Video ads are no longer an experimental and risky form of reaching customers. It’s not the shiny new thing on the block, it’s the juggernaut that most consumers are engaging with on a daily basis.
Most people use their smart devices (phones and tablets) on a daily basis. When they are staring at the screen, they are looking at blogs, social media, websites, and ads. Lots of ads.
Just as more and more people are choosing to watch a video on a subject rather than read an article, people are engaging with advertising differently as well and businesses are taking note. While 81% of businesses used video as a marketing tool in 2018, in 2019 that number jumped to 87%!
The vast majority of businesses see the value in video advertising, but I understand that there is still some hesitation to jump into video advertising. ? What if they don’t have the desired effect? What if the business creates a bad video?
Every business is different, but the rules to successful video ads cross industries. Here are some guidelines to make sure you’re on the right track!
1. Get Their Attention Right Away
Some forms of advertising have a slow burn. They draw a potential consumer in and gently rise to a crescendo. Video ads are NOT like that. You have to catch people’s eyes immediately, or they are going to skip right past your ad. ?
To engage viewers immediately, video pros have upped their game in a few different ways.
Scriptwriters use compelling storylines to command your attention and make you want to see the ending.
More businesses are partnering with celebrities who trade in on their popularity to draw viewers in. If a brand can feature a current celebrity in a relevant ad, consumers are more likely to watch the full video ad.
While it’s easy to blame our shrinking attention spans on the pressure to capture attention, that’s not the whole story. There are exponential amounts of content created daily. All of that content is pushed out to viewers and vie for the same attention.
Due to the plethora of content and the capability to ignore ads, people are becoming more selective about what they choose to watch. If an ad (or even a movie clip, TV show, news report, etc) doesn’t engage them right away, the user will scroll right past.
2. Get Personal
You may think, video advertising isn’t new. It’s the same thing as TV ads.
However, there are some key differences to note before you jump into video ads.
First, TV advertising has an extremely broad audience. Of course, there are viewer demographics for particular shows and you can even guess without data that the audience for “60 Minutes” is going to be different than for the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movies.
But because network television has such a large viewership, it’s hard to get a crystallized view of the demographics. Who knows, there could be an overlap between “60 Minutes” and “Falling In Love”! ?
With video advertising online, you can be much more specific in the characteristics and demographics you are looking to reach. The basics are geographic location, gender, and age. But there’s so much more! Marital status, income levels, passions, interests, etc.
The ability to fine-tune your target audience means your ads are going to a very specific set of potential customers. This makes it easier to write personal ads to appeal to the group.
Make Sure You Keep it Real
You have a very specific set of people to monitor too, and are ready to get started. Consider your audience when you create the video and edit it. While highly produced and slick video ads used to be the gold standard, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.
Advertising rules have changed.
You have seen how people interact directly with brands on social media and enjoy seeing the humour and authenticity behind the business. Video content that comes off as unfiltered can actually perform better than an expensive production! ?
The good news is that you do not need to hold your online video advertising to the same production standards as network TV commercials. You don’t have to rely on stock images and footages because you want that glossy finish.
If it’s appropriate for your brand, you can leave content with minimal edits and make the ads more human. For example, many brands have achieved success by using “real” people (this is so silly, because we are all real people. I suppose I mean people outside the norm of what we usually see on TV).
Including people of all ages, ethnicities, sizes, etc in your advertising widens the number of viewers who can personally connect with your video. Brands like Pop Fit and Aerie have achieved great success with this strategy.
3. Include a CTA
When people get to the end of your ad, they need to have a clear action to do next. The worst thing would be to drive viewers to your advertisement, have them watch the video, and close it for the next one.
You have to tell people the next step, whether it’s clicking to the website, making a purchase or donation, or calling for a consultation. Make it obvious!
You can include a call to action inside the video so viewers can follow the directions from the video, or you can place a CTA overlay through TrueView ads.
However you achieve it, be sure to include a call to action. While they are certainly not new to marketing and sales, they are sometimes overlooked in digital video advertising. I recommend going more specific rather more generic on your CTA. Don’t be afraid to dream big!
4. Choose the Right Video Ad Type
There are A LOT of different video formats. Anyone who has been on the internet has seen the barrage of different video advertisements: video discovery ads, bumper ads, outstream ads, skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads.
There are a lot of different types, and keep in mind that some may be better for your objectives than others. I generally recommend non-skippable in-stream ads and bumper ads for brand awareness campaigns and skippable in-stream ads for developing leads.
You also might not have the same ad play on all these types — you have more time to develop a story with non-skippable ads than skippable ones. Thoughtfully consider your goals with video advertising before choosing the format that works for your brand. ?
5. Keep Testing to Figure Out What Works For You!
After you’ve crafted and posted your video ads online, your job is done, right? Nope! This is the time to monitor the ads to see what’s working and what’s not. If your ads are underperforming, you can test changing them to a different channel or time slot to see what works best.
If you are using Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), the algorithm can help determine the best strategy for your advertising, but don’t be afraid to make manual adjustments as well.
It’s unlikely that your first video ad will be a homerun without some tweaking. ⚾
You have to keep testing to find out what video ads work best for your target audience.
These are my best tips and tricks for video ads. The one thing I recommend above all else is to get started! Your customers are out there right now…watching an ad for a competing product or service. Need help? Contact me with any questions!