Why The First 10 Seconds Of Your Video Matter Most


The latest study from Visible Measures reports that about 20% of viewers click away to something else within the first 10 seconds of a web video.  Those numbers are disproportionate to other drop-off times, for example the one-minute mark, where about 45% of viewers have left.  The report illustrates just how important the first 10 seconds of a video are if you want to keep viewers watching.  So how exactly do you grab viewers in the first 10 seconds?

You get to the point.  You give them the money shot.  You tell them (or better yet show them) what’s in it for them if they stick around.  All too often people try to dazzle their audience in the first 10 seconds (or longer) with fancy graphics or tricks that “look cool”.  Or they spend time talking about themselves.  Or worse yet, they give no indication whatsoever of what the video is about.

The classic examples of “getting to the point” immediately with video are direct response commercials.  It’s a cut-throat businesses where often companies have over 6-figures invested in a project before a commercial even airs.  And they’ve only got 2 minutes to completely sell you on a product.  So they don’t waste time…they try to hook you immediately.  As a result, many of the commercials turn into cult classics.

Case in point, the Snuggie and Shamwow.  Watch the first 10 seconds of these commercials.  Do they get to the point?  Do they give you a money shot?  Do they show you what’s in it for you if you stick around to keep watching?  Or…do they try to dazzle you with graphics…spend time talking about themselves…or leave you wondering what in the world the video is about?

You be the judge.  But if you watch carefully, you’ll notice that by exactly the 10 second mark, they have gotten to the point.

Then go watch some of your own videos for comparison.  Chances are you’ll discover a lot you can improve on during the first 10 seconds:




  • Hey Dave,

    Really great post. I’d have bought the ShamWow after watching the commercial if I wasn’t in the UK.

    Can’t say the same for the snuggie. I just kept thinking ‘if you want to look like a dork, get yourself a Snuggie’


  • Great Dave.
    If you see my first 2 videos on my new Video-Blog,
    well, I’m doing that mistakes – with fancy intros, etc,.

    But I promise… I will keep your advice in mind,
    at my next one, … it will be – directly to the point.

    Sorry about the language.. but it’s like ShamWOW:
    Made in Germany 🙂


  • Thank you the statistics Dave, it seems that the clients who hire me want that 6 – 7 second sizzle at the beginning, before the message even begins, this will help me educate them and not waste time in AE or Motion to pull off a losing proposition.