How often do you finish a branded video that’s served to you on any social media platform? What about a microvideo (any video below 15 seconds)? If you said “almost never,” you aren’t alone. A recent study found that 65 percent of people skip online video advertising, 76 percent of whom do so because it’s a habit. So what will make your viewers stop, watch, and actually finish your microvideo? The answer is threefold, and it lines up well with a few of the characteristics of contemporary consumerism: small attention spans, big egos, and a constant fear of missing out (more commonly referred to as “FOMO”).
1. Catch viewers’ attention in the first five seconds.
Since 2000, around the time when the mobile revolution began, the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. Now, almost two decades later, this fact still has a huge impact on advertising strategies—especially when it comes to video. If your video can’t pique the viewer’s interest within the first five seconds, they may not even get to hear your brand’s message.
Brands that are bold will likely find more immediate success than their boring competitors. That’s why it’s important to make use of what we call “thumb stoppers”: fast cuts, paired with bright and surprising images. Our recommendation is to employ these thumb stoppers during the second shot of your video, between the two- and four-second marks. Worried about staying on brand while still being bold? You might need to find a compromise. Playing it safe will only allow your videos to reach your core audience. But, as a brand, don’t you want to reach all those faces buried in their smartphones? Step out of your comfort zone. I dare you.
2. Depict your target audience as they see themselves.
The distinction between who people actually are and who they see themselves as is an important one. If your target audience is, for example, people who want to be chefs, then don’t show chefs-in-training in your video—show real chefs! This becomes trickier the wider your audience becomes. If you want to appeal to the masses, utilize the previous tip in tandem with this one. Use quick cuts that bombard your viewers with images of various individuals that reflect your target audience.
3. Embrace FOMO.
The phrase may start with the word “fear,” but that doesn’t mean you have to scare your viewers into purchasing your product. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When people watch your video, you want them to feel joy—and, like the previous tip explains, be able to see themselves experiencing that joy. Say that you’re selling shirts, for instance. Don’t just show models in your shirts. Show individuals wearing them, having the time of their lives, and/or achieving something monumental. This could be as simple as a first kiss or as grandiose as winning a coveted award. Let your viewer see the possibilities and experiences they could be missing out on by not purchasing your product. Pair those visuals with a simple “click below” or “swipe up” CTA, and you’re good to go.