The internet is mostly made of video content these days. In fact, about 720,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every day. And that’s just YouTube!

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Amidst the never-ending avalanche of video content, what is it that makes some videos stand out while others get lost in the deluge? What makes a video go viral? And most importantly, how do you make a video that stops people from scrolling by? 

Eye-catching videos attract people’s eyes like a magnet, and they don’t let go. If you learn how to make them, you’ll be on the road to success no matter what types of videos you make. Businesses, influencers, YouTubers…anyone can use the following tips to make better videos and attract more viewers. 

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Intro is Everything 

The average human attention span is about 8 seconds. But if you think you’ve got that much time to convince a viewer to stick around, you’re sorely mistaken. Viewers on social media decide whether they’ll watch or scroll within the first 3 seconds of your video. That means you’ve got to start with a serious hook—action, emotion, suspense, sex appeal, ice cream—do whatever you can, and do it fast. 

It might seem tough to pull off (and it is), but it’s not all bad news. Research has shown that if you convince a viewer to watch for 3 seconds, they’ll probably commit about 30 more to your content, giving you the time you need to send your message.  

Keep it Moving 

The first three seconds of your video need to be captivating, but the rest of the footage must follow suit. To keep a viewer engaged throughout the video, you need to provide lots of engaging images in quick succession. Don’t linger on the same shot for more than 2-3 seconds, and create variation in your images—show different people and places, and incorporate movement and action into shots. This ad for an energy drink is a good example

How do you put so much variation into your videos without going broke? That’s what stock footage is for. For example, if you need footage of a desert or mountain range, you can download a nature videos in seconds instead of shooting or commissioning the footage yourself.  

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Show Emotion

Here’s a little secret to help you create a captivating emotional response: showing someone feeling an emotion evokes that same emotion in your audience. If you show smiling actors, your viewers will feel happy. If you show someone crying, your viewers will feel sad. Stronger emotions are more eye-catching than weak ones. So, someone with an angry face, or a super silly one, will grab attention more than a half-smile or a neutral expression. Check out how Vodafone uses strong emotion in this ad to grab your attention. 

Tell a Story 

Suspense is the key to keeping viewers hooked. If they want to find out what happens next, they’re not going anywhere. You can create suspense by telling a story. You might be wondering: “How can I tell a story if I only have 3 seconds to hook a viewer and my video is only a minute or two long?”

Your story doesn’t have to be long or complicated to create suspense. Check out this short ad by Coca-Cola that tells the story of how a boy delivers Christmas cheer. It’s got a main character, an arc, and an emotional conclusion. Most importantly, it makes you want to see how it concludes.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Include Captions

Captions boost the accessibility of your videos and instantly expand your viewer base. They also help to catch the eyes of scrolling viewers who are surfing social media on mute (about 70% of viewers!). Not only that, but people are more likely to watch a video in its entirety if it has captions. Luckily, adding captions is incredibly easy. YouTube even adds them automatically. But if you want to make sure your message is clear, you might want to add them yourself. 

Catch Eyes and Stop Scrollers

Creating a viral video isn’t easy, but there are some fail-safe tactics for boosting viewership on just about any platform. Emotion, movement, suspense—these are universal eye-catchers that you can use again and again. Try some of the tips on this list to make better, more engaging videos.