views on TV, a lot of them estimated the videos would have fewer views than did the participants in the YouTube condition.

Hyunyi Cho who is the lead author of the study and professor of communication at The Ohio State University believe that this may be because sites like YouTube do not have the same geographic boundaries as mass media may have.

People may choose to watch a video with a lot of views on YouTube but it does not mean they will be persuaded by the message it contains and considering how people cannot see the view count on Television it is easier to distinguish if they are persuaded by the message or not.

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