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Video Marketing In The Era Of Short Attention Spans: Crafting Compelling Stories In 60 Seconds Or Less


by Torrey Tayenaka, co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse

With the massive amount of data and tools at our disposal, it’s hard to believe that marketers used to be able to craft compelling ad copy by just knowing the customer. But there were fewer ads, consumers had limited options, and everyone knew when they had a winning strategy.

Now, virtually every business has to gain an edge on dozens – if not hundreds – of competitors to reel in the customer. They’re not only competing with other businesses for attention, but with entertainment, creator content, and a ton of other internet noise.

To make things harder, the average human attention span has declined over the past decade to a mere 8.25 seconds. That’s lower than a goldfish, the poster child for low attentiveness. It’s not enough to have excellent copy and captivating visuals anymore.

Enter video marketing. Videos in general are having a moment on the internet and social media, cutting through the clutter of search results pages and crowded social media news feeds, and holding the viewer’s attention.

When it’s done right, social media video and commercial video can transform your marketing strategy and capture the attention of your audience – no matter where you’re trying to reach them. And if you can not only capture their attention but deliver your entire message in under 60 seconds, you can create maximum impact without viewers clicking away.

Marketing used to be based on intuition and creativity. Marketers relied on their instincts and trial and error to capture the attention of prospective customers and make the sale. Now, with competition growing and customer expectations becoming increasingly challenging, holding the audience’s interest requires more than guesswork.

Benefits of Video Marketing

With the explosion of platforms like TikTok during the pandemic, video has had a steady rise to popularity for all types of digital content, including marketing and advertising. Video has a unique edge over other formats in that you can create an emotional, creative, and impactful message – no matter how complex your topic – that reaches the viewer in a matter of seconds.

Here’s what gives video its unique power:

Visual Appeal.

Most of us prefer to digest information in engaging visual forms. That’s why many people will watch a movie adaptation of a novel instead of reading the novel itself. We’re naturally drawn to visual stimuli, and better yet, we process that information 60,000 times faster than text.

Creating a video with dynamic and immersive visuals allows you to capture the attention of your viewers more than you ever could with a text caption, long-form article, or static image. This is especially true if your topics are complex or dry.

Social media users scroll through their newsfeeds, which often contain text-only posts from their friends and family members. Among all that black and white, they see a few images that may stop their scrolling – but a video is even more engaging. Even if they aren’t sure what it’s about, they’re more likely to stop and watch the first few seconds than read the first few lines of a long post. That’s when you can show your stuff and get them to stick around for the whole video.

Breaking Down Complex Information.

Some products or brands are more difficult to explain simply, especially in the B2B space. For example, promoting the benefits of a technology tool is often more challenging than promoting fashion or homewares.

Videos help you establish your products unique value propositions and real-world benefits in a quick, simple, and appealing way. You can discuss complex processes, complicated data, and highly technical features with images, diagrams, and narration, rather than relying only on explaining through text or a sole image.

Creating Emotional Appeal.

Video content is one of the best ways to elicit an emotional response from your viewers. Unlike a story or a still image, video can use a mix of verbal and non-verbal cues to humanize customer stories or benefits in a way that resonates with the viewer.

For example, small touches like a change of tone, subtle facial expressions, and emotional background music can turn a static story into a conversation that tugs at the heartstrings, inspires empathy, or makes the viewer laugh or cry – all leading to a message that sticks in the viewer’s mind for a while.

It works outside of marketing as well. Many people recall moments in movies, television shows, or commercials that made them feel something, but it’s not nearly as often as with an article or book. The same is true of video marketing.

Better Brand Retention.

We’re visual creatures. People remember 95% of what they see in a video compared to a mere 10% of what they read. This shows how important it is to deliver your message in a video format instead of text-based content.

Make no mistake – an excellent copy will stick with a customer if it’s read. The difference with video, however, is that they retain it better. The video captures their attention, and they recall it more easily, so your brand stays top of mind when they’re looking to solve a problem related to your products or services.

Improved SEO.

It’s not just brands realizing the power of video. Google knows it, too. Video content is preferred by search engines because of its popularity. As more users consume video content, Google will prioritize it over article content.

In addition, embedding a video on your website’s landing page can mean you’re 53% more likely to get on the first page of the search engine results. Having videos embedded on your pages can also increase your conversion rate by about 80%.

Based on the insights in the Video Marketing Guide, having videos on your social media account can increase your chances of a share by 1200%.

The Catch? You Have to Capture Attention within Seconds.

Video marketing has numerous benefits, but you have to get the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds. Otherwise, they may simply scroll on.

Your first few seconds have to make a connection instantly and tell the viewer what they have to gain by continuing to watch. What problem will you solve? What offer will they be rewarded with?

It’s important to walk the line between teasing attention and click-baiting your viewers, however. You have to show them what they have to gain if they give you a minute or less of their time, and you have to deliver. Make your introduction captivating and build that connection to get them to stick around.

How to Make Videos That Resonate

Your video introduction is your hook, then you have 60 seconds or less to keep that momentum. Here’s how to do it:

Plan Your Message.

Plan your video in advance. You have to have a clear, targeted message or concept. If you make your topic too broad, your viewers won’t know what’s in it for them or what they have to gain. If you have different audience segments, make sure to craft a message that’s specific to each of them, which brings us to the next point.

Understand your Audience.

No matter what type of content you’re creating, the audience is key. You have to understand their pain points, their interests, the challenges or stress they experience every day that they’re looking to solve. Understanding what your audience wants allows you to speak directly to them through your video and promote your brand’s value.

Create Compelling Visuals.

Part of the video’s appeal is visual appeal. Don’t skim on this part! You not only have to share your message, but you have to do so in a way that’s interesting, exciting, and engaging. Use animations, cutaways, stitches, smooth transitional editing, sound effects and high-quality photos or graphics that maximize your 60 seconds.

Avoid the Clutter.

60 seconds isn’t a lot of time, so you may be tempted to cram as much information as possible into your video. While video is an easier medium to digest, it’s still possible to go overboard with the clutter and weaken your message. Keep it simple and focused on the key message.

Refine Your Hook.

The hook is what you’ll use to capture the attention of your viewers within the firsts few seconds. This is what gets them to stop scrolling and start watching. You can do this any number of ways, depending on your audience, including making a bold statement, asking an intriguing question, or stating an impactful statistic, as long as it aligns with your message.

End on a Strong Note.

The intro matters, but so does the call to action (CTA) that prompts your viewers to take the action you want, whether that’s signing up for a service, completing a purchase, or subscribing to a list. Like the intro, your CTA should be short, snappy, and persuasive to maximize results.

Incorporate Video into Your Marketing Strategy

Video content is the hottest trend in marketing – because it works. Using video correctly can improve your SEO, boost brand recognition, drive conversions, and build emotional connections with your audience. With these tips, you can get started with compelling video content that draws in short attention spans and holds them from start to finish. 


Torrey Tayenaka

Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based commercial video production company. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations. Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.