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Using 6-Second Videos to Get Your Message Across on Social Media


The Ad Council’s She Can STEM campaign features 6-second videos that target middle school girls on social media. 6-second videos are the most effective new trend for organizations looking to engage audiences with video content on social media.

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The Ad Council’s She Can STEM campaign features 6-second videos that target middle school girls on social media. The campaign hopes to get young girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Research shows that girls enjoy learning about STEM, but as they get older, outdated stereotypes may cause them to think that a STEM career isn’t for them.

A client of the David James Group, the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), is one of the nonprofit partners participating in the campaign. One of the She Can STEM PSAs features SWE member Lisa Seacat DeLuca, an engineer at IBM.

In one of the campaign’s 6-second videos, a girl asks Lisa, “What do you do for a living?” and Lisa replies, “I work at IBM in our Watson Internet of Things Division.” The girl reacts by saying, “That’s really cool,” and the video ends. The ad doesn’t explain what the Watson Internet of Things Division is, but you can always Google it.

The Ad Council gave the Society several videos to use on social media that are only 6 seconds and feature women in STEM. You can watch them on SWE’s YouTube channel. Go ahead, it will only take a few seconds.

The campaign uses the hashtag #SheCanSTEM and showcases female role models who are successful in a variety of STEM fields. These videos are designed to capture the attention of girls for just a few seconds to show them some of the cool, creative, and fascinating jobs they can have.

Most Effective Digital Ad Format

Using Second Videos To Inspire Girls To Pursue Stem Careers

Last May, Ad Week reported on a survey of more than 300 brand marketers and agencies who said the 6-second video format is the most effective ad type for digital media. Of those surveyed, 81% said that 6-second ads are effective or very effective. According to Ad Week, 53% of advertisers use 6-second ads, and in two years that percentage is expected to climb to 77%.

In a May article in Ad Age, Krishan Bhatia, executive vice president of business operations and strategy at NBC Universal, attributes the success of 6-second ads to “lower attention spans.” Jake Malanoski, a customer acquisition director, explains that shorter is better in an Ad Week article from last year because “if somebody hasn’t heard of you, they are not going to give you the time of day.”

Easy-to-Create Content

When producing a 6-second video, you’ll need to consider the images, audio, and call to action. Don’t forget to follow these guidelines:

  • Use an establishing shot off the top so that the viewer instantly knows the setting.
  • Focus on one thought or topic because you only have a few seconds.
  • End with a URL or email address where the viewer can get more information.

The 6-second trend can be useful for organizations looking to use video content on social media. A short video can be created easily with graphics and music. The trend also presents an opportunity to use only a soundbite to capture the audience’s attention and send viewers to a website.

Associations and other organizations on tight budgets can create a lot of new content by repurposing old video footage. Look through your archives, and you’ll be sure to find plenty of material that’s good for at least a 6-second spot.