What Is a Pattern Interrupt And Why You Must Use It

What Is a Pattern Interrupt And Why You Must Use It

Pattern Interrupt is an NLP technique. It is a method of changing a person’s state or strategy. In other words – in the world of NLP, pattern interrupt is all about changing habits, routines, and behaviours. 

When it comes to video and marketing, a “Pattern Interrupt” is pretty self-explanatory, frankly. It’s a change of pace, style, and tone. In other words, using pattern interrupts in videos means you’re getting your viewer’s attention by interrupting what they think is the natural “flow” of your content. 

The purpose of “pattern interrupts” is simple: you use them to capture viewers’ attention and keep them focused on you and your content throughout the video. 

Why Is This Important? 

It Helps Improve Retention and Watch Time.

As you probably know by now, the average attention span of a YouTube viewer can be pretty short. By using pattern interrupts, you’re keeping your audience on their toes and piquing their interest consistently.

Consequentially, your audience will watch more and more of your videos because they’ll remain interested throughout watching. As we’ve already established in another blog post, YouTube actively optimizes discoverability for videos with high watch times and audience retention rates. The higher your rates are, the more the algorithm will love you and your content. As a result, the better your discoverability on the platform will be. 

It Helps You Stay Fresh And Interesting.

Your endgame is not to bore your audience to death, after all. When you use pattern interrupts, you’re keeping your content as fresh as possible – while you’re presenting it. There’s nothing more exhilarating than expecting the unexpected. With pattern interrupts, your audience will always stay alert and concentrated on your video while watching it. Have you ever heard of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? It’s real, and it’s a powerful tool you can use as a content creator. 

You Can Use It To Stand Out

Using specific styles, you can brand yourself through pattern interrupts. Whether it’s employing text overlays, background changes, sound effects, questions, humor, or cut-scenes, every one of these can be “made yours.” All you have to do is use them consistently (but wisely! You don’t want people to expect them, after all). 

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Pattern Interrupts are important for several reasons

Pattern Interrupt: Examples

Background Shifts

Sometimes, an unexpected background change is all your video needs to attract viewers’ attention back to the screen. Using different colors, patterns, scenes, and playing with movement are all great ways of changing up your background and keeping your audience focused on you. 

Sound Effects

Give your audience a break. Talking is great, but sometimes your audience wants to hear something besides your own voice. If your video consists of you talking away for minutes on end, you might want to break the pattern and monotony of your video. Add some sound effects! 


Props are your friends. Don’t be afraid to use them! Whether it’s an old lady’s fan, a telephone receiver, and cord, a whiteboard or even a fidget spinner – use them to your advantage. Move them around, play with them, and keep your audience’s eyes moving with you.  


Yes, we know your audience can’t answer them exactly when you asked them (unless you’re live-streaming, of course!). However, asking questions not only increases engagement but also makes your audience think, and not just sit there and listen. Involve your audience in what you’re saying! Ask thought-provoking questions and direct them to the comments to leave their answers. 


Whether you’re adding bloopers, editing commentary or annotations, and text overlays – humor can go a long way. Everyone loves a good laugh, and a smile usually means a person is having a great time.


Animated text overlays can work magic if you don’t want to use any of the other pattern-interrupting methods we’ve mentioned. They can re-focus your audience on the visuals if they are “tuned-out” on your audio. You can add your thoughts, tips, commentary, jokes, logos, and quotes as text overlays throughout the video and capture your audience’s attention like a pro. Video clips (such as old Vines, for example) can also be great as animated pattern interrupts!

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There are plenty of examples of pattern interrupt in YouTube Videos

Let’s Wrap It Up…

We can’t stress the importance of pattern interrupts enough. This method isn’t crucial for you as a tool in your entertainer or content creator’s toolbox. Pattern interrupts are a foolproof method of capturing and maintaining the viewer’s attention, thus increasing your video’s performance and discoverability on the platform.

That said, you have to use this method wisely. Jumpscares are great in horror movies – but not as much in YouTube videos (unless your niche/genre is horror; in which case, it’s entirely appropriate). If you use too many pattern-interrupts in one video, your audience might get tired or annoyed and click out of it. Find the perfect balance by learning from more prominent channels and implement them. The sky is the limit.  

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