Archive for August 5th, 2013

Keep It Brief

Always. Always. Always.

And not only because attention spans are supposed to be getting shorter (33% of viewers abandon an online video by the 30 second mark, 44% by the 60 second mark) but because no one remembers what you say in a long video. They might remember the first couple things, and they’ll certainly remember the last. But the meaty middle? Forget it. Your viewers certainly will.

This is due to the serial position effect, a reality scientists were describing long before the age of A.D.D. The simple fact is: no one has a perfect memory, although our memory for first impressions and closing arguments is pretty darn good.

So a graph of “stickiness” as a function of content placement might look like this:

The gray middle is the place of hazy recall, of low impact, of washed-out content and wasted marketing effort. In a 7 minute video, it represents perhaps the middle 5. Like it? Neither do we. But it’s the nature of the brains we’re trying to sell to.

So cut out the gray middle — it’s useless anyway — and acknowledge that you can’t say it all at once. Break your message into smaller, two- or three-minute chunks. Give your audience time to absorb and reflect.*

And try not to be too caught up in the throes of composition. Remember: Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan can sell a 3-hour movie because they’re selling a movie. You’re selling a message. Keep it brief.


*This is what we did with Cool Clubs — created several short clips highlighting their main features/benefits, instead of one epic video advertisement. The result is shorter, more easily-digestible information, plus the ability for users to self-select, watching only the bits they’re interested in. See our portfolio for more.

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