Eight seconds is the amount of time it took for Madonna to fall down the steps and get back up again. Any longer and I’d have probably got up from my seat to make a brew. Mind you, she made those seconds count.
You see, eight seconds is generally agreed as the average length of the human attention span. And eight seconds have probably passed since you started reading this blog.
Time for video engagement
This all means that the first eight seconds of your online video is the most important time for getting and building engagement. After this your viewers are more than likely to start dropping off.
That can be particularly costly if those viewers are, say, your would-be suppliers or B2B clients, now off to partner another company or agency that gets to the point quicker.
You’ll know competition for attention is especially high if you’re in the B2B content marketing game. As Kieran Flanagan of HubSpot pointed out yesterday at the Technology for Marketing & Advertising 2015 (TFM&A) conference in London, B2B content creators are especially good at creating content, so the jostle to be noticed is intense. Video’s a perfect way to stand out, but you need your viewers to hit the ground running.
So, are you ready to switch off or press play?
If you’re still reading this blog, then well done, you passed the test. Oh, and thank you. Chances are it’s because you are genuinely interested in what we’re saying and if you can keep your most genuine viewers engaged beyond eight seconds then you’re winning real leads that matter to your brand.
Tips for capturing a video audience
Here are eight top tips to help you to capture the right audience for you in the first eight seconds of your video.
- Make sure your video is dressed head to toe in SEO (but maybe leave the cape at home). This is your chance to get a head start on engagement – ensure that your video appears in their search list. Your content should already be centered on your audience’s search results, so make it even easier to find your video with strong SEO keywords. And give your video title and description enough information that lets your clients know what they are looking for, but also keeps them intrigued to find out more.
- Make sure your video thumbnail acts like the window to your business – your shop-front, basically. The competition out there is stiff, so you need to make sure your thumbnail stands out and is just as appealing because it will suggest your video is just as interesting to watch. It’s a piece of marketing in itself! If you have a video marketing platform, you can A/B test your thumbnails to see what works best for you.
- First impressions count. Now it’s time to get them hooked; you only have eight seconds to make an impression and grab your viewer’s attention, so don’t give them the option to drop-off. Don’t focus on one talking head or one screen for the whole eight seconds. Break up your shots frequently enough that your viewers’ attention is held. Also, music creates energy, emotion and pace so consider how you could use music to increase this attention.
- Get to the point. Give your viewers an overview of what they’re going to learn or what you want them to take away from your video. That way you’ll guarantee that viewers will hear the most important information before they drop off and If they do choose to stop watching, this only means you never really had a chance of converting them anyway.
- Introductions are generally redundant and there is too much competition out there, so don’t focus on telling people how awesome you are – make sure those first eight seconds count and let your audience know what you are going to do for them. Instead encourage your viewers to do the introductions to their friends. Let your audience broadcast how awesome you are. Shareability counts for a lot and people are more likely to be interested and trust your brand when it comes from someone they can trust. Try to keep brand introductions in the description or as text within the video.
- Keep your story on brand. This is your chance to shine and get your audience watching you for the right reasons. Bring your brand’s personality to life. Try to showcase the human side of your brand that people don’t usually get a chance to see. Ultimately your video needs to tell your story; every video you create should align with the perception you’re trying to build for your brand. This doesn’t necessarily mean you must include everything in your brand guidelines in the first eight seconds, but bring consistency in the tone, topic, and messaging and give your viewers reason to recognise and trust your content.
- Relate with your audience. When the viewer has a connection with your message, they are more likely to continue watching and remember your brand. Get right under your audience’s skin in the first eight seconds, give them what you know they are looking for and remember you are their customer too, so keep in mind what you would care about if you were in their shoes.
- Keep it short. If you’re anything like me, as soon as you hit play on a video, you clock the total time for the video, and then judge in the first eight seconds whether this is something you can sit and watch for the next 10 minutes. Remember that your video’s length is also a key decision maker for engagement, especially if there is another similar video by someone else which is only five minutes long. Let your viewers know that your video is long enough to give them just what they want, but in the shortest possible time.
We all know first impressions last, and if you’re creating video content especially in the B2B space, then you really need high impact, fast. That eight-second-attention-span is actually a figure from the US National Center for Biotechnology Information in 2013; we probably pay even less attention now. If you’re creating video content to wow your clients, you’ve got, at most, eight seconds to grab them. Make it count.