Mobile has put our minds in overdrive. We consume content at hyper speed and scroll through our feeds in no time flat. Living with a deluge of content hasn’t meant choosing what content to view as much as it’s meant consuming what content is available at a faster pace than ever before.
Facebook’s found that we spend 1.7 seconds, on average, with content viewed through mobile in our News Feeds. It’s not much better on desktop—2.5 seconds. People want to be entertained. They want to be engaged, but they do not want to give any piece of content, be it from friends or brands, more than a moment of their time.
Needless to say, 1.7 seconds is not much time. What could possible be accomplished in 1.7 seconds? Well, in 0.25 seconds people can recall content they’ve seen in their News Feeds. That’s it. 0.25 seconds.
This research certainly benefits Facebook as it tries to contend with the fact that people tend to skip ads. Facebook's trying to say that doesn't really matter because 1.7 seconds is all you need. The value of those 1.7 seconds is certainly up for debate, especially with a research claim like this one, but that's how marketers should operate. Assume the worst. Assume seconds is all you'll get.
The gauntlet’s been thrown for advertisers. Marketers should assume 1.7 seconds is all they’ll get from people, and anything beyond that is extra. That’s quite the line in the sand, so what’s an advertiser to do?
Make an Impression from Frame One
You have to hit the ground running and make those initial seconds count. That means doing two things. First, establish the impression. You don’t just want the viewer to remember they saw a video. You want them to remember they saw a video from your brand. Second, hook them early and hook them quick. 1.7 seconds is the minimum. Draw them in for a longer period with something that catches their eye, stands out in their feeds and promises that watching for a longer period of time will be worth it.
Chances are the video's being viewed on a small screen. Have a star and stick with it. A video should be a showcase for a subject, and make sure that subject is what you ultimately hope is remembered by focusing on it.
Speak with Visuals
Yes, Facebook is testing videos being played automatically with sound, especially on Instagram, but all of that still requires action by the user. Just assume sound won’t be a factor in viewing the video and tell the story visually. Sound, like additional seconds viewed, is a great addition, but it shouldn’t be a necessity.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
So you have the user beyond 1.7 seconds? That’s great! But keep it short. Tell the story you need to tell inf the shortest way possible.
Marketers don’t have captive audiences online. People can skip past content with ease and without a second thought. It’s not ideal, so marketers need to work within the limitations their behavior has dictated. Advertising is a game of seconds. Make every one of them count.