According to a recent study from Microsoft Corp., we’ve reached a point where the attention span of the average person watching your videos is shorter than that of a goldfish…that’s right, a goldfish.
But the issue isn’t that people don’t care anymore. They’re just better at multitasking than ever before and heavy social media users now know what kind of content they want or don’t want and don’t need much time to figure out which is which.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should stop or fail to ever implement corporate or commercial video production into your marketing plan, because it’s still the best way to reach people with short attention spans.
So, the question is how can you continue to connect with your target audience with your videos and protect yourself from viewer abandonment in an age when viewers are abandoning videos faster than ever?
First off, why have attention spans shrunk?
The truth is, the actual way people pay attention to content and videos hasn’t changed much over time, but a lot else has, and many of these external changes have affected how people allocate their attention.
Think about it; when cars were first made available to people, there wasn’t even the slightest thought of adding an entertainment aspect to them.
People were driving, after all, which was unheard of at the time, so they didn’t need something else to occupy their minds. Their minds were already rendered blown simply from moving down the street in a motorized vehicle.
However, people started getting bored after driving for long periods of time and radios were eventually installed into cars. These days, of course, you can watch your favorite movie on the ride home from work.
The point is, advancements in technology have always led to changes in terms of people’s attention spans, but the way people actually pay attention or retain information hasn’t changed.
So, while there are so many ways to avoid paying attention nowadays, whether it’s via DVR or the availability of multiple devices, that doesn’t mean that using video production to grab and keep their attention is impossible. The game isn’t over, you just need to adjust the way you play it.
Carefully consider context.
The most important tactic to employ when trying to deal with the shorter attention spans and quick decision-making of today’s audiences is to customize your video production for the appropriate context.
Yes, there are more options than ever in terms of where viewers can get content and shift their attention to, however, their level of focus depends on when and where they’re confronted with the video.
For instance, if viewers watch your video during the early evening hours when a TV is typically on in the background or if your video plays in the middle of a series of commercials, viewers will pay far less attention to it, and the same goes for viewers sitting at home watching TV with their laptop and/or smartphone next to them.
On the other hand, someone sitting in a movie theater will likely give their utmost attention to ads that pop up on the big screen because there are no alternatives to turn their attention to.
So, if your ad will be playing in an environment void of many potential distractions, you can afford to lean a little toward the promotional and persuasive side, but if there will be a good chance that the viewer will be multitasking or distracted when watching your video, you need to tailor the content to be more informative or entertaining.
Just remember, it’s a delicate balance. You can’t be overly concerned with entertainment and emotion in commercial or corporate video production or viewers will focus on those aspects of the content and may fail to notice the persuasive portion of it or the brand that created the content.
It’s not just about grabbing attention initially anymore.
The old 8-second rule still stands, meaning you still need to try to grab the viewer’s attention within 8 seconds or less or they’ll likely abandon the video, and for more on that, check out this post: The 8-Second Rule: How to Design Your Video Production to Grab Audience Attention Fast.
However, with all the alternatives out there these days, there’s a chance that viewers may not even be paying much attention at the start of your video and, in those cases, you need to figure out a way to draw them in throughout the course of it.
That could mean using inviting music, colorful images, interesting compositions, etc., but the bottom line is, it’s not all about grabbing that initial attention anymore.
In addition to that, you may want to wait a little while before jumping right into content about your brand or any specific products/services and, even when you do, try to be brief and concise about it, depending on the context of course.
In this day and age, you’re better off concerning yourself with entertaining viewers first and foremost before moving on to the business aspect of the content.
With the world on-demand, you need to earn attention now.
The bottom line is that things have drastically changed in terms of viewer attention rates since the internet emerged. Before that, people had to sit through TV ads and were far more willing to give their attention to purely promotional content.
Now, they can get everything on demand, so they don’t feel that they should have to waste their time on glaringly promotional content. They demand to be entertained to stick around for the entirety of the video.
So, consider the context in which viewers will likely be watching your video to determine its tone and remember that, in many cases, you’ll need to figure out how to grab and/or retain their attention long after the video is underway.
From there, don’t forget the basics. Creating a strong title is always critical and you shouldn’t waste your time with introductions. Lastly, while it’s always a good idea to entertain first to grab the viewer’s attention, be careful not to wait too long to get to your point and to let viewers know what they’re in store for.
About KVibe Productions: A leading film & video production company in NJ / NY, KVibe offers the total package of video production services. Whether it’s a corporate video production, a commercial, a feature film, etc., KVibe creates to inspire.