Attention is a commodity all brands are after. Holding it is another story. 

Effective YouTube ads must grab viewers’ attention within the first five seconds, but this is just the beginning. You must keep it throughout your ad and somehow persuade them to take action to convert them into real leads.

While this may seem simple, it’s far more challenging than it sounds. The top social media production platform for sharing videos is YouTube.[1] In a world where there are thousands of hours of ads are created every single day, standing out takes a bit more thought than a whiteboard meeting.

Skippable ads, ad blockers, and an audience that is passively consuming create a marketing and advertising challenge for any brand. Here are a few tips to give you a competitive advantage. 

Make An Impact Within Seconds

Goldfish, which can focus on an object or job for 9 seconds, are said to have attention spans that are better than ours today, according to scientists.

The average YouTube ad is skipped after 5 seconds.  Based on the average attention span, those 5 seconds are where you need to make the biggest impact and engage the viewer. 

When engaging your audience, creating the perfect hook immediately is the key to keeping their attention all the way through to the end. Customize your hook to match whatever your target demographic is responding to. Use data and research to uncover what people stop scrolling for and what keeps them engaged. 

But don’t just rinse and repeat. You must truly create something that intrigues as much as it entertains. Get creative — play with visuals, VO, color, and music. 

Connect On A Deeper Level

It’s not enough to make ads for the sake of selling something anymore. People need to feel connected to brands they believe understand them, their pain points, and what they care about. 

Seek to spark a conversation or make a connection to certain topics and solutions your audience cares about. Use social networking sites to read the conversations and commentary left to address pain points or concerns head-on within your ad. 

It’s Storytime

Humans love a good story, and a good story comes complete with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Using a story-driven narrative to generate interest within your ad works for multiple reasons. It piques interest by encouraging the viewer to watch and find out how the story ends. 

Using a story to define your brand values, highlight a product, or tell a brand story shows your audience why they should care about what you have to say.

Use The Element Of Surprise

Forget the noise and the same old tired selfies. Use the element of surprise to hook your audience and generate interest. Try using fun graphics, remixing trending sounds and dance moves, and utilizing transitions to attract attention to your ad. 

The point here is that predictable content is a trope that doesn’t attract attention because the viewer already thinks they know how it will end. 

First Impressions

First impressions matter. The opening shot of the video is frequently the most challenging to come to plan because there is no secret trick to generating it.

Including an introductory shot that is jam-packed with information is another strategy for engaging the audience. 

From the opening shot, the background, the camera angle, and giving an emphasis on perceived senses, you have the opportunity to capture attention while sparking familiarity or closeness to your subject. 

Stay Active

Our eyes are naturally drawn to watch moving objects.

It’s always a good idea to show some form of active motion on the screen when starting a video. Moving objects naturally capture the attention of otherwise unfocused minds. Walk, move, dance, draw, drive, skip, hop — just get your scene moving to keep your audience watching.

Use Every Inch Of Your Copy Real Estate

Your video will be viewed with the sound off, you can’t control that. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Text can provide context and inform viewers of what they will see, especially at the opening of a video (it also offers inclusivity for those who are hard of hearing).

Additionally, carefully placed words within your video marketing messaging shape the perception of the viewer about what you’re trying to say. Take advantage of any white space within shots of your ad, filling out descriptions and captions.

Attention Turns To Interest And Interest Into Traffic

The more time visitors spend watching your ad, the more successful and well-liked it will be.

When you capture their attention, you can generate traffic to your brand or business. Take these tips and start producing YouTube video ads that grab attention and generate leads. Always create to inspire and captivate in order to maximize results.



Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based commercial video production company. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations.Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining and useful videos that enrich the lives of his clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.

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