Holding the focus of viewers online is becoming more and more challenging and as a result there is a lot of focus right now on creating shorter online video. The normal duration used to be 2 mins or shorter, but that number is shrinking rapidly and more commonly companies now need videos that are 15-30 seconds! To add to this pressure of urgency, we’ve also been told that it’s the first 3-5 seconds that really count.
Has the attention spans of our online audience really been reduced to that of a goldfish?
The quick answer is no. (phew!)
Don’t believe the hype. There is absolutely a place for very short form content, but long form content (2 minutes and longer) still holds an important place in your marketing plan. In fact, long form video is having a mini resurgence. Let’s take a look at why long form content will still work for your company.
Long form video has a power that short form can’t compete with: psychological response. It’s almost impossible to create a deep emotional reaction in a viewer in 3 seconds. (The exception to this might be horror, a good jump moment can powerfully create an almost immediate reaction.) When you create video that tells a story that your demographic will relate to and care about, a story with elements of both humor and heart, you can stretch the average duration of viewership to well above 2 minutes.
Here are 4 tips to create incredibly effective long form video content:
1. You must REALLY truly deeply understand who your audience is. What socio-economic background do they share? What are their dreams, their fears, who are they inspired by and what issues matter most to them? You really need to research and empathize with your would-be-customer to create a message that speaks directly and powerfully to them.
2. You are not trying to trigger any old emotional reaction in your audience. Whether you want to make them laugh or make them cry, the psychological responses that you are aiming to achieve must align with your brand. This is where you brand story comes into play. What is the WHY behind your brand (what makes your story different from your competitors) and how does that why relate to your audience?
3. It’s all about a value exchange. You can’t expect viewers to watch a long form video is they are not getting anything back for their time and attention. You must create content that is rewarding and enriching, and not intrusive or annoying. Viewers will happily give their information, time and attention if they feel they have watched something of value to them, eg: utility or entertainment. Provide something that is 100% useful and develop a true value exchange.
4. Save branding to the end of the video. Think of long form content as more of a mini movie. There’s nothing more annoying than 15 minutes of credits and titles before the movie begins, right? So viewers don’t want to watch even 5 seconds of your slick logo animation before they even know what they are signing up for. You must engage your audience by making it relevant to them, you must trigger an emotional reaction, and you must give them value. Once you have fulfilled your end of the bargain, then you can add your branding.
All of these tips are really extensions of the fundamental foundations of what marketing is; understanding your audience, thinking of them as human beings and engaging in a conversation (not a hard sell).
Want some help brainstorming long form creative that will engage and affect your target audience? We can help! Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and check out our site to find out more about our team and watch our award-winning work: