PMG Digital Made for Humans

6-Second Video Best Practices

3 MINUTE READ | August 22, 2017

6-Second Video Best Practices

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Emily Nelson

Emily Nelson has written this article. More details coming soon.

Vine may be dead (R.I.P.), but the 6-second video certainly didn’t die with it. In fact, 6-second videos are becoming an increasingly popular ad format as the world of social media continues to become cluttered with more and more content. Advertisers are being creatively challenged with telling a powerful, engaging brand story in a short period of time.

In 2016, YouTube championed this format with their bumper ads, which are 6-second, unskippable pre-roll units. They encourage using the bumper ads as a complement to other video ad products to reinforce messaging, rather than replacing :15 and :30+ second video ad campaigns. In April, they reported that 9 in 10 bumper ads improved ad recall and had an average lift of over 30%.

Many major players are following suit. Recently, Fox announced that they are rolling out 6-second, unskippable ads across its digital and on-demand properties. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated that in testing :06, :15, and :30 second videos, 6-second videos performed best against all brand metrics. Now, Facebook is encouraging advertisers to create shorter videos and rethink how people consume their content.

As the need for swift storytelling becomes vital to a brand’s media strategy, we wanted to put together a list of best practices for creating 6-second videos. They are as follows:

Begin with the most captivating elements first, whether it be talent, a strong action, or even the brand identity. Advertisers have less than three seconds to keep users engaged prior to skipping their ad, if possible. It’s important to utilize the six seconds to evoke an emotion to keep the audience’s attention even after the quick video is over. YouTube says “don’t beat around the bush” and include what’s most important and actionable.

As mobile video consumption continues to rise, the majority of users are watching videos with sound off. On average, 85% of users listen to videos with the sound turned off. You can combat this by making sure your video tells a compelling story with or without sound. Use text and graphics, Facebook auto-caption tools, or upload a SRT file to your video ad to add captions to help deliver your message.

Be original. According to YouTube, users come to YouTube to learn, watch, and be entertained, so make sure your video contains original content. It is important to create videos with your audience in mind as people are more likely to pay attention to videos that are relevant to their interests.

While the last 6 seconds of your 30-second spots seem to get your point across, the most engaging 6-second videos will be those that were built to be 6 seconds. This is because a 30-second spot may not translate into 6 seconds well. Additionally, do not assume that your video is platform agnostic. A native, impactful six second YouTube bumper ad should differ from a six second Instagram Story video ad.

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Seems pretty obvious considering you only have 6 seconds, right? But it’s imperative to remember that these snackable videos are the perfect opportunity to get one clear and simple point across, unlike long-form videos that can include a story, a tagline, an offer, etc. She may not have been referencing advertising, but Heather Hart said it best: “It’s better to do one thing well than ten things poorly.”

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