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Digital Marketing, News & Trends, Social Media - 2 October 2023

How to capture your audience’s attention in seconds: optimising video for social media

Short-form content traditionally refers to any media under 10 minutes and has been with us ever since we could advertise products on film. Some of the most iconic short-form content includes the Coca-Cola truck, the Cadbury drumming gorilla and the endearing John Lewis Christmas campaigns.  

Short-form content has transformed over decades thanks to the exponential rise of social media and the ideal short-form content is now between 30-60 seconds. Now, more than ever, influencers and companies are fighting for audience attention with short, snappy and engaging video content. 

Capturing your audience’s attention in seconds is crucial for successful video content on social media, where users scroll quickly and have limited time to take in information. What are the best ways to fight the scrolling finger? 

Make it eye-catching 

How often have you been scrolling and stopped on content that has got your attention? What was it about that post that made you interact with it? There’s a good chance that it included vibrant visuals, intriguing text or a stand-out hook. 

Engage your audience 

You have a matter of seconds to hook your audience. Pose a thought-provoking question, present a surprising fact or showcase a compelling image to make viewers want to keep watching. Give them a reason to be invested in your content. Communicate the value or benefit viewers will gain from watching your video right from the beginning and make it clear why they should stay with you. 

Less is more 

Keep your content short and concise; every second counts. Aim for a length that respects platform constraints (on average between 15-60 seconds). Focus on your core message and trim any unnecessary content. 

Tell a story 

Narratives resonate with audiences. Begin with a concise story arc that presents a problem, solution or conflict in the opening seconds, making viewers curious about the resolution. Evoke emotions quickly through relatable stories, humour or touching moments. Emotions can foster a deeper connection with the audience. 

You’re on mute  

Most social media videos are consumed muted; this is the nature of scrolling on your phone while out and about. Content can adept, with the use of bold text overlays and captions.  

Be a peacock 

Use visually engaging elements like vibrant colours, dynamic visuals and quick cuts to maintain viewers’ attention. Aesthetic appeal can pique curiosity and maintain watch time. If it works in the natural world, it can work in the virtual world.  

Show and tell 

Craft a title and description that provoke interest and curiosity while accurately representing the content. Pose a question or create a sense of anticipation. 

Whole world in your hands 

Never has a hymn been closer to the truth. The majority of short-form content is consumed through a mobile device so ensure you adapt your video aspect ratios to 9:16 to fill the screen of the device.  

Testing, testing! 

Continuously monitor the performance of your videos. Use analytics to see where viewers drop off and what content performs best. Adjust your approach accordingly. 

Be consistent 

Establish a recognisable style or format for your videos. Consistency can build brand identity and make viewers more likely to engage with your content. Follow your brand guidelines and use the same fonts and colours to help give a familiar feel to your videos. 


Remember, the first few seconds are crucial, but the entire video should remain engaging to retain viewers’ attention. Experiment with different strategies, analyse results, and adapt your approach to continually improve your social media video content. 

Could short-form video content enhance your business on social media? Get in touch with our team today to find out how video can boost your business. 

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