As we all know, the first few seconds of social video content is incredibly important. Within this time, you're going to either stimulate the viewer to keep them watching or encourage them to scroll the post into the depths of Facebook, blending it in with a heap of other irrelevant content.

That, I'm sure we can all agree on.

However, this insight be misunderstood and be perceived as an immediate defeat and result in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

"People only watch the first 5 seconds, so make sure everything good happens in that timeframe and we see lots of branding. No one will watch the rest of the video anyway."
- Someone et al. (2017)


The flaws with this might seem obvious, but the above request has been made on multiple occasions. Whilst the above statement might be made with somewhat good intentions, this approach can be extremely detrimental for the success of video content.

As soon as you've presumed that your audience will only watch the first 5 seconds, you've already conceded before you've started. Why include the rest of of the video?  During your editing phase the original creative will end up disregarded and compromises will be made in attempt to claw back success, under the guise of a presumed failure.

Frankly, awkwardly cramming the key messages, best shots and all your branding into the first 5 seconds of a longer video with detrement to the overall structure is going to be the exact reason why people will not be inclined to watch the rest.

It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sure - It's important to be aware of an audiences viewing habits and the first 5 seconds really does needs to grab their attention. I'm not suggesting we ignore research, studies and best practice, but let's not mistake that age old challenge for an immediate defeat.

The aim should always be to craft quality content which is structured how the initial, strategically-lead creative intended it to be structured. Tell the story you set out to tell. When done correctly (that's story for another time), people will be more inclined to connect, engage and continue to view the full video.
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