Tag : brochures

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171: YouTube Has Revealed What It Knows About Your Auction Buyers

YouTube is now the second largest search engine in North America. Web surfers watch almost five billion YouTube videos every single day.1 It’s a safe bet that Google, who owns the video streaming service, is learning a lot from all of the data it’s collecting. That data must be valuable enough for Google to lose $1.8 billion a year to keep YouTube up and running.2

One of the things YouTube knows from that data is the approximate average length of our collective attention span. To acclimate to this, they’ve made many of their advertisers’ ads skippable after five . . . long . . . seconds. That span of time even comes with a countdown clock to assure YouTubers that their wait is almost over.

YouTube 4 Seconds

To get their full message across, advertisers must make the first five seconds of their commercial compelling enough for viewers to avoid that skip button. At the average rate of an English speaker, that’s about 12 words—assuming words start immediately.

Five seconds. 12 words.

YouTube Skip

Many auctioneers don’t believe Americans have a short attention span.

  1. Their signs and newspaper ads are compressed brochures, not teasers to their websites.
  2. Their headlines are generic, throwaway labels like “real estate” and “farm equipment” when a picture of the asset(s) makes the asset category obvious.
  3. They talk about the buying method (auction), the date of that auction, the type of bidding in that auction (online and/or on-site) and the presence or absence of a reserve before they talk about the asset.
  4. Their company brochures would take several minutes to read.
  5. They mail tabbed brochures with the most attractive panels on the inside and the terms, directions, and open house dates on the outside.
  6. They put their logo at the top of their emails instead of at the bottom.
  7. They lead with the name of an estate—a name that doesn’t belong to a celebrity that would be the reason why someone wants the asset.
  8. They duplicate the content from the front of their postcard to the back, crowding the impression on both sides.

How do I know the above realities are true? Because I get paid to design auction advertising media in these ways. Every week. Because auctioneers post scans of their fliers and post them on Facebook. Because even some of the pieces that win national auction industry awards violate the laws of attention span.

By the way, those five seconds for YouTube seem long, because our attention span for other media is even shorter than YouTube or Google demonstrate with the five-second countdown. For social media like Facebook, you’re looking at less than half of that. For people sorting through their mail, two seconds would be a long time to capture their attention. Same goes for email subject lines.

Social commentators speculate that the trend to shorter attention spans is attributed to smart phone usage. Mobile Internet use might be causation or correlation, but your own Google Analytics will show you that the trend is only growing. There’s no putting the attention span genie back in the bottle.

So, how do you adapt to this shrinking attention span? For starters, get off the bulleted list you just read. Second, before you post any information in any format for your advertising campaign, work on the 10 words or less to use as the talking point for the auction. (We teach a whole module on how to do this well at the Auction Marketing Management designation course.)

If you get really courageous, cut everything out of your advertising media except this tease, the most necessary information, and a call to action. Then put the rest of your content on your website.

1YouTube Company Statistics” Statistic Brain, September 1, 2016.

234 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics — 2016” Danny Donchev, FortuneLords.com, September 21, 2016.

Stock image purchased from iStockPhoto.com

5: How Much is Too Much Information?

Crowded StreetMy first year in business, BiPlane Productions advertised itself with an eight-page brochure. Busting with back story and benefits, it was too much to read. Prospects probably read none of it, because they couldn’t read all of it. I’ll never know.

Then four years ago, I melted that down to three plane tickets (and now two) that fit within a potential client’s hand. The package design won a national award, but my greatest success was in learning how to arrive at and then sell the main thing or two.

For BiPlane, it’s (now) simple: I promptly design award-winning work for aspiring and accomplished auction companies across the nation.

Most advertisers with whom I work have little trouble synthesizing their advertising content to a few lines for expensive classified ads in the Wall Street Journal. When it comes to their direct mail or promotional pieces, though, they struggle like I did to focus. Instead of selling the sizzle with succinct copy, we cover their great full-bleed photos with paragraphs of text. Often the interior of brochures are crammed with 8- to 10-point type with almost everything there is to say. Busy.

The irony is that we typically end the reading progression with “for more information . . . visit our Web site.”

There is always room on the Internet for more details; you cannot have too much auction/event/listing/property information online. It may not all be available from the home page—and you wouldn’t want it all on there; but, as long as it’s easy to find, you should inform all you can from your web site. Many auction companies publish property information packages (“PIP”) but fail to trust their advertising to get their prospects there.

You can over inform with your advertising. Too much content (text and even pictures) can take away from the intrinsic attraction—just like a chatty first date. So, let your direct mail pieces and promotional materials show only the highlights. Let the pictures save you descriptive copy. Establish the Internet as your information safety net. Prospects not willing to expend the energy to follow their interest online will probably not expend the energy to purchase, either.

I am the prince of too much information. I’ve met chatter boxes that use a lot more words with even more unnecessary details; but I struggle to keep my stories of adventure succinct, my lessons of discovery synoptic, my embarrassing foibles private.

The Hebrew king, Solomon, said that even a fool, when he holds his tongue, is considered wise. By capitalism’s law of supply and demand, fewer words would be worth more each that way.

Many times, I think that the opposite to talking is listening. But, sometimes, it’s just silence. I work to listen, but stillness is almost impossible. In successfully creating that space, though, the color of life is richer, the sounds waft softly perceptible, the breaths reach tangible. Whether my fewer words are richer to others or not, the absence of them are priceless to me.

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