Video Marketing

A Video is Worth 1.8 Million Words… Interesting Stats

Shawn 05.16.2014

I’ve heard this surprising video marketing stat thrown around lately, and while it’s a fun way to capture the power of video and whiteboard animation, a lot of marketers are using it as a concrete valuation of a video’s worth. I’m not convinced, so I took a look at where it comes from, and just how accurate it is.

The stat originates in Dr. James McQuivey’s Forrester study “How Video Will Take Over the World” in which he claims that “Video is worth 1.8 million words.” This soundbite is purely anecdotal – and from 2008. It’s based on the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” a catchy statement, but far from mathematically accurate.

McQuivey got the stat from some simple number juggling:

A picture equals 1,000 words. Video shoots 30 frames per second. Therefore, every second of video is worth 30,000 words. Multiply 30k by 60 seconds – a common length for an explainer video – and you get 1.8 million. Ta-da.

video worth

It’s fun to play with numbers, and I agree that video even in the rsa animate world is worth much more than static images, but is every video worth 1.8 million words? Absolutely not. Some videos might actually be – like the one that launched the Phonebloks movement –  but if you don’t invest in quality, you’re nowhere near that magic number.

Remember 1.8 million words is roughly 3,600 pages of text! Does your video or whiteboard animation match up to more than five copies of Ulysses combined?!

Video is still the best way to reach prospects in your market, but hard numbers are tough to come by. That’s why we encourage our clients to set realistic goals in specific metrics. That way we can help them achieve the kind of success that matters to them.

In today’s fast-paced marketing world, video is still king, but there aren’t any shortcuts.

For more details on how you can calculate the ROI on your video – or the one you plan to make – watch Will’s five-step Calculating ROI series.


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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