We all know that Millennials have the ability to interpret a message within a few seconds due to what has been characterized as a decreasing attention span. However, a recent study released by MIT is almost mind-boggling. According to the report, consumers can decipher what an ad or logo is saying in about 13 milliseconds, roughly 10 times faster than the one-tenth of a second the researchers had initially projected.
While the study subjects weren’t limited to Millennials, the results speak to the value of short-timed content. Keeping advertisements shorter is certainly an idea worth exploring for marketers if they have not attempted it already.
Micro-video websites and apps, such as Vine, Snapchat, Tumblr GIFs, and Instagram Video, have continued to gain popularity among Generation Y. According to Marketing Magazine, Vine grew 403% in 2013. Meanwhile, the majority of Tumblr GIF users (6% of the U.S. population) are between the ages of 18 and 29.
While many brands, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Grub Hub, have attempted to take advantage of the platforms, others are still yet to adopt it, which is ill-advised. Consider this – numbers have shown that users are four times more likely to share a Vine video (or a video around the same length of time) than they are a traditional video.
In addition, many micro-video sites and apps are accessed via mobile devices. This not only makes it easier to reach consumers due to increased exposure, but they are also more likely to share content with friends when using a smartphone.
So how can brands take advantage of the micro-video revolution and short Millennial attention spans in general? There are a few tactics that they should employ in their overall micro-video strategy.
Make Your Branding Visible Right From the Start – You only have a few seconds to make your ad work. Using your logo could certainly garner attention for your brand, but there are ways to be creative, as well. Use product placement or develop a short story revolving around your brand. You might only have 6 to 15 seconds to get your message out there, but, believe me, that is more than enough time to come up with something unique.
Don’t Sweat the Details – The important thing is your message. In many cases, these videos are so short that users won’t notice minor imperfections. Being perfect isn’t what micro-videos are about. As a matter of fact, some micro-video platforms don’t allow content to be saved. So seriously, don’t spend a substantial amount of time sweating the details.
Get the User Involved – Don’t forget to turn the tables. Many users love to watch or look at themselves (selfies, anyone?) and will have no problem sending a video of themselves and their friends doing something ridiculous. The simplified nature of micro-videos serves as even more encouragement to participate. Brands should take advantage of this by asking fans to send in video of themselves using a product or explaining why they love the brand.
Many marketing gurus and critics have declared 2014 the year of the micro-video, and with what recent research has shown there is no doubt that it should be part of a brand’s repertoire this year. However, they need to be sure they make it worth their while (even if it does only take a few seconds).