This week's creator tip comes straight from YouTube's official blog, and concerns the first few seconds of your video. Many creators attempt to use a logo or a piece of music to create a bit of a consistent branding message to open their videos. But YouTube actually recommends you get straight to attention-getting content.

This week's video marketing creators' tip comes directly from YouTube's recently released Creators' Playbook.  How to make video openings that increase viewer attention.

Tips From YouTube On Starting Your Video With A Bang

  • Immediately grab your viewer's attention - this can definitely be done with a flashy visual effect, but can be done more effectively with the actual words you say to open the video.
  • Make it very clear what your video is about - Don't confuse the viewer, or leave them guessing as to what you're about to show them or tell them.
  • Tease the rest of your video in your opening - The idea is to intrigue your audience and pique their interest so they're more likely to stay tuned-in to the whole thing.

To sum up: A custom intro might look cool and help establish your branding, but YouTube says that is not the star of the video. The star is you... or your content. Put that first to entice viewers to stick around throughout the entire length of your video.

View The Full Video Transcript

This week's creator tip for those of you guys who create online video comes straight from YouTube's blog. Basically what we see on TV and on YouTube is we use the first couple opening seconds of our videos to brand our channel or brand whatever our show is. But YouTube says instead to offer compelling content up front, do that first and then brand your channel later.

ALSO ►  List of Video Search Engines and Video Search Web Sites (Updated)

They say start off with something that will immediately grab your viewer's attention, whether it's a flashy visual or something you say, grab their attention first. Number two, make it very clear in those opening seconds what your video is about so they're not confused as they watch it. Number three, tease the rest of your video in your opening so your audience is intrigued and they stay with you through the whole thing.

How's it going, I'm Toby Turner and I only drink out of jewel encrusted goblets so, I'm really thirsty cause I don't have any jewel encrusted goblets. And this is Cute, Win, Fail. The show where three different Styrofoam cups I salvaged from the garbage compete to become the most epic.

A flashy intro may look really cool but YouTube says that is not the star of the video. You are or your content is so make that come first and make that the star that intrigues people to watch the whole thing.

If you're watching this video on YouTube and you're not already subscribed to our channel, consider clicking that little subscribe button right up there or you can click right there as well. That way, every time we release a new video on YouTube, you'll get it right in your subscription box right there. Thanks for hanging out with us, guys.

  • treepodia

    Good advice. While it's important to grab the viewers attention immediately with some nice visual effect, I also think it's important to get to the point before the user mutes the volume. .

    The brevity and simplicity of this video is great at getting the point across without boring viewers with long intros and drab content.

    Speaking creatively is also important. Use nice visual examples, or things like 'Top 10's' and case studies to really engage users.


  • heena

    Happy Saint George Day. Find

  • heena

    Happy Saint George Day. Find

  • lisa

    Great advice, but very bad example. I quit the video around 00:55.

    While the way this video is setup might work for (American) teenagers or other MTV viewers. It is definitely not a right example for a B2B video.

    Please use your own written advice to create a better video.

  • Michael Nistler

    ... or as 60 Minutes exec Don Hewitt would pound into his staff, "Tell me (the audience) a story!" And in a medium like YouTube, always sprinkle in a dash of spectacle here, there and perhaps everywhere. Can you imagine anything tougher to sell than teaching the card game of Bridge in online videos? At my focus is on dramatic story telling, striving to keep subject matter entertaining, enlightening and fun.

  • VideoLeadsOnline

    That's just Stupid and Wrong!!!

    Did I do it? Got your attention? Good, then I guess I followed the advice above for videos in my comment! I think it is a good tip (really).

    I now use teasers and flashy stuff during the start of videos, then throw in the branding blurb, then continue on with the rest of the content... I did that after a few videos I made that started with branding, and I thought it got kinda boring to start with branding.

    You can see the evolution of that on my UseMyDroid video channel, older videos started with Branding, the later ones start with other stuff, then branding, then stuff again.

    The main issue with this is (outside of YouTube) video thumbnails get chosen from the first few moments of the video, and might be an issue.

  • Brett Kosmider

    Just watch some TV, doesn't even matter what genre - primetime dramas to HGTV - all shows have this and its nothing really that new. Its called a cold open and it comes before your graphical open. TV networks throw around some major coin, and in their opinion and research it works to retain viewers.

  • Lloyd’s Chiropractic Clinic of St. George, UT

    It's easy to get sucked in to using your new After Effects template to start your videos. But, the simplest introduction is usually the best one.

    • Tim Schmoyer

      haha that's totally what I used to do. Find a cool AE template and wow the heck outta everyone at the very beginning. #fail :)

  • Ileane

    Great advice. I always thought those long flashy intro were just time wasters when I really just want to watch the show. :)

  • Gerry Oginski

    This is exactly what I've been saying all along.

  • Cliff Pasta

    Yep, I'd say that Jason has got it pretty much right when he says:
    " rather you not brand yourself so that you have to use their adwords campaigns...".
    Never forget, Google's bottom line is "Their Bottom Line"! We are simply a means to their end, their bottom line.
    The moral to the story - Keep doing what you know is right - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
    Right On John!

  • Rowby

    This tip goes back to my days of writing network comedy shows. The classic sitcom format then, as now, was to write a Teaser. It would be the first thing that the viewers saw and appeared right before the standard Opening credits of the show. We didn't want our audience flipping to another channel.

    It was especially true with my first TV series, Laugh-In, where we had gags that lasted 1 second, 10 seconds - etc. No comedy bit went over 20 seconds, except for our "sketches" -- and they were 4 pages tops. Plus we had an incredible cast which our audience loved.

    With today's fickle internet audience, every second counts. Not that you have to have constant "gags", but you need to ensure that you have honest, compelling content, with no Bullsh*t, from the first frame to the last.


  • Jason Laffan

    Are there any numbers to show what the difference is in a catchy intro and starting with content? If your purpose is both branding and increasing viewers then the numbers difference may not matter. But to google they would rather you not brand yourself so that you have to use their adwords campaigns to drive your traffic to your website.

    • Tim Schmoyer

      I don't hear Google saying not to brand yourself. I think they just see the stats of what works better than something else on YouTube and are kind enough to share that with us.

      If you think about it, there are several TV shows that do this, too. I just never noticed it until recently. (Yeah, I know, I'm a noob.)

  • John Bowers's the age old AIDA formula....Attention, interest, Desire, Action.