Do you recollect the number of ads you have seen in the last 24 hours?

The science behind winning customers in the first 3 seconds

Drive through a highway and you’ll see a gamut of hoardings along the road. Board a train and you’ll see ads on the handles. Take a bus and you’ll see mini ads behind the seats. Catch a taxi and the Radio is going berserk over a catchy commercial.
Walk down the lane and you’ll see posters on the walls. Go home and the TV is loaded with commercials. Switch the TV off and you’ll find an ad on the front page of the newspaper. Lock yourself inside a room and you’ll still have mobile ads buzzing on your phone.

Research says that an individual is exposed to 5000 ads in a day. And how many of those ads get noticed? This might flabbergast you, but only 100 ads grab a prospect’s attention!

98% ads lose and only 2% ads win
98% ads lose and only 2% ads win

Why only 2% ads win?
Because an individual can focus only on 2% ads. How many ads do you remember from the past day? 0 ads maybe? Or maybe a couple of them, probably because you’ve seen them multiple number of times.

An ordinary person never observes an ad consciously. Why are ads lumped in between TV shows? Why aren’t there 30 minute episodes of just commercials? Why do people read news? Why isn’t there a tabloid just having ads?

That’s because an ad is never meant to be the centrepiece.
It’s a secondary or tertiary element of any media you consume. And since a prospect never watches, reads or listens to an ad with full focus, can we expect him to pay attention for 30 long seconds?

The fact is that the attention span for a commercial is very less. And with so much of advertising all around, the attention span of a potential customer is decreasing by the day. Ideally, an ad has to win the prospect’s attention in 3 seconds – no theory, just science!

As an advertiser, you cannot control the attentiveness of general populace. But you certainly can try and win in those 3 seconds.

How to win customers in the first 3 seconds?
To know how to win in 3 seconds, it’s important to know why ads fail at the first place.
Ads go unnoticed because they fail to deliver a strong message.

So, to win, you have to deliver a striking message that can leave an impression in under 3 seconds. This can be achieved by projecting your most important, strongest USP first up in any ad. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any other message, but the trick here is to highlight what matters the most.

Just check out the following ad, one of the greatest ever created by David Ogilvy.

One of the greatest ever created by David Ogilvy

There’s a lot written in the ad copy, but the headline captivates you and compels you to read what’s inside. That’s a classic case of winning customers in 3 seconds.

How to devise a powerful message?
Follow this step by step process to devise a winning message.

  1. List down all your USPs:
    Write what you do best. You can have multiple USPs, but you don’t have to worry about that. Just list them down and move to step 2.
    Case Study: Maggi has 3 USPs – quick to prepare, tasty to eat and filling meal.
  2. Select your most powerful USP:
    The most powerful USP forms your identity and also your placement as a product or brand. Handpick 1, or probably 2 of your best USPs.
    Case Study: Maggi chose to be identified as a ‘quick to prepare noodle’ product. That’s what it has stuck with for many years. Regardless of that, we all know it’s a tasty product that be used as an alternative meal as well. 3 USPs popularly accepted, but focus is only on one.
  3. Make a killer message out of the handpicked USP:
    Beautify your handpicked USP or USPs in a way that it seems attractive. Maggi is definitely ‘quick to prepare’, but would that be intriguing enough as a tagline or an ad message? ‘Quick to prepare’, but what? How quick? Some questions stay unanswered. Maggi chose ‘2 minute noodles’ and all questions were answered, attention was grabbed in 3 seconds.
    You too have to do the same. Beautify your message in a way that it answers the most characteristic questions.

Follow these 3 steps to devise a strong message. Align it to all your communication channels and make sure that one message makes its presence felt everywhere. It is very important to highlight this message and present it first up in any ad – be it a print ad, Radio ad or a TV commercial.

Use the limitation of a person’s attention span to your advantage. It is an ideal way to win customers in the first 3 seconds!