6 Ways to Get Viewer’s Attention in the First 3 Seconds Without Sound

For most social platforms, you have up to 5 seconds to capture a users’ interest before they click away. On some, you have as little as three seconds. And here’s the kicker: in many cases, you need to capture viewer interest without any sound.

It’s not all that hard to create a strong video. It’s a lot harder to make viewers care in the same amount of time it takes to ask someone “how are you doing today?”

It clearly can be done, however; the proof is all around us, since video has become an essential and lucrative part of most business’s marketing strategies, both organic and PPC. To give you some inspiration for how you can do this for your business, we’re going to look at 6 incredible examples of how to get viewer’s attention in three seconds or less without so much as a snippet of sound and how to keep it.

1. HubSpot’s “How to Convince Your Boss to Let You Work From Home”

When this video opens up, it has a title card telling viewers exactly why they want to keep watching; they’ll teach you how to convince your boss to let you work at home, preferably in your pajamas (though that last part is more of an unspoken wish). Title cards allow you to get the point across without hoping that viewers catch on or enable the sound. Three seconds go by fast, after all.

What HubSpot does exceptionally well, however, is the smart copywriting they use on the video image. They don’t say “how to work from home,” or even “how to get permission to work from home.” They specifically use the phrase “how to convince your boss to let you work from home,” because this is the specific obstacle many viewers will need to overcome.

They also have a “Best with sound on!” tag that pulsates at the bottom of the video, encouraging viewers to enable sound. Even though it’s only background music, it still helps make the video more engaging.

HubSpot keeps viewers attention by quickly moving through all the steps to get your boss to let you work from home, offering the tactic and the explanation to why it matter.s

2. Purple’s “Sumo-Approved Mattress Foundation!”

Purple is a brand that embodies creative video marketing. They use dynamic characters and semi-outrageous concepts to draw users into their video ad about mattresses, cushions, and furniture. Not the most exciting topic in the world, and yet I’d watch a video from them any day.

The video starts enthusiastically, looking like an 80’s gameshow. The announcer is wearing a purple sparkly jacket with ruffled sleeves, and the zoom-in of the first few frames will visually grab your attention. There’s a lot of energy in the first three seconds, and the unique setting will entice users to click to enable sound.
Within seconds, the word “FIGHT!” appears on the screen. All of this happens so quickly that users will probably see “FIGHT” if they’re not yet engaged and getting ready to scroll away. That will be enough to get them to watch to see what happens next. Once you’ve got the sumo wrestlers wrestling on a mattress, you’ve got them hooked.

3. Always’ “Like A Girl”

The first three seconds of this video show a title card saying nothing but “Do We Limit Girls?” That’s a pretty powerful statement, and they rely on a slight pause to give viewers time to read and digest question, and want to see more. They’re using this emotional appeal to set up the rest of the video and grab your attention, telling you up front that the world does limit girls and that you’ll see how.

They use the strong emotional appeal of the messaging to keep users’ interest, showing how sexism affects young girls. Girls share examples of how they think this messaging affects them, really driving home the message and keeping viewers hooked. They ultimately show the women destroying the symbolic blocks containing the messages, making for a memorable visual.

4. Moo’s “Tech I Can’t Live Without”

Moo produces exceptionally high quality business cards (I can’t recommend them enough), and their video marketing is top notch. The video example is a great example of this.

Like some of the other videos on the list, they use text in the first three seconds to immediately tell users why they should watch. Since we’re constantly surrounded with articles like “Six Things CEOs Do Every Day When They Wake Up” and “5 Secrets Experts Use to Grow Their Businesses” (because we all want to know the secret to how we can get there, too), this is a great strategy. It also doesn’t come across overtly promotional even though it turns into a full-fledge Moo commercial halfway through, which can draw users in to watch further.

5. Purple Rock Scissors’ “Day in The Life”

Purple Rock Scissors uses a strong opening visual combined with a time lapse effect. This effectively captures the eye gets viewer’s attention within the first three seconds. You want to know what he’s writing, and why. The clean design of the video draws your eye towards what he’s doing, making it seem even more important.

Immediately following the opening, they introduce the individual- their content strategist- both through voiceover narration and subtitles. If users get past those first three seconds, the subtitles will make sure they stick around and get the point.
They keep your attention by physically demonstrating how he goes about strategizing for the company’s clients and using gimmicks like having him literally wear different hats (which I think is genius). The video keeps you around by being informative and entertaining at the same time, while efficiently demonstrating how important their client satisfaction is to them.

6. Moe’s “Putting Microwaves In Their Place”

The Moe’s video below is an excellent example of a video campaign that’s engaging overall, and that includes those crucial first three seconds. The video starts with a title screen reading “Don’t try this at home, in a field, or anywhere.” I don’t think anyone has ever read a statement like that and not wanted to find out whatever came next.

The video then immediate shows someone dragging a microwave out of a car trunk. There’s text overlay explaining what’s happening, that microwaves are being put “in their place.” Fascinated, viewers can watch microwaves dragged across a field, dropped from a helicopter, and finally blown up in a fantastic display. The video is entertaining, keeping viewers wondering what they’ll do next to this poor machine. The video is also a great advertisement for Moe’s, which is using the message to display their superiority as a restaurant.

Final Thoughts

Capturing viewers’ interest in just three seconds or less is no easy task, and keeping it can be even harder. These six videos, however, showed how creativity, text cues, and strong visual effects can help you hang on for those first three seconds and win them over. With these techniques and Shakr’s high-converting templates, you’ll be able to get viewer’s attention in no time. Test different strategies to see what works for your business, and get ready to watch your video view counter skyrocket.

Shakr’s video templates make it easy to add text, music, and improved organization to your videos. Get started on your free trial today

Ana Gotter is a business writer specializing in social media and content marketing, though she writes on a variety of other niches and subjects. She can be contacted at anagotter.com.