How to Make a Video Intro That Will Get You Noticed
If you’re reading this, you probably already know that video can push your business in the right direction.
Video is growing at a rate no other format is—according to Cisco, video traffic is said to grow fourfold from 2016 to 2021!
This is great news for companies who are already on board with video, but here’s the challenge: none of this matters if no one watches your videos past the first few seconds.
That’s right. Video introductions, no matter the platform, can make or break your success. They are what will attract your ideal viewer, repel the wrong one, and get your audience to keep watching whenever you publish.
Video intros are by far the most watched sections of your videos—in fact, even videos under 90 seconds have an average retention rate of 53%. Videos over 30 minutes retain only 10%.
Your video intro must make an impact to get viewers to return.
Video intros are what will attract your ideal viewer, repel the wrong one, and get your audience to keep watching whenever you publish.
If you want to create video introductions that will make your videos stand out and encourage your viewers to return, this is the guide for you.
A video intro is the first thing your viewer will see as the video starts.
This is often a short title screen or a voiceover with on-screen text or subtitles that explain what the video is about.
Your video introduction is your chance to make a great first impression. It’s kind of like when you walk into a friend’s house and meet a new group of people. It’s the first few seconds that will greatly influence how they feel about you.
From a business perspective, this is the place that can set you apart from any other video on the internet. It sets the tone, expectations, and even the personality behind the video.
For example, one of the largest yoga channels on YouTube, Yoga With Adriene, begins all of her videos sitting on the floor, saying the exact same sentence to introduce herself:
She also used to have a short montage as an intro sequence, after which she’d do that introductory sentence. This approach is great because people get used to the music, text on the screen, and the familiar face in front of the camera—and they know what’s coming.
There are many reasons to give special attention to your video intro each time you publish—let’s dive into them.
Video intro sets viewer expectations
There are many things that set expectations for the viewer even before they start watching—the title, the social media post above the video, and even the length of the video they see before they clicked or decided to watch.
But these elements can only say so much. They made them start watching, and the video should get them to watch as long as possible. This is why it’s crucial to make the end goal of the video obvious right away!
Video intro makes your brand recognizable and unique
What your viewer sees on the screen and hears at the same time is ultimately how they experience you. This includes your name, color palette, and logo, but also the way you present the value of your video.
For example, Salma Jafri, a video content strategist, takes about 30 seconds in the beginning of all her videos to tell a short story about the main takeaway of the video and then plays an 8-second intro sequence:
It also helps that everything is in purple—her brand color. There’s no way you wouldn’t recognize her video out in the wild!
Video intro catches viewer’s attention
Even the best, most relevant and interesting video can (and will!) flop if you place a boring intro at its beginning. Everyone is busy and won’t waste time on content that feels irrelevant or just dull.
A great introduction to the video, however, will show the viewer why they can’t afford to miss out on it. It plays to FOMO — the fear of missing out — and it hooks the viewer not only to watch the video, but to subscribe, follow, and excitedly wait for the next one.
You can’t just slap a title sequence at the beginning of your video and call it a day. (Actually, you probably can, but it won’t help you or any of your viewers.)
So what is it that will make your video intro stand out and do its job? Let’s look at some key actions you should take when planning and creating it.
Be mindful of the length of your video intro
Suggestions for best intros fall between the 3 to 7-second mark. Some high-performing video intros, however, go up to 20 or 30 seconds.
The main tip here is to make your video intro as long as it needs to be. Don’t make it any shorter or longer than it should be.
Fullscreen Media looked at audience retention data for some YouTube videos and found that about 50% of the viewers dropped off around the 30-second mark, which means that on videos with longer intros, they dropped off before any of the actual content started.
All of this is to say that testing and trying out varieties of lengths will show you what works best for your organization and your videos. You can always start out with shorter intros and incrementally lengthen them if the need arises.
Be clear and concise
One of the frequent mistakes is taking too long to actually show and/or say what the video is about.
It’s usually in the form of the music that’s too long or two extra sentences before the “In today’s video, we’ll talk about…” and the impatience it causes. For talking head videos this is quite normal and expected, especially when you’re just getting started and you fumble with your words.
One of the best examples of a crisp and straightforward video intro is the one from Pat Flynn, an online marketing entrepreneur. He says what the video is about and who he is, all in about 8 seconds!
