Digital video: The challenge of the opening seconds

Digital video: The challenge of the opening seconds

But not every message can be boiled down to that brief amount of time. Of course, it's debatable if people watched the full 30-seconds. Facebook, Snapchat and other video-driven mobile platforms have been trying to impress on marketers the critical importance of the opening portion of a video, for example, hoping to help brands drive better results. "People consume video differently on mobile, so the best marketers are optimizing their creative," Sandberg said. "[Hershey] optimized their video ads to grab attention in the first few seconds and used captions for people who were viewing without sound." While all effective marketing is predicated on understanding a brand's target audience, this rule becomes even more important with mobile video that viewers can easily scroll past. "The key challenge for video marketers is knowing their market and target audience extremely well," Joe Hyland, Chief Marketing Officer of ON24, said. To capture attention in the first few seconds of a video, Daija said creative execution is critical. Producing 360-degree videos is one way marketers are driving innovation. Autoplay strategies One challenge in online video marketing with both organic and paid ads is that viewers encounter video under a variety of circumstances, including autoplay video that may or may not have the sound on depending on the platform where the content is encountered.

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As the sheer volume of mobile video content skyrockets, hooking viewers in the first few seconds is more critical than ever, putting the pressure on marketers to focus on clarity of message and conciseness while still understanding their ideal target audience.

Savvy marketers recognize that mobile viewing habits are different than on other devices and are adjusting their efforts to optimize for smartphone users. Marketing Dive recently analyzed why short videos of 10-seconds-or-less in length are an important way to engage young mobile consumers, who typically seek short bursts of entertainment in between other activities.

But not every message can be boiled down to that brief amount of time. Brands wanting to optimize longer videos for mobile users need to think more about building a strong hook in the first few seconds, something that requires a different development approach than, say, TV advertisements.

“For creative directors coming from the world of TV commercials, mobile requires a reorientation of thinking,” Sheryl Daija, Chief Strategy Officer at the Mobile Marketing Association, told Marketing Dive. “With TV commercials, the logo or call to action delivers on the promise of a 30-second commercial. Of course, it’s debatable if people watched the full 30-seconds.

“With digital, [marketers] need to deliver on the promise within the first few seconds,” she said. “Then, once they’ve captured the audience’s attention they can truly leverage the uniqueness of mobile and further encourage interaction.”

Filling the screen

Video is now the main focus of Facebook’s strategy, and the digital advertising giant has suggested its core platform will be fully mobile- and video-oriented by 2021. Google’s YouTube, another key player for any video marketer, recently surpassed 1 billion hours of video views daily — many of those presumably on mobile — putting the video portal on a clear track to beat out television.

These developments are impressive, massive in scale, and more marketers want skin in the mobile video game. However, marketers familiar with producing video for TV or even desktop run the risk of restricting mobile engagement if they don’t account for the ways the channel is different.

Facebook, Snapchat and other video-driven mobile platforms have been trying to impress on marketers the critical importance of the opening portion of a video, for example, hoping to help brands drive better results.

At the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Annual Leadership Meeting in January, Snapchat’s chief strategy officer Imran Khan discussed how the creation and consumption of content are fundamentally changing. On Snapchat, the average user is on the app more than 18 times per day, creating and viewing video messages throughout that period; the average attention span is 8 seconds, according to some studies.

For brands, this means running up against both a wealth of competitive content and easily distracted eyeballs, making it imperative to focus on work that captures an audience right…

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