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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Davies - Director

The 5 seconds rule

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

The content creators dilemma

  • You've spent 5 months making your beautiful shiny new video.

  • You've had 5 of your best people plus an agency working on it around the clock.

  • You've made 5 minutes of gloriously plotted, perfectly arched storytelling that will leave your audience gasping with self-realisation and hunger to donate but...

...when you put it live, a high percentage of viewers drop off after just 5 seconds.

Try this storytelling telling strategy...

Long videos aren't a bad thing, but you should put all the important information near the start. Think about what you want your audience to do as a result of watching the film and try to convey it early on.

Set up a clickable call to action

Consider using a clickable annotation or a very clear CTA (Call to Action) within the first 3 seconds as a graphic on-screen.

In YouTube Studio, go to the video details editor, click on 'Cards' and 'Add Card'.

To link to an external site (i.e. a donation page or petition) you'll need to be part of the YouTube partner program.

Put your key message or story hook at the very start

Try to condense the key issue and solution of your campaign into less than 5 seconds; if that can't be done then consider just stating either the problem or the solution - whichever is most intriguing.

We made this short for Humane Society - we front-loaded the film with a hook that positions a problem to be resolved. Take a look >>


Consider a storytelling strategy that keeps your audience engaged with your communication campaign with regular video updates on social media.

Partner with us to keep consistency through your year-long social video output and keep production costs right down.

Call us (020 3575 1210) to discuss annual content packages starting from £6k + VAT.


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