Brand it, especially for sound-off viewing experience
Social platforms do a great job of getting the video to automatically play in the feed and draw attention… But more often than not, it’s with sound off.
If your viewer can’t hear you and aren’t in a situation to turn the sound on, how will they remember you? By your colors, name, and immediate topic reveal with on-screen text.
Almost every one of our social videos is created with that in mind. If you see it for the first time, you see the color palette matches the logo on our profile photo. If you see it again, you’ll notice you’ve seen something similar before.
Do this often enough, and you become recognizable even when your name or logo aren’t obvious!
You probably noticed with YouTube examples we already mentioned, but also in your own viewing experience, that there are a few elements that make up the majority of YouTube video intros.
They aren’t all always present and they might be ordered differently, but you’ll typically see a YouTube video intro with:
- Teaser of the outcome: it can be verbal “In this video, I will…” or visual, such as with makeup tutorials that being with the end look
- Branding, such as a logo or a color overlay
- Text overlay with the main topic or takeaway
You’ve seen numbers 1 and 3 with Pat Flynn’s intro. Salma Jafri’s video has all four.
Really eye-catching combinations can be seen in video intros by Amy Landino, a video strategist, where the elements listed above occur in the 1-2-4-3 order:
In our “12 Simple Tips to Make Your Videos Look More Professional” video we did a similar thing in the 4-3-1 order:
12 Simple Tips to Make Your Videos Look More Professional (2018) | Video Marketing How ToMaking videos is easy! Follow our Video Marketing How To series to discover tips and tricks on how you can improve your videos
Dissect any video you like and you’ll find at least one of these elements, and most often there will be two or three.
The reason is simple: combining these is what makes a good introduction because it helps to make the intro short, clear, and branded—just like we mentioned a good video intro should be.
So how can you use this to make a brilliant video intro?
Go through the four elements above from your own brand’s perspective:
- How can you format your sentence to tease the outcome of the video and make sure it still sounds like you?
- Which colors, brand elements, and overlays can you use?
- Can you introduce yourself in a sentence?
- Can you make the intro shorter and more engaging by supplementing some of your speech with on-screen text?
When you have all the answers, dig into what makes it special and test various options and combinations until you find what works perfectly for you.
Publishing videos on Instagram TV comes with a challenge that’s quite similar to using Instagram Stories: it often plays with the sound off.
Yes, IGTV videos do take up the entire screen, which is great for grabbing your viewer’s attention. But if they’re not convinced this is the right video for them within a few seconds, they can swipe to the next video all too easily—or just swipe away altogether.
Great intro screens, however, make a world of difference:
Unlike on YouTube, it’s too easy to lose a viewer quickly on IGTV.
Don’t panic and think you must change everything you’ve been doing so far — whether you’re going for short, bite-sized videos, or using up your 10 minutes each time, as long as your video is making a positive change for your ideal viewer, you’re good to go.
So to make sure your video actually gets watched and to entice your viewers to turn the sound on, there’s a simple solution: adding video intros using Wave.video templates!
These templates will enrich your IGTV videos no matter the style: talking head, webinar takeaways, video interview, or a tutorial—they work for every scenario.
Log into your free Wave.video account to give these templates a go. Quickly add your title, description, and even your end screens. IGTV intros sorted!
You know we recommend using video to promote essentially any type of content.
Guess what? Podcasts are no different!
To promote your podcast as a video, you might go the video podcast route, where you and your guest are both on screen in a video call arrangement and chat through your topic. Most popular podcasts on YouTube do exactly this!
An alternative is turning your audio file into video by using an on-screen graphic or a visualization, like the Undisputed podcast does:
So what can you do to enhance the beginning of a video you created this way from your episode audio?
Are you guessing already? Of course—by adding a custom intro.
You can use a tool like Headliner to add a custom intro (and outro!) and export your video as a whole. You can record your intro as a talking head, or create it in Wave.video just like you did for IGTV.
Then, export your podcast video from Headliner and add intro and outro like below:
Your new, improved podcast video will be ready to share within a few minutes.
It’s your turn
You’ve put so much effort into your videos already—it’s time to take them to the next level and get your viewers, both current and new, to remember you and keep returning to your videos.
A top-level video intro will help you communicate what you’re all about and the chance your video can make in their life and work, so don’t miss that opportunity.