Attention spans are getting shorter. The days of capturing the eyes of millions of people for a :30s TV commercial are gone.

This is the age of programmatic banner ads and pre-roll video that split the attention of the viewer between the content they came to consume and the brand advertising they didn’t. So how do you win when you can’t guarantee the average adult’s attention for more than 8 seconds? You go short. Really short. 6 seconds, short.

That’s less time than it takes to enter your email password. Less time than it takes to unlock your phone and make a call. So how can you create a video that captures your brand and encourages your audience to take action in 6 seconds or less?

1.     Laser focus.
If you can’t tell your story in 6 seconds or less to your friend, you can’t make a video about it. This tactic is an upper funnel awareness play. It’s not about engagement as much as it is about recall. It’s important to be tightly positioned and understand your audience and your goals. What do you exist to do? What do you want the person who sees this ad to come away with? If you aren’t positioned, you won’t see results.

2.     Start with the familiar.
The key to making a 6 second video work is to immerse the viewer in something they find instantly familiar. Unfortunately, 6 seconds does not allow you the gift of context or explanation. Whether it’s a celebrity they recognize, a powerful visual or a child’s face, they need to dive into something they immediately understand.  

3.     Stick to one message.
This is not a place to try and convey multiple messages. Stick to one aspect of your brand to tell the story. What is most meaningful to your audience? Is it that you’re organic? Is it that you’re sustainable? Is it that your product is hand-crafted in Italy? It can’t be all three. Pick one thing, distill it to the most meaningful message and hammer it hard.

4.     Understand the platform
The thing about the 6 second ad is that it is pretty much ubiquitous among all platforms. They work well on TV, as pre-roll, as programmatic display, or on social. So where do you plan to run them? If digitally, make sure they are sound agnostic and easy to see. Your video needs to speak the language of the end user. Are you going for mobile users? Create something in a vertical, mobile aspect ratio.

5.     Sequence the customer journey.
The most important part of incorporating a 6 second video into your strategy is to make sure you create its teammates of content that guide the user down the customer journey. In the upper funnel, the 6 second video is a great way to spread awareness with prospects. Retarget them later with longer form content that dives deeper into your brand and your product line. Then, come back with more short form videos that hit on different messaging points and start the process over.

Creating something that engages audiences is the most important part of a short form advertisement. In an advertising landscape where brands are literally fighting for the attention of their audiences, you need to go beyond the sell and become entertainment.


Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash

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