Slow motion in videos increases ‘likes’ and promotes brand preference

By our News Team | 2024

Researchers find that, because slow motion is easier to process, it feels pleasing to viewers and often results in a more positive response. 

Slow motion is a popular style tactic for short videos on social media. But until now there has been limited understanding of if, or how, this benefits marketers. 


Recent research by marketing researcher Anika Stuppy, of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, shows that slow motion increases the number of ‘likes’ and ‘views’ of videos and stimulates brands’ preference, choice and willingness to pay. There are conditions to its use, however.  


Her article, titled ‘The Art of Slowness: Slow Motion Enhances Consumer Evaluations by Increasing Processing Fluency’, has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Marketing Research. 


Although slow motion is used in many videos, there was little scientific evidence on how this technique affects a positive viewing experience. Previous research suggests that just the opposite is true. Radio broadcasts, for example, are enjoyed more when they are played faster. 

Viewing pleasure is enhanced by slow motion 

In the research, subjects were shown GIFs in a slow-motion version, and in a normal-speed version. It turned out that slow-motion GIFs were found to be much more enjoyable than the normal-speed GIFs. This effect occurred because slow motion is easier to process, which feels pleasing to viewers. 


Interestingly, this theory can also explain people’s viewing behaviour on an online GIF-sharing platform. In a dataset that scanned several hundred GIFs from a website, the researchers saw that slow-motion GIFs were viewed more often, received more ratings and were generally rated more positively than regular-speed GIFs. 


“We see that slow-motion is especially a great technique when movements that are extremely complex and difficult to observe at normal speed are slowed down. Think, for example, of a TikTok video of a dance performance,” says Stuppy. 


Videographers themselves can also make a movement complex, and therefore interesting, by zooming in on subtle movements.  


“For example, slow-motion footage of a chef cutting a steak. This might be boring, but a close-up of the knife slicing through the meat in slow motion is aesthetically pleasing,” Stuppy explains.

Slow motion is not always appropriate 

However, slow motion is not recommended in some cases. Do not use slow motion in a video of a very simple movement, such as a simple dance. Such movements are more boring to watch in slow motion, according to the study.  


The research also shows that when slow motion is used for content that is unpleasant, it can make the viewing experience more disagreeable. For example, consider a video of a brutal and bloody boxing match. In this case, slow motion reveals details that make the experience more unpleasant for the viewer. 


Finally, the research shows that slow motion creates feelings of safety and familiarity.  

Therefore, it is not an appropriate technique if when you want to excite the viewer or show a product as ‘adventurous’ or ‘exciting’. In that case, the researchers recommend fast-motion techniques. 


You can watch a YouTube video about the research here


You can read more about the study here

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.