Trailer Tips

Grab the audience right from the start

When you view a video on the web, particularly on a news site, sometimes there is an ad you have to watch before the video appears. You cannot skip the ad or fast forward. This is called a video Pre-Roll. The advantage to the advertiser is you cannot avoid the ad if you want to see the video. The drawbacks to the viewer are obvious, and often I just close the browser tab thinking I don’t want to see the video that badly.

YouTube has taken a different approach called TrueView. The ad appears before the video, but you have to watch only five seconds, then you can skip the ad.

The challenge for the advertiser is to grab viewers in that five seconds, or they are gone. The same applies to your trailer. Grab with the first line. The Drowned Cities is one of my favourites for grabbing the viewer.

Think hard how many seconds your viewer will give you. For fiction, unless it is a book by a well-known author, you probably have ten seconds. Non-fiction needs to lead with the problem you are solving with the book. Using a minute of slow build-up to the exciting climax may be a nice idea, but most people will not get there. Remember, the next video is only a click away.

On the left, the length of the advertisement is displayed. If the ad is long, this encourages the viewer to skip it. Think about your behaviour. Would you watch a 2:30 commercial?

Five seconds later

Superdrug – a UK drug store chain took a different approach.

They did several unique things.

  • Deliver a viewer benefit (the sale items) in the first five seconds, so even if the viewer skips, the advertiser got their key message out
  • If the user skips, the advertiser does not pay for the ad, as the first five seconds are free
  • Talk directly to the viewers and tease them about staying around after the first five seconds.

Think of the old adage – “If you can’t fix it, feature it.” In a light manner, grab viewers in the first five seconds and give them a reason to listen.

Never Lead with a Logo

The start of a trailer is the most important part. Leading with a publisher or producer logo implies they are the most important thing about the book. Viewers may think that it is time to find a puppy or kitten video.