At the advent of online video, the digital medium was understood by few and utilized properly by even fewer. Typically, a 15- or 30-second TV spot would be re-used in rich-media banners and other placements. Digital was seen as just another tactic in a larger advertising campaign, and an afterthought when it came to commercial production.
While TV still generally reigns supreme for ultimate scale and reach, the times are changing. In the past few years, online video has exploded in popularity and is being far better monetized. In fact, according to eMarketer, digital ad spending will overtake TV by 2018. That means more and more opportunity for advertisers to reach their audience online, as well as a whole new set of considerations when creating commercials and branded content.
The 5-Second Hook is a simple concept, but an entirely new consideration for advertisers. The rise of native advertising and YouTube’s TrueView has made the “skip” button a ubiquitous artifact in online video viewing. As more and more publications have attempted to monetize content online (especially in the shrinking print industry), the use of interstitial video ads has exploded.
Typically, the user has to watch at least 5 seconds of video before being allowed to skip. This little window of time is precious. And a TV spot made to be played in a full 30 seconds may not do the job. Advertisers need to consider these first 5 seconds and either plan for it in their main spots, or create alternate cuts for these placements.
In the best-case scenario, you’ve created an introductory 5 seconds that’s so interesting, so alluring, so amusing that your audience simply can’t help themselves. They must watch. Some brands have gotten clever with it, creating ads that parody the skip button, or directly address the skip button while breaking the 4th wall.
However, in most cases your commercial is usually going to get skipped, no matter how interesting your content is. So make those 5 seconds effective. Make sure the viewer moves on with at least an impression of your brand or campaign.
Advances in technology have made considerations when creating a spot that much more daunting. Even outside streaming and online video, there’s other challenges that technology has presented us in advertising. For example, rampant DVR usage has created the need to consider how a spot looks when being skipped, necessitating “key frames” that allow a message or brand imprint to resonate during fast-forward.
To be more effective advertisers in the age of the 5-second hook, brands must begin campaign planning by acknowledging and embracing these new challenges.