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The Goldfish Dilemma for Brands

How can you leave an everlasting impression in 8 seconds?

Studies show that I have 8 seconds to keep your attention before your first distraction.  For brands, that makes marketing, a pretty tough job. We empathise.

Since the rise of Snapchat and Instagram, video is now the preferred format for many digital strategies with the like of P&G “increasingly using five-second to six-second formats that quickly convey the brand and the benefit”.  The reason video works is because people digest visual information 60,000x faster than processing text.

The studies that show humans now have less attention span than a goldfish are even more apparent when we see YouTube launching a new 6-second ad unit the user can’t skip.  These ‘bumper ads’ have been designed for mobile and are looking to replace, if not, tease any longer form content.  You can also use them for serialized ads — short bursts of videos that, over time, tell a story.

So, like with any marketing, this timeframe is a challenge, but an exciting one.  How do we take a brand idea or product-sell and condense it down to just 8 seconds?  For example, the headline of this article was enough for you to get the jist and then go away and think about how you’re going to implement it for your brand.  So, what’s your elevator pitch?

Consumers are sitting there scrolling faster than you can imagine through social media on their mobiles and you need to engage them.  They also tend to be turned off by anything that is too engineered.  People want authenticity.  It should include real people, have minimal scripting and be lighthearted in a way that makes someone smile or laugh.

The larger and more fearful an organisation, the harder they will find this to do.  Brands need to be brave enough to let a camera behind the scenes and not produce anything that is too scripted or glossy.  This is what people want to see and they want it short and snappy, in bitesize, digestible content.

Humans are in fact adapting and studies show the ability to multitask has increased.  For example, researchers from the University of Illinois found that expert video gamers could in fact “track objects moving at greater speeds; detect changes to objects stored in visual short-term memory, switch more quickly from one task to another, and mentally rotated objects more efficiently.”

So whilst you plan your content calendars for 2018, here’s what we would prioritise:

  • Short form video

  • Condensed brand ideas

  • Authenticity

  • Humour

What can you do in 8 seconds?

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