The First 15 Seconds of Your Online Video

Written by on Friday, September 7, 2012

It’s all about first impressions. Back in 1989 when Matt Groening created the TV-show The Simpsons he chose to give the animated show a very unique color palette filled with bright splashing colors. This was not just an artistic choice, it was also a way to get the viewers attention. In the early 90’s, the age of channel surfing on your TV, the best way to grab the attention of the audience was to create a distinctive look for your show that would distinguish you from the rest of the channels.

This is very much true still today. Except that today that audience is not channel surfing on TV, it’s browsing videos on YouTube. So how do you grab the viewer’s attention online? The challenge for any online content creator is to stand out in the massive content pool of the Internet. The simple answer to grabbing your audience is “blow them away in the first 15 seconds”.

You know that everyone who clicks on your video will watch the beginning of it. So go straight to the point, give the audience a reason not to jump to the next video. Surprise them, wow them, tease them. Begin with your strongest argument. A big flashy opening animation usually works great for TV but if you spend the first 10 seconds on a YouTube video watching an animation you are only left with a few seconds to actually make your point or else you run the risk of losing your audience.

Here is a great example of grabbing you from the very beginning. McDonald’s Canada goes behind the scenes with one of their chef’s to answer some questions asked by their fans. Within the first 15 seconds we know what the video is about and we want to see more. Notice that the video has no opening titles or animations. It goes straight to the point.