Video Intros: Should I Create an Intro for my YouTube Videos

YouTube is a crowded place with an estimated 500 hours of content added every minute. That may seem like a staggering number and put you off trying to compete for views in such a crowded market, but with over 30 million active users per day the audience is just as staggering and if you can hit the right formula with your video content it can reach hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of users.

Should I create an intro for my YouTube videos?

With such a crowded marketplace you need to leverage any small advantage you can to make your videos stand out against the competition. Creating an intro video for your content can absolutely give you an edge over other videos in your niche and give your content that extra polished look that makes it stand out.

How long should my YouTube video intro be?

Many videos on YouTube these days have an intro. Some are short bursts of 2-3 seconds and others are long animated sequences anywhere up to 30 seconds. It’s important to consider that viewer attention spans are not very long on YouTube. It’s vital that you capture your viewers attention as quickly as possible, most viewers will click off a video within 10 seconds if they haven’t been given a reason to hang around and consume more. Very few people will sit patiently through a 30 second animated video intro that offers them no information. Remember that viewers are most likely watching your video to find an answer to a question or have a connection with the content that offers them a rewarding viewing experience. Every second that they spend watching content that doesn’t provide this is an opportunity to lose interest and click away.

So whilst having a video intro may make your video look more professional and encourage the viewer to trust in your content, making the intro a main feature of the video itself may have the opposite effect. In order to retain viewer attention and still provide the polished feel that a video intro creates, a good video introduction should be short. 3-6 seconds is an optimal length for a video intro, and any more than 10 seconds is likely to drive away a significant portion of your traffic to other videos.

There are some exceptions to this. If you are building a following based around a lifestyle channel or video blog where users are engaging on a more personal level, rather than finding your video organically to provide them with a specific piece of information then viewers may respond well to slightly longer intros. For example, a channel that reviews camera gear should use very short video intros as viewers are likely clicking on the video to access facts and information about a product and if they don’t get rewarded with some of that information within the first few seconds they will click away. However, if your channel is made up of entertaining episodes on travelling or lifestyle then you are more likely going to get subscribers who stay for the experience, rather than facts. These types of videos benefit from being more cinematic and a longer introduction could help give the viewer that experience.

Should I place an intro at the beginning of my YouTube video?

Many YouTube videos start with a video intro at the very beginning. While it may seem to make sense to start your video with an intro, remember what we said about viewer attention spans. YouTube viewers are incredibly fickle, most of us watch YouTube expecting to get instant gratification. More importantly, viewers attention spans grow over short periods of time. When a viewer first clicks onto a video they will lose interest within seconds if they have not been provided with some nugget of reward that makes them want to continue watching.

The reward you need to feed to your viewer needs to be something that sparks their interest and registers in their mind. If you can tell a viewer in the first few seconds something that will hook their attention even in the smallest way, it’s a reward that will extend their attention spans to 20 seconds or more and get them into the main content of your video.

If you spend the first 6 seconds of your video showing the viewer an intro, you run a high risk of losing their attention in those vital first moments and they will click off. You should try and spend the first few seconds telling the viewer what they will gain from this video. Once you have hooked your viewer with that, they will probably stay around for the short video intro and be more inclined to engage with the content that comes after it.

So the beginning of your video should be divided into three parts:

  • First 5-10 Seconds. Set the expectation of reward. Eg: “In this video we’re going to review the top 5 DSLR cameras that you can buy for under $500 and at the end of the video we will reveal our top pick for 2020”
  • Second 3-6 seconds. Catchy video intro
  • Introduce the main content

Notice how in the first 5-10 seconds we gave the user two key takeaways. We explained what they could expect to see in this video and we gave them an expectation of reward by telling them why they should stay until the end. This is enough to grab the viewers attention. The video intro now serves as a nice breaker between your initial offering and the slower paced main content of the video.

How can I create a YouTube video intro?

There are many tools and resources you can use to create your own video intros. Depending on your design skills and technical knowledge you may choose to craft a video intro from scratch using software such as Adobe Premier Pro or if you don’t have the knowledge to use those tools there are lots of easier tools that can get you started.

If you want to create visually stunning YouTube video intros but have little or no experience with design, video production or editing then you can use a tool such as PlaceIt.

PlaceIt is a really powerful online tool aimed at content creators, designers, print on demand sellers and a lot more. It is a digital content creation powerhouse. When you sign up to PlaceIt you get access to all of it’s premium features and fast library of free ready-to-use templates.

Using PlaceIt you can browse through hundreds of video intro templates that cover a wide variety of niches and styles until you find something that fits the look and feel that you want. Using a super simple drag and drop interface you can tweak and edit the template. You can change everything from colours, text, photos and add your own logo to use in the animation.

PlaceIt is ideal for people wanting to create professional looking video intros with no design or editing experience in minutes. Click here to find out more.

In the following video I’ll walk you through creating a YouTube video intro with PlaceIt from scratch

How to create a YouTube video intro with PlaceIt


YouTube videos that feature well placed and slick looking intros have the potential to grab and retain the attention of viewers. Using tools like PlaceIt you can create intros that look professionally made with little or no design or editing skills. The length and placement of your video intro is crucial to maximizing the benefits of including an intro against the risk of losing viewers interest, but when done right, you can use tools like PlaceIt to create stunning intros that will take your videos to the next level.

Let us know your experiences or questions in the comments below.

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