Adverphobia. You might not know the word, but your brand has probably already suffered this growing phenomenon. Adverphobia describes the aversion customers feel towards advertising, and it’s likely to be weakening your promotion strategy. The question is: how can brands engage customers when their span of attention is getting shorter and shorter?
What is adverphobia and what are the consequences of this phenomenon?
The amount of advertisements we are exposed to in a day has become overwhelming. Advertising is everywhere: on your TV, on your phone, on billboards when you are waiting for the bus. This omnipresence has created a feeling of aggression among viewers, who feel trapped and unable to escape this constant unsolicited media. What’s more, a large portion of these people claim they feel oppressed by the amount of information they receive in a single video, ultimately making them less likely to actually assimilate the information communicated.
In 2013 a study conducted by TNS Sofres reported that 81% of French people think that advertising has become too invasive. They respond to this boredom (or annoyance) with regular-length advertising by doing something else, and therefore not giving any attention to the message conveyed by the ad. Some will even zap or block the content completely. Engaging consumers with regular advertisement has become nearly impossible.
New platforms and devices have prompted the need for new formats
Adverphobia is not the only reason marketers should be considering drastically shortening their videos. The use of social networks such as Facebook and YouTube for video consumption—along with the increasing use of smartphones and tablets—has completely changed consumer habits.
According to a 2014 Adreaction study, 90% of media consumption is done on desktop, tablets or smartphones. Tablets and smartphones are often used on the go during commuting time, which gives an average window of 10 to 30 minutes. During these periods, people don’t have time for long, heavy content. Add to this limited time the restriction of data, not to mention the unwillingness of users to spend their entire data plans on viewing your branded content. As these devices now represent 47% of digital media consumption, especially on social, they have become a key outlet for branded video. You need to adapt your content to these new consumption habits.
Studies have proven that after 3 minutes the viewer’s attention decreases drastically, to a point where it’s almost useless to keep pushing information.
Introducing the micro-video
So your consumers live busy lives and they’re constantly engaging with content that may or may not be useful or even to their liking. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want to engage with content that is actually entertaining or useful to them, brands simply need to make the most of all the little moments during which their audience is paying attention throughout the day.
With the success of platforms like Vine and Snapchat, people got acquainted with new digital entertainment formats. They liked this easy-to-consume, on-the-go content that didn’t ask them to stop all other activity in order to engage. As per usual, professional content creators quickly got on this trend and started creating their own flash content, especially on Snapchat. The success of this type of content is gradually prompting content creators and brands to increase the use of flash video to other platforms, like Facebook—a trend that the social media itself encourages as they are on a crusade for video sharing dominancy against YouTube. Indeed, Facebook’s format is better suited for short videos, and the platform was quick to see the opportunity in this highly engaging format so willingly consumed by audiences.
The key to this particular format? To be there when consumers need your content the most, and to deliver the right information to the right audience. A few years back, Google introduced micro moments, those events in consumers’ day-to-day lives that prompt them to take action: search a product, notice a want or need, buy something… These are the moments at which you need to be there succinctly delivering engaging information on your product or service.
If you want to succeed with your content, you need to think about both the platform and the format. Consumer trends are all pointing towards shorter, less abrasive content. Less is more, as the saying goes, and it’s true: sometimes by limiting ourselves we deliver more direct information that will satisfy consumers without overwhelming or irritating them.
Focus on the content creators that are already on top of this trend
To illustrate the engagement ability of short videos we zoom in on two different content creators in two different sectors that are already succeeding at making micro-videos:
Refinery 29 blog
Rafynery29 is a lifestyle website targeting women. They cover various subjects, from beauty hacks to cover stories about inspiring women, and they have been one of the first to invest in micro-videos. They have a community of almost 4 million followers on Facebook and boast thousands of likes on each of their videos.
The popular site also Snapchat feeds, flash tutorials on Facebook and 30” to 3:30” videos on their websites.
The strength of their videos lies in the amount of information they convey within a limited time constraint, thanks to a savvy mix of videos featuring either regular people or pop culture references, colourful captions and minimal use of talking heads, effectively proving that you can be informational without being chatty.
This content is both entertaining and useful: the perfect mix for capitalising on their audience’s procrastination time.
Tasty speedy recipes
Tasty is a food channel created a year ago by the king of fast entertainment, Buzzfeed. The concept is simple: recipe tutorials presented in less than 2 minutes, executed so attractively that viewers are compelled to run to the store for ingredients or head to the cupboard for food every time they watch an episode. In just one year, Tasty has accumulated over 50 million Facebook Fans and 84 million comments on each of their videos. The channel has even created “franchises” all over the world with Proper Tasty in Britain, Miam in France and DIY channel Nifty.
Tasty is pure entertainment, and though you’ll probably need to double check the written recipe they never forget to post in their comment section, their videos are a guilty pleasure for users: they lighten their audience’s mood and make them want to cook the same way you wish your communication would make those same users want to like your channels and buy your products.
So no need to go over the top with your videos. Don’t forget that less is more, and a little creativity, the right format and some strategic timing is all you need to engage your consumers.