Initial Attention Abandonment – The 10% Rule of Internet Video

book vid lit iconSheila Clover-EnglishBook Vid Lit

by Sheila Clover-English

Sheila Clover English, the CEO of Circle of Seven Productions, has been a pioneer in book video production, marketing and distribution for authors and publishers.


Nielsen ratings systems did away with using view counts to measure website success and instead switched over to time spent as a way to rate. This way of measuring success is far more indicative of real life engagement by a viewer. You can have 100,000 hits, but if the viewer isn’t there long enough to at least absorb the message of the video those hits are meaningless.

time on internetMatt Cutler, Vice President of Visible Measures, a company that tracks online behavior, estimates that more than 30 per cent of consumers abandon an online video within the first 10 per cent of its stream. He goes on to give an example saying that for every 100 viewers you will have 30 that will click away within the first 10% of the video. This is called “Initial Attention Abandonment.”

Some of the reasons for Initial Attention Abandonment have to do with trust, transparency, engagement and entertainment.

Trust – This has more to do with branding. Is this a brand viewers know they will have a good experience with? Will they get the kind of content they’re promised by tags and titles?

Transparency – Is the video in a place where the person can tell what they’re going to get? Do they realize they’re getting an ad or are you trying to trick them into thinking it’s something else? Not only can you lose a viewer once they realize they’ve been tricked, but this is a quick way to damage your brand.

Engagement – Does the video give them something to do? Be it physical or mental or even emotional, does the first 10% of your video offer them a way to engage the video? Some videos can be a talking head that just delivers a message, but with every viewer sitting there with their finger on the mouse just waiting to go on to the next thing, there aren’t going to be a lot of videos that can be just an ad message delivery system that will be successful.

Entertainment – Give your most gripping, most powerful, most complete message about your story or product that conveys to viewers that they are being, or about to be, entertained within that first 10% of your video. People have so much to choose from to keep them entertained. Why should they watch YOUR video as a source of entertainment? You need to have something that conveys how entertaining your video is going to be for them right away or you will lose them. You can’t “build” your story or message to a climactic end unless that initial “building” is a sensational opening.

What should I include in the first 10% of my video?

christine-feehanYou should have visuals or text that immediately convey all of the above elements. Not an easy task. Let’s take a look at a successful book video that includes all of these elements, Dark Possession by author Christine Feehan. You can watch the video yourself at Dark Possession – Christine Feehan – TV Version.  I chose the MySpace site specifically because MySpace requires a viewer to watch just over half the video before the view is counted. If you watch less than half, the view won’t count. This video has been viewed nearly 20,000 times.

Trust– The title and description let people know what the video is. It is a book video. It is about the novel by Christine Feehan.

Transparency– From the start we let people know it is a book video by stating it is from Bestselling Author Christine Feehan.

Engagement– The engagement here is emotional. You see the couple running for their lives. You’re told two worlds are colliding, the living and the dead. Now your viewer wants to know what’s happening to the couple. What are they running from? Who are they? What are they? You have engaged them by making them want to know more and by putting an attractive couple in a dangerous environment.

Entertainment– The viewer is given a sense of romance, danger and adventure within a short period of time. They get special effects and at the end, “the tease” that leaves them wondering what happened.

People are more likely to share a video like this. There are several elements that are worth having a conversation about. The video, through text and visuals, poses questions while bringing the viewer into the action.

clicking mouseHow can you keep people from clicking away? Well, if I knew that I’d be making the big bucks! But, I can speculate just as well as any major media goliath can. Part of what keeps them from clicking away is the video itself. Part of it is where the video is located. Is it where people who like paranormal romance reside? Part of it is timing. Your video may end up having something in common with a current news topic. There may not be a whole lot of new content out at that time. Part of it is the topic of the storyline. There are so many factors that go into what will make people stay and watch the video that you really have to concentrate on the things you CAN control.

entertainmentMake a great book video. Make sure the first 10% of your video offers enough to keep them watching. Give it a good title, tags and descriptions. Distribute it to the right online destinations. Instruct your client/author/publisher to utilize it. And then, just like CBS, HBO, NBC or any other media giant…hope it goes viral.


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