Digital video advertising: The first six seconds are vital

Distraction is everywhere. Consumer attention is more fleeting than ever before. We have email, Facebook, IM, Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, push notifications, a plethora of apps, pings, and beeps to constantly break our concentration.

Expecting consumers to engage with a thirty-second ad online, like they used to on TV, is not realistic. Even a fifteen second video advert can feel long in a digital environment. That is unless the first six seconds are so powerful, and grips the consumers interest so well, that you have them hooked. YouTube allows users to skip most video adverts after five-seconds, which suggests that Google understand that is the length their users will tolerate.

As a rule of thumb, the shorter you can make your advertising messages, the more chance you have of them connecting with your audience and being viewed to completion. No matter how long your message though, it is the first six seconds of the advert that are absolutely critical.

Think about the environments where video can be viewed. SMS, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp. Then look at just one message in any of those platforms for a full 30 seconds, and it will seem like an eternity.

Say one thing, say it simply, and say it often. If your company has three or four things to say, all of equal importance, then don’t try to weave all four messages into one ad – run four, shorter, separate campaigns.

Here is the Six Sells 1,2,3 anatomy of the first six seconds of a digital video advertisement.

1 – Attract attention
2 – Hold attention
3 – Create interest

1 – Attract attention:

Social media feeds are busy, and digital journeys can be fast-paced. People click and scroll around pretty quickly online, and filter out everything that doesn’t grab their attention. You have just one second to catch the eye, if you don’t, you will lose them.

2 – Hold the attention:

A colourful explosion in the first second might capture a glance, but if the next two seconds don’t justify why the viewer should watch, you will lose them.

3 – Create interest:

If your advert is fifteen seconds in length for example, use seconds 4,5 and 6 of your advertisement to turn fleeting attention into interest. If you can, you have a good chance of the consumer watching more. If you can’t, you will lose them.

Six Sells is a sales and marketing partnership with a combined 46 years of experience.

We help you to create effective digital campaigns from strategy through to creation and execution, so you have the best chance to stand out in a distracted world.

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