Web Video: That intro is way too long

The rule is this:

The good stuff must start in 4 seconds. Max.

Which means we start answering the question in 4 seconds. We say something provocative, informative, revealing, intriguing, or useful.

Start showing what the customer came to see. Right away.

In the first four seconds. Or first three seconds.

Skip the black screen, the elegant fade-up titles, the spinning logo, the tagline, the branding, the musical theme, the url.  Skip the slow fade up to an establishing shot. Skip all that and get to the meat.

In four seconds. Or better yet, immediately.

Skip the ‘introductory’ voice-over. Skip anything that starts with “In today’s fast-paced business world. . .”

Omit the part where the person says “Hello and welcome” and talks about what they’re going to say.

Just, you know, start saying it.

Your clients and viewers will bless you. You will do better than 79% of the marketers out there.

In web video, that swanky branding that ‘only’ takes 15 seconds is an eternity. It is an irritation. You are making viewers wait. They don’t care about the logo.

(Yes. I now realize that the videos posted here under Recent Work should have started quicker. Guilty. )

I discovered this painful truth after watching a dozen or so videos in a row as briefing for a client project. Ouch.

That fifteen or twenty seconds of throat-clearing, setup, branding, context-setting, and more branding becomes annoying in a hurry. It’s like starting each video by making your client WAIT. Why?

Yes, in a darkened movie theater, a slow and seductive start may work. But on the web, it’s annoying.

That’s especially true when you’re hoping viewers will click into two, three, or four of your videos on your site. Those intros wear thin very fast.

Notice the talks on TED.com. They are brilliant. But they make you endure the same damn 17-second preamble each time. It is irritatingly repetitive. And adds exactly ZERO to the experience, the information, the context. It is useless clutter.

Get to the good stuff in four seconds. Or even three seconds.

If the boss insists on ‘branding’, do it in the corner of the screen, unobtrusively.

Or better yet, leave the spinning logos and tag line and musical sting for the end, where it belongs.