Instagram, Vine and Marketing to Our Short Attention Spans [VIDEO]

Tara Urso
Tara Urso Social Media and Content Strategist, insight180

Posted on August 22nd 2013

Instagram, Vine and Marketing to Our Short Attention Spans [VIDEO]


Marketing in an Ever Noisier World

The advent of social media, mixed with the accessibility of technology which allows us to create content easily, has caused our world to become increasingly noisy. With an audience already overwhelmed , where does that leave brands and their marketing efforts? The louder the noise, the harder it is to hear one specific message. A current trend in marketing and advertising can be summed up in one word—short. In recent years this trend has also been seen in movies and music videos. Short shots, sometimes only three seconds long, have conditioned us to only want to pay attention to snippets.

Short is in Demand

With the recent announcement that Facebook plans to adopt video ads, marketers will soon (this fall) be filling 15 second spots in your Facebook News Feed. Why so short? According to a recent poll, 15 seconds is the max acceptable time limit on ads and Facebook has taken this fact into account.

Youtube's current ad length ranges from 15 - 40 seconds, but with most you can skip the ad after the first five seconds. Youtube knows that people think it’s unacceptable to wait longer to gain access to the content they are trying to watch. For higher demand videos, they don’t allow you to skip it because they know you’ll wait.

When Instagram adopted their video feature they chose 15 seconds as well. Companies have flocked to the platform to create content that will keep their brand name top of mind.

Ford on Instagram:

Vine, Instagram’s video snippet predecessor owned by Twitter, takes “short” to another level. Six seconds. You may be wondering how you could possibly get any sort of message across in six seconds, let alone an entire story but you’d be surprised what viners are coming up with.

Brief, Quality Content

Short doesn't always mean a loss of quality. "The limitations of six seconds can actually lift the storytelling," explained Gabrielle Kessler, account manager for Something Massive, which manages social media for Regal Entertainment Group.

Vine’s six-second format in particular has clicked with viewers. “The short form is extremely valuable, because we want to consume quickly … Brand Vines are shared four times more than other online videos, and five Vines are shared every second on Twitter,” says Heather Taylor, a vice-president at Ogilvy.

Companies like GE, Lowes, Microsoft and more are reaping the benefits of six-second advertising.

For GE a simple illustration of their logo paired with the caption "Innovation starts at the drawing board," is enough to get their brand message across.

Lowes shows a simple how-to demonstration which is meaningful and useful and enriches the lives of their audience, in turn, strengthening their brand image.

Microsoft, promoting their new browser's abilities, uses some humor in an attempt to grab the attention of a younger generation which loves to hate "IE Senior."

Our short attention spans are causing advertisers to present better content (more entertaining, meaningful, funny, likable, or inspiring. . . and NOT self centered), and to condense their point without losing quality or detail. The brands that are getting noticed are the ones who are taking note of this marketing trend and adapting.
How Does this Apply to B2B/Advisory?

Just a few examples of ways B2B companies can utilize short video platforms like Instagram and Vine are:

  • How-to tips and demos. You're an expert in your field. Give a sample of your expertise and leave your audience wanting more!
  • "Take a Tour"  or "Inside Your Business" — your audience is curious about you and want to really know the people behind the business. Let your audience in and strengthen that bond between brand and audience.
  • Offer a contest. Get your audience involved and excited about your brand by offering them an incentive to be your brand ambassadors.
Apply this Marketing Trend to All Content Creation

For business to business (b2b) and advisory firms, you may feel it’s not appropriate to use something like Vine or Instagram for video or you may not have the time to create something meaningful. While there are many things you can do as a b2b company with those platforms, it’s also useful to take this lesson in marketing trends and apply it to other elements of marketing.

Ways to be brief yet get the point across and keep your audience engaged.

  • Focus on images 
  • Keep it short
  • Quick, interesting or clever headlines

Regardless of the medium, make sure that your message is interesting and meaningful. It can be informative, amusing, entertaining and/or inspiring. Your posts online should connect with your audience in some way, whether it be emotionally or intellectually. And above all it needs to represent your brand well. Be sure the brand message is clear and relevant to your audience.

One of the greatest benefits of content creation platforms is the ability to "humanize" your brand. Buzzfeed did a great job in this simple Vine of some employees dancing. It conveys that they are a fun company and gets their audience excited about supporting that type of company. We talk more about humanizing your brand in our previous blog post about meaningful brands.

Tara Urso

Tara Urso

Social Media and Content Strategist, insight180

Tara Urso is a Social Media and Marketing Strategist at insight180 branding and design, a branding and design firm specializing in B2B advisory firms and those who "sell the invisible." She frequently writes for the insight180 blog. You can find her on Google+, Linkedin and Twitter.

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