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The 5-second rule for videos

You’ve probably heard it before: when it comes to social media, a video’s first 5 to 15 seconds are critical. This brief window is known as the hook or tease.

Every platform has its own criteria for what counts as a video view. In a recent blog post, Buffer published an interesting infographic on video metrics. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter consider a view to be a mere three seconds. View counts don’t necessarily reflect how well a video is performing, however—except maybe with YouTube, where views are based on a strict 30 second minimum. Then there’s advertising, where engaging the viewer for more than five seconds is key.

It’s clear that on any platform, especially in the case of auto-play videos, the first few moments are vital to grabbing your viewers’ attention—even more so given that Canadians have an average attention span of just eight seconds. To complicate matters further, auto-play videos now tend to be muted by default. This means that all-important hook needs to be just as effective without sound.

WHAT DOES YOUTUBE’S CREATOR PLAYBOOK HAVE TO SAY?

Your audience should be hooked by the first thing they see.

Address your audience directly by asking a question or sparking their curiosity.

Use teasers to show entertaining moments from the rest of the video.

TIPS AND ADVICE

1. According to a Facebook study, the first three seconds of a video can determine up to 47 per cent of its value, while the first 10 can determine up to 74 per cent (https://www.facebook.com/business/news/updated-features-for-video-ads).

2. Using the word you nearly doubles your chances of snagging a video view. The more you address your viewers in the opening 30 seconds, the more likely they will be to stick around.

3. Include captions and make sure your video can be viewed without sound.

4. Avoid using logos in your hook. According to YouTube’s Creator Playbook, five seconds of branding and packaging in the body of the video is all you need. Opening logos may heighten brand awareness, but they end up detracting from your message.

EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW

 

 

 

David Pieropan,
VP Branded Content, Toast Studio