Become a marketing hero in 5…4…3…2…1.

Become a marketing hero in 5…4…3…2…1.

“It’s so annoying – I just wanna watch the video not the ad!”

“I’m pressing the skip button before the 4 secs are up!”

These verbatim quotes came from some Gen Zers (aka ‘youths’) in an internal research group session at The Buzz Ltd. Listening to their feelings about ads you realise just how razor thin their patience for commercial interruption is. If we rewind a generation or two, youths would probably say the same thing – except 4 seconds would be 30 seconds, and we’d be talking about turning a dial to avoid an ad rather than swiping a screen or pressing a skip icon.

Now with so much power in the hands of those in front of the screen, one wonders what’s possible with a 5 second ad? Is it enough time for a brand to connect? Can your product ‘speed date’ with a consumer and create a bond? In Gen Zers’ ‘devicebrandsentertainmentmessagingplatform-saturated’ world, as improbable as it seems it definitely is possible.

Now for argument sake let’s fast forward through “the known” i.e. these Gen Zers hardly watch broadcast TV; listen to broadcast radio sporadically at best; and printed newspapers…well…’the less read about that the better’. They’re streaming; on Youtube; playing online games; and are on/off all sorts of social media platforms. Let’s also fast forward past the ‘influence of the online influencers’, the peer product-review/ recommendation and other impacts on brand affinity just to keep focus on the precious 5 seconds of an online ad.

In 2019, when the Buzz Ltd visited Google’s Unskippable Labs at a Worldwide Partners conference session “The future of Youtube”, a lot about best practice for ad imagery, story arcs and messaging was discussed. At that time short form was around 15 secs with the 6 sec bumper being a minimum. Now in 2021, you can shave a couple seconds off that minimum but the same principles still apply. Remember consumers are in charge and their attention is a favour to you. So let’s answer how to get the best out of a 5 sec ad from their viewpoint:

1. Are you entertaining me?

Being visually (and sometimes audibly) interesting is a must. There must be something that’s engaging them, teasing them, exciting them, making them think or feel. 5 secs can still tell an impactful 1000-word story.

2. But focus. What message telling are you telling me?

Notice the emphasis on singular ‘message’ – not messages. Attempting anything more than one message and you risk getting bypassed. The message doesn’t have to be a sentence about a product attribute either. Is it a vibe? A new label? An emotion? Whatever is THE most important thing, let it be about that and just that.

3. So you got my attention – what’s next?

You’ve hit the jackpot and got their attention and interest. But this isn’t the end. The google ad they just clicked on, where is it leading them to? Is your website looking and functioning up to their expectations? How does your point-of-purchase display or customer service rep relate to the kickass ad the prospect saw online? The ad is the first step, but by no means should it be the last. To build trust in your brand, make sure the brand ideals you want permeate the entire customer experience.

To conclude, another ad quote from our research group: “I won’t skip it…according to what’s it about”.

So let’s make it entertaining, relevant and the catalyst for a deeper engagement with your brand. And remember you only got 5 seconds…