In this age of short attention spans and endless content for people to choose from, the first moments of an online video can be make or break for drawing in the viewer. I was just reading a post by Google titled The First Five Seconds: Creating TouTube Ads That Break Through in a Skippable World. While the article is based on a study done of online ads on YouTube, I think a lot of the lessons can be useful for anyone sharing video content online.
Careful with that brand
Google tested ads that showed a brand in the first five seconds versus ads which did not and found that the the ads with no branding early on were skipped less. However, the ads which did show the brand early on were recalled more often by viewers, making this a bit of a tricky situation. If you want the audience to watch your entire video, it is probably best to introduce your brand later in the video.
Make them laugh
According to the article, ads which struck a humorous tone were far less likely to be skipped. If you are having a really hard time making your topic funny, your next best bet is creating suspense or evoking emotion. Ads that featured smiling people early on generally fared better than ads that did not. Viewers also like to see a familiar face: if they see someone they recognize in the first five seconds, they are much more likely to watch the video.
Cut the music!
Ads featuring no music in the first five seconds were actually more effective in keeping the viewers’ attention. The article speculates this may be because people are caught off guard by the silence, making the video a kind of sneak attack. For ads that did use music early on, humorous music tended to be the best. Lightheartedness wins again.
I think these tips could definitely come in handy, and not just for those marketing a product or service. Whether you are promoting your business, or advocating for a cause, keeping the viewer interested is a must. Try these tips out on your next video and see if they work. If they don’t work, remember I got them from Google.