4 Easy Ways to Hook Video Viewers (in 5 Seconds)

Moira West


Right now, human beings have an attention span that’s even shorter than a goldfish’s. For video, that means you often have just a few seconds to grab viewers’ attention and hold it. Find out why you’ve only got five seconds to capture your audience’s interest, and how to use that knowledge to craft a good hook.

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Why just 5 seconds?

Your audience expects you to get them interested, fast. Facebook videos autoplay, but you only have a few seconds before your audience scrolls past. And most YouTube ads are skippable, letting viewers move on in 5 seconds. So how do you get your audience interested that quickly? With a good hook.

A hook is just something interesting that happens at the very beginning of your video that draws in viewers. You don’t have to create expensive, Super-Bowl-worthy ads to generate interest. Many successful videos manage by trying one of the following techniques.

1. Offer a surprise

If you’ve got a shoot that’s different or interesting — or even if you have one arresting image, try using that as your hook. Cricket Whitman of Cricket’s Photography drew national attention with her couple’s creative engagement shoot. Leading with an image of the couple upside down adds an element of surprise and keeps viewers watching.

2. Promise a story

If you can craft a hook that promises a story, that “once upon a time” feeling will hold viewers hoping to find out what happened. Portrait photographer Sue Bryce is a master of this, crafting videos that immerse viewers in her clients’ stories right away, as in the example below:

3. Tell your audience what you do

Sometimes the best hook is just letting potential clients know you’re the kind of business they need. That’s why Christopher Todd Studios' About Me video features Christopher in front of the camera, sharing his passion for photography and capturing clients' stories.

4. Use text to reach your audience

Not everyone is going to unmute your video. Text, especially at the beginning, can give context and let viewers know what it is they’re going to see, while setting you apart from other photographers. Take a look at this video, created with our Behind-the-Scenes Tour template, for inspiration.

PRO TIP: Don’t waste valuable time with your logo at the beginning of your video. Since you’ve only go five seconds to get your viewer invested in your video, skip the logo and get straight into your content. Don’t forget, most of your videos will play in a social media post that includes your name and logo, so people will still see your brand even if it’s not in the beginning of your video.

Now that you have some ideas to hook your audience, it's time to get started. Happy video making!