Creating engagement within the first five seconds of video

In Observation

What impact does your video have in the first five seconds? Does it excite your audience? Enrage them? Entice or inform them? As the advertising world continues to spend more money on digital auto-play ad networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, the first five seconds of a video will be the deciding factor in the success of most campaigns.

Jigar Mehta, the engagement lead for AJ+, describes the problem like this,

“If you look at our videos when we first launched, they weren’t optimized for autoplay. But then Facebook, and now Twitter, have rolled out autoplay. So you have three to five seconds, as someone is flipping through a feed, to grab their attention.”

Traditionally, video advertising has been a roadblock on the path to a viewer’s requested content. On TV, commercials are unavoidable blocks of time in-between show segments. On Hulu and YouTube advertisements are the gateway to your favorite TV show or web video. However, on the new ad platforms, advertisements are no longer a requirement—consumers choose whether or not to watch and ad with the swipe of their finger.

How should brands respond to this changing climate? Create something interesting with those first five seconds.

One brand that particularly impressed me in this space is Marriott. Yes, the big old hotel chain Marriott. Almost all of their digital advertising takes advantage of those first 5-seconds, not by throwing tons of information at the viewer, but by creating an interesting story that needs resolution. In this spot, with YouTube star Grace Helbig, Marriott creates intrigue with a single line of dialogue. “Kate, I have something really important I want to say to you.”

Another impressive example is Kate Spade. Their efforts with Anna Kendrick and the #missadventure campaign are applaudable.

Unfortunately, there’s really no formula for this segment. Creating a unique and interesting hook looks different for every brand. Kate Spade feels like a Wes Anderson film and Marriott goes for the “over-the-top dramatic” feel. Finding the right way to engage your audiences is a highly specific process that is, ultimately, very critical to a video campaign’s success. Discover what excites your audience and then give it to them… within five seconds.