Thumb-stopping creativity: How to win the three second audition

Naomi ShepherdIn a mobile focused world, Naomi Shepherd looks at what brands must do to capture consumer attention. 

Our love of mobile gives marketers endless opportunities to connect with people via great content but the rules of engagement have changed.

Gone are the days of captive TV audiences willing to give brands three minutes of undivided attention in breaks between their favourite TV shows.

Today, the thumb is in charge and three seconds is all you’ve got.

Three seconds to capture the attention of someone scrolling their Facebook or Instagram Feeds while they sit on the bus, wait for a takeaway coffee or watch their favourite TV show.

Many brands have risen to this challenge but others have more to do before their creative ideas can fully leverage the power of mobile to reach consumers, wherever they are.

With that in mind, here are three tips to help brands develop a ‘thumb-stopping’ campaign and captivate audiences on mobile.

IconicRemember your brand story – Brands that capture attention quickly do it by creating content that’s aligned with their target audience and the brand’s values.

You spend a lot of time and energy establishing a brands personality and getting clear on what you stand for – it’s critical this flows through creative on all platforms including mobile.

The Iconic is a great example of a brand that’s got its content strategy for mobile spot-on. You can see the brand story in everything they do. The Iconic’s creative and beautifully curated content for Instagram fits well with its brand and is used to inspire and influence people to buy.

Adapt content for the channel – Brands that really connect with people on mobile are those that effectively tailor content for the channel.

One way to do this is by taking advantage of tools like Facebook’s 360-degree videos which let people explore brand content in a more immersive and interesting way.

With mobile, brands have a very small window to capture attention in the News Feed, so it is more important than ever to think creatively about how to adapt content for the channel.

Nestle for KIT KAT put this insight into action recently with a series of videos created specifically for Facebook that featured Tim “Rosso” Ross.

Check out Rosso having a break at dad’s hide & seek

Posted by KitKat on Sunday, 16 August 2015

The videos started with Rosso waving to encourage people to click and ‘turn the sound on’. The campaign was funny and engaging and a good example of ‘thumb- stopping’ creative because it engaged a typically ‘hard to reach’ youth audience in a new way.

Think outside the ‘TV-ad mindset’ – Most mass marketing campaigns approach story-telling with minutes in mind. That’s not surprising given most mass marketing campaigns focus on TV advertising. However, mobile requires a different mindset – a mindset that considers how to tell stories in seconds, not minutes. In other words, mobile content needs to tell a story fast.

Disney showed it gets this when it used Instagram to promote its new film, Big Hero 6.

A video was created for Instagram that showed the film’s characters posing as if they were taking selfies.

The video only lasted eight seconds but that was enough to spark significant interest in the movie.

The power balance between advertisers and people has fundamentally shifted.

Mobile is behind that shift – a device that has literally and figuratively put power back in the hands of the consumer. Creative work has never been more important but if that work doesn’t stop a thumb from scrolling, brands will struggle to win the three second audition.

From our perspective, for mobile advertising to work, it has to be relevant, useful and include a story that connects with a particular individual. If content is creative and done well, the rewards can be endless.

  • Naomi Shepherd is head of automotive & FMCG at Facebook Australia 

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