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Using the 8-Second Attention Span for Video-First Marketing on Social Media

Social media is packed with competition. A whopping 93% of marketers use social media to promote their businesses to 4.8 billion social media users, according to Tech Report

With so much competition out there, the best way to stand out is to create incredible content. 

And the best way to create incredible content is to focus on attention-grabbing videos. 

But as businesses and marketers have invested more and more into social media videos, consumers have come to expect high-quality, entertaining content with every video they swipe to. 

And you only have a few moments to capture and hold their attention. 

In fact, some research shows you only have eight seconds to captivate them. 

Related Reading: How to Use Video In Your Social Media Strategy

What Is The 8-Second Attention Span?

A 2015 paper from Microsoft showed the average human attention span was a meager eight seconds, and marketers have since spent their time working to write irresistible hooks into their video content. 

Unfortunately, more recent research suggests the average human attention is even shorter; data from Facebook says the average attention span is two seconds

That’s not much time to really hook a viewer! 

But if you can manage to grab someone’s attention, you’ll quickly benefit. Additional research from Facebook shows 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video are likely to watch it for at least 10 more seconds. 

If you’re going to have a compelling video or video campaign, you need to capitalize on the viewer’s brief attention span.

Related Reading: Why Keeping Up With Social Media Video Trends Matters to Your Brand

How to Take Advantage of the 8-Second Attention Span: 7 Tips

Whether you’re competing for Microsoft’s 8-second attention span or Facebook’s 2-second attention span, the strategy is the same: compelling video. 

But there is plenty of competition in creating great videos. In fact, 86% of all internet traffic in 2022 was used for streaming video

So if you want your videos to truly stand out, follow our recommendations:

1. Understand Which Stage of the Funnel You’re Addressing

What’s true for all marketing content is just as true for your video content: understand where your target audience is in the buyer’s journey.

Are you attempting to reach as many people as possible through an awareness campaign? Or are you aiming for an incredibly specific demographic in an ad campaign? 

The more defined your audience is and the lower you are in the funnel, the more specific and targeted your video content should be.

For example, in an awareness campaign, we generally target the largest possible audience to find—without selling to them—the audience segment that is most interested in a specific product or service. 

From there, we can use that data to develop a new campaign with more specific content that has a call to action. 

As we collect more data on our target audience and audience segments, we can create more focused content for a specific point in the funnel.

BookSync – B2B Animated Video

Learn more about this video.

This short animated video for BookSync gets right to the heart of its message—and to the heart of its target audience’s concerns:

How do you engage and motivate your team? It’s a question that vexes all good team leaders. With BookSync, you can create a culture of constant self-improvement that is trackable, effective, and rewarding…

The benefits of this approach:

  • It speaks directly to team leaders, so it doesn’t concern itself with the general public.
  • It asks a question team leaders may have wondered themselves (somewhere around the top or middle of the funnel): How do you engage and motivate your team? 

Related Reading: Video Lead Generation – Tips & Tricks

2. Plan Your Video Ahead of Time

High-performing content on social media is rarely an accident. Instead, the most successful videos are planned to be engaging and attention-grabbing for the specific target audience. 

UPMC – Children’s Hospital Foundation – 2022

Learn more about this video.

This brief video UPMC Children’s Hospital Foundation only contains 14 shots, but each one was planned and edited alongside a heavily revised script to provide as much emotional impact as possible. Everything in this video is intentional, and that’s helped it become successful.

3. Focus On the Visuals

Your target audience is used to scrolling through videos in search of something that grabs their attention, so make a stellar first impression with a compelling image or clip that forces them to pause. 

Develop an eye-grabbing thumbnail, write a captivating opening sequence, or create a riveting hook viewers can’t look away from. 

Edgar Snyder & Associates – VFX Video

Learn more about this video.

In this Edgar Snyder & Associates promo, the broken glass effect in the picture frames adds a dramatic layer to an otherwise pristine setting—and that’s an unsettling detail that grabs and holds the viewer’s attention. 

When combined with the audio overlay, the message is clear: An accident produces more victims than the person who suffers the injury.

4. Rely on Text And Sound

If you’re using sound in your video to assist in grabbing and holding attention, remember: not everyone scrolls with their sound on. 

So, if you have characters speaking or a voice-over, use text and subtitles to help communicate your message. 

That text will hold attention in the absence of sound and help you succeed within those 2- and 8-second windows. 

Promo Video for The Bristal- We See you Here (1) – 2022

Learn more about this video.

This promo video for The Bristal, a senior living facility, doesn’t rely on a voice-over, but it does use the power of text. 

By animating the text overlays and reversing the meaning of each line, The Bristal makes a powerful statement about the lifestyle potential one enjoys while residing in one of their facilities.

5. Make Your Point As Quickly As Possible

You only have a few seconds to simultaneously grab attention and explain your unique value proposition—so find a way to inject a hook that directly states a problem or need. 

Michigan Ross – Online MBA – Animated Explainer

Learn more about this video.

Within eight seconds of watching this video, a viewer picks up two important facts:

  • You can access resources to accelerate your career. 
  • You can access those resources through Michigan University, which is implied through the logo in the introduction. 

That’s how quickly you can make your point!

Related Reading: Explainer Video Pricing: How to Budget For Explainer Video Production

6. Create Content Hyper-Focused On Your Target Audience

Your content should resonate with the ideal buyer persona. Yes, your video will probably be seen by more than your target audience, but it doesn’t need to convert them; it only needs to convert the people who are most likely to purchase your product or services. 

B3 Solutions – Sight On Scene

Learn more about this video.

Check out how specific the language is in the voiceover for this video we produced for B3 Solutions, a company focused on government organizations:

You run a school district with hundreds of students coming in and out of your buildings daily. 

That introduction immediately speaks to B3 Solutions’ very specific target audience for this video—and it doesn’t worry about alienating people who aren’t inside that demographic. 

Related Reading: Marketing Video Production – 10 Ways of Promoting Your Videos

7. Pursue Originality and Creativity

The average US adult spends more than five hours a day watching videos on TVs, computers, phones, and tablets. That puts a lot of pressure on companies to publish content that is memorable—and that often starts with originality and creativity. 

The more inventive you can be, the more memorable your videos will become. 

E-ZPass – Promotional Video for the PA Turnpike Commission

Learn more about this video.

This video for the PA Turnpike could have been a boring overview of their products and services, but we used an animated background to blend live action with special effects, resulting in a captivating and creative video that grabs and holds attention. 

Partner With An Award-Winning Video Production Company

Choosing the right video production agency will significantly impact your social media’s effectiveness and your overall marketing efforts. 

Partner With An Award-Winning Video Production Company
Choosing the right video production agency will significantly impact the effectiveness of your video marketing efforts. And providing that agency with a good brief is the first step to a successful project. 

Whether you’re producing a series of Facebook reels, a new digital ad, a brand video, a corporate video, or a docu-style video, finding the right video company will impact how well your content grabs and holds attention within eight seconds. 

At Covalent, we can help you create a winning video marketing strategy. Get in touch to explore how we can make your brand come alive with authentic video content.

You deserve creative partners

We've worked with large corporations to small businesses all with the same goal of creating unique and innovative videos—you deserve the same.

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