Old Spice Meet the Wolfdog

The Critical First 15 Seconds: Video Marketing for Business

It’s absolutely vital that the first fifteen seconds of any video you produce for your business be highly engaging.

Take note…

Research has shown that if a viewer makes it past the first ten seconds of a video they are much more likely to watch the majority or even finish watching it.

If you are unable to peak interest and suck a viewer into your world during this very short time frame all the hard work you have put into video production will be in vain.

A little dramatic I know but most businesses are still making the mistake of opening with a cheesy and slow motion graphic or just going right into the content without any sort of introduction or tease of what’s to come. As viewers we need to be continually fed valuable or emotionally connecting reasons to keep watching your content.

It’s your job to give them those reasons.

Here is a closer look at what elements can be used to in your videos and at what point to use them to mentally trigger your viewers to keep watching:


Play Time :00 Seconds

Make sure you have an eye catching thumbnail graphic acting as the splash screen (the image that’s seen in your video player before pressing play).

Spend some time designing your thumbnail or choosing the best moment to screen capture for use as a thumbnail. High resolution, bright colors, close-ups of faces and a difference in depth from foreground and background are some best practice elements of a good thumbnail.

The thumbnail graphic must also accurately represent the content in your video:

Good YouTube Thumbnails

Play Time :01 Seconds

Avoid using slow fade ins or cheesy intro transitions. If you must fade in keep it to a few frames of video so it doesn’t eat away too much of your precious time.

Play Time :02 Seconds

99% of the time your branding motion graphic or logo should not be shown at this point. You need to hook your viewer first before doing any promoting of your business.

Begin your video with something highly visually interesting or something that teases the content they are about to see.

The main reason people click away from a video at this moment is if it’s poor quality. Your video must be of high enough quality that people will have a positive viewing experience.

You don’t have to have top of line video production gear to accomplish this but clean audio and good lighting will go a long way in keeping your viewers from moving on.

Old Spice Meet the Wolfdog


Play Time :03 – :07 Seconds

You will keep or lose most of your viewers during these four seconds. Here are some ways you can quickly engage your viewer:

  • Ask an intriguing question that will be answered later. “What is the most profound business strategy I learned from my successful father?
  • Show a snippet of something awesome that happens later in the video (perhaps blurring a piece of it to peak curiosity).
  • Do you have a celebrity or known social influencer in your video? Make sure they are featured or name dropped during this time.
  • Tease upcoming information. “In a minute I’m going to tell you my secret Twitter trick…
  • Begin telling a compelling story. “I thought I was going to die. I was completely alone…


If it makes sense for your brand you can be a little sensationalistic.

Think how newspapers and magazines craft headlines that you have to pick up and read more about.
A viewer is also mentally digesting the visuals of your video at this point so using a prop or some sort of visual eye candy can also help grab attention.

Use a visually stimulating set. Keeping it simple and not too distracting to the eye is usually best however there are exceptions if it fits the concept and story of your video.

Promotional Video Screen Wall

If it fits the style of your brand, using several jump cuts can keep resetting a viewer’s brain and help create a higher paced energy level.

You see this technique used a lot by YouTube creators and it works for that audience particularly well.

Consider using visuals with certain colors to evoke different emotions. Read more about the effects of colors at http://www.squidoo.com/all-about-colors

YouTube Meet the Wolfdog


Play Time :08 – :13 Seconds

If you’ve done your job with the first 7 seconds, then the viewer is still interested enough to keep watching and it’s time to “close the sale” by further peaking their interest.

If the setting or look of your video has stayed the same since the start, your viewer has already digested the visuals and is now more actively listening.

  • Did you ask a question in the first :07 seconds? Let them know they will learn the answer during this video and at what point.
  • Did you tell them your exciting topic? Now tease something else that happens at some point in your video that builds on that topic.
  • Has your voice been really formal sounding? Change your tone a bit to be a little more casual and commen. For ex/ “I think you’ll really like what you see…” or “you’ll definitely want to stay until the end of this video because…
  • Jump to another location, setting or camera angle to help mix up your visuals. Consider breaking the ‘fourth wall’ and include light stands or other equipment in the shot. Viewers like this behind the scenes element as it makes them feel more involved. This technique is actually beginning to be used a lot more on major TV productions (like Oprah) as well.

Play Time :14 Seconds

If you have a short branding motion graphic (ideally 5 to 10 secs) now is the time to use it. Make sure it’s professionally done and represents your company accurately. If you can’t afford to hire a motion graphics artist I recommend taking a look at the templates available at graphichive.net and modifying them with your own logo.

Woman Thinking Bubble Chalk Board


Play Time :15 and onward…

Your branded motion graphic should flow seamlessly into your content possibly even beginning to play the audio of your content under the last few frames of the motion graphic.


You’ve made it through the critical first fifteen seconds but you want to keep the engagement factor momentum going. Edit your videos so they move along at an efficient pace and use production elements like music, graphics and other visuals to further enhance the viewing experience.

Learn to create videos on topics your customers want to know about and want to share with their friends

Below are a couple examples of solid video openers that make you want to keep watching!

The most important element that will keep your viewers watching is your business consistently creating video content (not ads!) that is of high value to your target audience.

If you hook them with one valuable video then they will most likely be back to watch more and keeping their eyeballs for the first fifteen seconds of these future videos will be much easier.

It's that easy. Ask any questions you have for me below:

Wayne Ford

1 comment

  • […] The Critical First 15 Seconds: Online Video Production For Your Business … It’s absolutely vital that the first fifteen seconds of any video you produce for your business be highly engaging. ” Read this Blog […]

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