What we’re about to tell you is TOP SECRET information that marketers don’t want you to know about how they use extra-long videos to shock, inform, delight, and, ultimately, get you to click BUY.

What’s a Long-Form Video?

Long-form videos are video presentations that are usually narrated by someone who usually claims to be an expert, doctor, or CEO of a company. Sometimes they are whiteboard animations (meaning, a hand keeps drawing new pictures), sometimes they are a talking head (meaning simply someone speaking to the camera), or sometimes they are more like a slide show presentation, full of charts and pictures. 

Yet, no matter what they are selling, they ALL use the same tactics.

Step One – The Setup

Many of these videos start like this:

“Are you sitting down? Are you comfortable? Is your sound turned on? Get ready, as we are going to start our presentation in 5… 4… 3… 2…”

The reason why they are doing this is they want your undivided attention. In many marketing circles, it is believed that you need to engage the viewer within the first 10 seconds in order to get them to keep watching. If they spend 5 or 6 seconds preparing you, they are more than halfway there.

You’ll also notice that many times the page the video is on is almost completely blank (save for a BUY button, which often appears when you are deeper into the pitch). This is because these other things can distract rather than engage you. 

Almost always, there is no rewind or fast-forward button and no indication of how long the video actually is. Usually, it will say something like “in the next 3 minutes I’ll show you…” even though the video is a half-hour or MORE.

Step Two: The Fear Factor

Now that the sound is on, and you are sitting staring at the screen, the next metaphor we’ll use is the rollercoaster – the first thing that happens is the Big Plunge.

For example, the long-form video for smart drug CogniQ warns you about “an epidemic of brain illness chopping down this great country’s aging and retired.” Many videos, like the one for Diabetes Free, a purported cure for diabetes, comes with a WARNING that this SHOCKING video may be taken down at any moment and any accidental click of your mouse “could mean missing out on information that could save your life… or the life of a loved one.”

Step Three: The Authority Figure

Now that you are engaged, curious, and/or possibly frightened, they extend a friendly hand. The narrator introduces themselves, so you’ll understand who is talking, and (hopefully) you’ll believe what they say.

In the video for America 2020, the narrator claims to be Porter Stansbury, founder of Stansbury and Associates who boasts it is one of the largest financial research companies in the world.  While he touts that he has made many correct financial predictions, including the demise of GM, he doesn’t mention that he has also been wrong before – most notably his End of America video was released in 2010 and as of this writing in 2015, America still exists.

The narrator for Vital Stem, a supplement that claims to rejuvenate stem cells, says he is Dr. Rand McLain, who states in this video he will tell you about how he went from being a medical student at USC to “sobbing uncontrollably” as he heard the story of a girl who was paralyzed in an auto accident. Dr. McLain neglects to mention that he did not complete medical school at USC, but from a school with much less prestige.

Dr. Peterson, the narrator for Diabetes Free, says the amputation of his father’s leg due to diabetes spurred him to find a cure; however, we could find no medical listing for a Dr. Peterson that fits his description, and many people suspect he doesn’t exist at all.  

Step Four – The Facts

They’ve got your attention and your trust, and now the longer segment of the pitch begins. This part of the tale is usually full of facts and sometimes they even include footnotes for you to click on.

Vita Pulse delves into a lot of history of heart disease, noting that President Eisenhower had a heart attack in 1955, which spurred research into finding a cure. CogniQ takes many minutes to dispel common myths about the brain, and America 2020 spends time discussing the factors that led up to the 2008 crash.

Step Five – The Leap of Faith

Somewhere during the course of the video, however, the facts start to slide away and are replaced by unproven claims. While CogniQ claims the ancient Rishis were known for their ability to memorize thousands of lines of verse, there is no unbiased evidence that shows it was because of Bacopa Monneri, the main ingredient in their supplement.

And VitaPulse states correctly that modern medicine believes high LDL is responsible for many heart attacks, it is not proven that the 3 key ingredients in their supplement actually work to lower your risk.

Step Six – You Click BUY

Somewhere along the way, you are likely to become bored, fidgety, or distracted. They’ve taken you on this journey, and just when the video seems like it’s over, it keeps on going… 

This is when your brain, bombarded with factoids and stimuli, finally succumbs and orders. Debz from Miami Florida recounts her experience after watching a long-form video from Beverly Hills MD:

“I bought 3 jars of this, after watching one of those sketch animations that last almost 30 minutes. The deal was 3 jars for $105. It seemed like quite the deal as I saw it was being sold elsewhere for much more. It enrolled me in an auto delivery plan through my PayPal account… I have used it consistently for about 3 weeks… I have noticed no real improvement. I am going to return my now 1/2 empty jar and the other 2 and hopefully will be refunded. I will cancel my auto delivery. I feel like I was a sketch animation victim…”

What You Can Do

We hope this breakdown of the long-form video pitch lets you see exactly how you are being coaxed into buying products, which often have sneaky auto-ship programs attached to them.

Generally speaking, we say simply don’t watch any video that starts to suck you in using these tricks. But if you do watch them, be sure to do your research about the product at an unbiased website… like BrightReviews!

Wendell and Lorriane Brenner took our advice about a probiotic supplement called Nucific BIO X4, who said they liked the info video but are not buying the product: 

“After listening to the information leading to BIO X4, we surfed to check into the manufacturing company… we are opting to head to local health vitamin store to purchase ingredients separately and try them as advised… Also, agree with your advice about not buying such products online. Thanks!”

Did we help you? Let us know what you think of our advice about the Long-Form Pitch below!