When it comes to online video, YouTube says that you need to engage the viewer in the first  15 seconds of a video.  This isn’t a new idea.  All marketing has had this same challenge  when it comes to engaging the audience in the first few seconds, whether it be a direct mailer, TV commercial, or website.  We decided to poke fun at this idea in our video called “12 seconds.”  The woman in the video gives each of the videos she views 12 seconds to get her attention.  They all fall short. In one last ditch effort, they all come together and still can’t seem to get it right.

You have all seen videos that have made these mistakes and have driven viewers away.  Here are some other common mistakes.


  • Slow fade in
  • Introduction with lots of opening graphics and titles, like a 1980’s tv show.  It might have worked for the Dukes of Hazzard, but unless you have an orange car and a cousin named Daisy, it is best to lay off the opening graphics.
  • Screen cast that starts with the computer screen and doesn’t introduce us to the host


Tips for a better first 15 seconds

  • If you must put your logo in the beginning, do what in TV is called a ‘soft opening’.  It gives the viewer an idea of what they are going to see and then show your logo after that.  This is very common in TV shows today.
  • Start with a compelling story.  Draw your audience into your video.  This isn’t as hard as it sounds.  Just tell them how you went above and beyond for a client.  Another option is to tell about a funny thing that happened.  For example, once we had a girl drop our wireless mic in the toilet by mistake.  Now that you know this story, when you call to schedule your video remember to make sure to request the ‘non toilet’ microphone.  But seriously, humor is a good thing.