Everyone knows the nagging feeling of eternity as you hover over the “Skip ad” button on YouTube, so it’s now more important than ever to consider how much time you actually have to hook your audience with your video marketing.

If you’re dreading five seconds of an ad, it’s safe to say nobody’s sitting through your 30-second video intro even if you think it’s brilliant.
(Ugh, it’s harsh, I know!)

final burgerEver since grade school we’ve been taught the “burger method” for crafting stories. In other words, we think that the meat of a message comes between carefully constructed intro and conclusion buns; but when it comes to video, you need to deliver on the goods fast or you lose everybody.

Today’s Attention Span

Average video length has dropped. Img courtesy of the Wire.comAccording to ComScore, the average video length has shortened from almost seven minutes to just under five in the last year and a half. This is because the typical attention span for a web user is less than a goldfish, clocking in at eight seconds.

That’s right – It’d be easier to get a goldfish to watch more of your content (what the what!?).
So what’s a modern marketer to do with these precious eight seconds?

Design Your Scripts for Drop Off

In our experience creating video campaigns, we’ve learned to become very selective and concise.

When creating a video for our Salesforce launch, for instance, we started out with a 1:06 minute video, but ended up with a 43 second release instead. We cut the script from 11 points down to just six and, as a result, we retained audience attention. The video had 65% of the audience watch all the way through (which is great as you’ll typically lose the majority of your audience within the first 30 seconds or less).

video attention span for our salesforce promo

What you’ll notice in the attention span data above is that there’s an initial drop off where we lose 20% of the audience after the first seven seconds, but this is actually what you should aim to do when narrowcasting your message.

When reviewing the rough cut of the video we were honest with ourselves and realized it was better to start with a sentence that summed up the entire video and qualified leads effectively.

Practice fluff-free scripts!
By mentioning the main point right away, we qualified leads’ interest immediately. Anyone who heard that first sentence and wasn’t interested bounced within those first seven seconds, but that left us to focus on nurturing the 65% of leads that remained hooked right until the final call to action.

Ultimately, it’s more important to maintain the attention of your niche audience throughout your highly targeted video rather than have a million completely uninterested viewers who  drop off instantly. This is because you actually have a chance of converting the niche audience, whereas you never stood a chance to convert the drop offs as they were uninterested in your premise from the very start.

The Lesson Here

Write targeted video scriptsAfter the retention rate of our Salesforce video, we continued testing our nurture videos to see where our staff would drop off and then revised our final cut. By adopting this strategy, the last three video campaigns we created held audience attention until the very end with more than 75% of the audience watching well past the half way point.

When you create your next video, design it for drop off. Try to qualify your leads immediately based on their targeted interests and make sure the content throughout is entertaining or concise enough to get viewers all the way through to the finish line (where you’ll be waiting with a video call to action!). If you find any points of the video boring or unnecessary, cut them out mercilessly, and focus on delivering a concise message with a point. Not only will you be respecting your audience’s time, but you’ll instantly qualify leads who demonstrate a high attention span with your targeted content.

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Jennifer Pepper