The importance of the first five seconds of video in a skippable world

By September 4, 2018YouTube


While YouTube may be looking at bringing in longer or completely non-skippable ads to some of its YouTube partners, many advertisers are facing the issue of viewers bypassing their video ads.

The truth is, most pre-roll ads on YouTube still have the five-second limit before viewers can skip to the content. And, as CNBC reported, nearly two thirds (65%) of people skip video adverts as soon as they get the chance. Most simply do it out of habit, with three quarters (75%) saying it has become an ingrained behaviour.

So, what can brands do to stop viewers from automatically clicking on the skip button? They need to engage and grab the attention and curiosity of the viewer to encourage them to keep watching the ad. Sounds simple, right?

Think with Google analysed thousands of ads and highlighted the following considerations:

Brand placement matters

You’ve no doubt had the debate about where and when to place the brand logo in a video ad. Some feel the logo needs to be seen early on while others feel this will put people off watching the whole ad. So, what did Google find?

According to the research, while ads showing the brand logo in the first five seconds resulted in higher ad recall and boosted brand awareness, viewers were more likely to hit skip. Audiences are also less likely to watch and remember brands and ads if there’s a floating brand logo, as opposed to it being on a product.

The verdict? If you are going to show your logo during the first five seconds, make sure it’s tied to your product, and not showing up somewhere else on the screen.

Get the right tone

The tone of your ad is a surefire way of grabbing your audience’s attention… or not. Unsurprisingly, as you may have experienced yourself, humorous ads get more views, and they lead to better ad recall and brand awareness.

Why does it work so well? We all love to laugh and you’re not going to be thinking about skipping if you’re having a chuckle. As they say, time flies when you’re having fun! However, humour doesn’t work for every brand. If that’s the case for you, consider setting a “suspenseful” or “emotional” tone for the first five seconds instead, as these types of ads also had higher ad recall.

Take inspiration from those with high views

If you want to know how to make an engaging video, watch content by those with huge audiences.

YouTube uses the example of one of its creators, Hannah Hart, who has more than 2.5 million viewers. Her content exudes authenticity, is based on her mantra of “reckless optimism”, and she frequently features other creators in her content.

The video sharing site found that metrics rose when “smiling characters” were included in the first five seconds and the use of familiar faces during this short time-frame resulted in higher viewership and better brand lift.

Remember to keep it authentic, consider using recognisable faces, and practise “reckless optimism”.

In a world where attention spans are declining, it is vital that brands hook their viewers in the first five seconds of their videos. If you’d like help boosting the organic views of your video content, speak to Spot Digital today.