How Short Attention Spans Equal Short-Form Video in 2021

People don’t like ads. They never did. Consumers avoid ads in video content with ad blockers, or by skipping ahead and sometimes even paying a premium to avoid video ads completely.

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Combine that with shorter human attention spans - shortened even further by distracting social media - and we have one of the top marketing trends for 2021 – short-form video.

Short-form video has been around for a while, but might be picking up steam for its cost-effectiveness and its connection to the consumer.

Scale of Video Advertising

Advertisers allocated a quarter of all digital ad spend (more than $20 billion) to video ads in 2020. Probably prompted by the fact that every day people watch 1 billion hours of videos on YouTube and more than 60% of businesses are using YouTube (and Facebook and Instagram and TikTok) to post video content about their business.

Another key factor is the cost-effectiveness of short-form video. It might cost millions to shoot and produce a 30-second commercial, but only a fraction of that to shoot six seconds. And it’s even less expensive to ask creative fans to produce their own short content about your brand via social media!

Consumer Attention Spans

How do we know that the era of the 30-second ad spot is nearly over?

Roughly 94% of pre-roll ads on YouTube are skipped shortly after the first five seconds. Even when skipping isn’t an option, the average consumer attention span is estimated to be just eight seconds. In 2000, human attention span was measured at 12 seconds.

Everything is trending shorter. The average length of pop songs fell 20 seconds in five years (pop songs average 3:30 in 2020). Sub three-minute songs are now as common as commercial jingles once were.

Short Story Time

So desperate to gain your attention for a mere seven seconds that advertisers are now even adding cues likes title length and thumbnail previews to set expectations.

Longer video titles lead to expectation of longer videos. Shorter videos – expect shorter titles. Video thumbnail images of person? Expect a fun or light, and shorter video. Video thumbnail image of a product, or image of text? Expect more educational (and longer videos).

What are the most common formats and themes for your short-form video? You have a very short time to tell your story to your customer. Try these common themes to quickly drive home your point.

  1. Story Telling: The classic character introduction, plot, conflict, resolution.
  2. How-To: Simple recipe stories with superb sound, quick cuts, cut to finish and ready to eat.
  3. Demo: Demonstrate a product’s use. From dirty to clean – almost instantly.
  4. Solve Problem: See your problem, and then quickly visualize the solution.
  5. Beauty: Show a featured product with a beautiful and interesting person or landscape.

In another example of the short-form video format, an ad from Buff City Soap — a national franchise that entered the Toledo market in mid-2019 — lasts only a couple of seconds. A tower of colorful soap topples over and then rebuilds itself on a loop, but the rapidly repeating image is all a consumer needs to get the message.

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Read more - Brands turn to platforms amid pandemic; experts highlight trends.

Thread Marketing Group has learned to adapt our communications, and we can help you do the same. Please reach out to #ConnectSimply.

Topics: Facebook, Marketing Communications, Social Media, YouTube, short-form video

Kevin Cesarz

Written by Kevin Cesarz

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