Gone in 6 Seconds (Or Less)

Author: Matt Lowery
Posted: Apr 19, 2021

A few years ago, I cracked open an internet browser to check out the trailer for a movie I was excited about. I hit the play button but this time around, something entirely new occurred: a six-second “mini trailer” played before the actual, full-length movie trailer. To be clear, this was not an ad for something else; indeed, it was a truncated trailer for the same film, attached to the front end of the video itself. 

Ladies and gentlemen, fellow participants in the Attention Economy: we now live in the age of the micro-trailer. The Trailer Trailer. The mini-trailer, if you will.

Around the same time, the motion department here at VI began receiving requests to deliver our key message within the first 5-6 seconds of digital video ads. Knowing that our top-notch digital and social teams are always deploying innovative solutions, we thought we’d explore why so many brands, agencies, and creators have zeroed in on the first few seconds of digital video communications.

Fast forward to 2021. What has changed? Are we still focused on the first 5-6 seconds? If so, why? Check out my conversation with VI Senior Digital Strategist, Alex Taylor, below, and I’ll be back with a few notes after the video.


So, let’s quickly recap:

  • The first 5-6 seconds of digital video ads are incredibly important because our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter every day. If we don’t offer up key messaging points or brand ID, it’s unlikely that our efforts will land with our audiences.
  • What we do in the first 5-6 seconds is equally as important. Ideally, brands should present themselves visually or hint at the key messages of the ad. Long gone are the days when your call-to-action was placed only at the end of a video ad. To generate results, you must assume that many viewers will not watch your video all the way through.
  • If you’re in charge of creating micro-trailers for your clients, try thinking about powerful, pre-existing examples from brands - like the Xbox logo stinger (check out the first second of this trailer). It’s just over a second long but clearly and quickly communicates that the message I’m about to receive is from Microsoft.

With this information in hand, the existence of the micro-trailer makes a lot of sense. Decreased attention spans call for video content that communicates quickly and concisely. Otherwise, the audience is gone in 6 seconds (or less!). Keep these tips in mind when planning and creating your next digital video ads and reel in the conversions! 

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