As attention spans get shorter and competition becomes fiercer, video advertising has never been in such high demand. So if you’re going to try it, make sure you’re doing it right. We will breakdown our 5 most important tips to making effective video ads, utilizing key strategies and techniques to help you create videos that engage your target audience and deliver tangible results for your business.
1. Target Audience
Before you jump ahead on the preproduction and start scripting your video, it’s crucial that you identify your target audience to learn how you can optimize your video for their needs and interests. Conduct market research, analyze customer data, and develop buyer personas to gain valuable insights into your audience’s motivations and desires.
Let’s run through an example. You’ve just developed an innovative cooking appliance that could help every kitchen user in their daily life. You decide to make a commercial for it and need to start identifying your target audience. We can almost immediately deduct people under the age of 25, as they are less likely to own a home to buy appliances for. Next, you find through your market research that over 80% of homes in the United States, Germany, France and Spain have a coffee maker, but only 33% of homes in Japan have one. So now we’ve narrowed it down to an age and location range and could keep taking it even further with income, industry, time of the year, etc.
With information about your audience, you have the ability to make meaningful connections with them through your video advertising. Continuing the kitchen appliance example, you wouldn’t show a famous 2010s artist endorsing your product in a video, but rather a well-loved artist from the 80s or 90s when your target market was growing up so they feel a sense of nostalgia and happiness when they see their face.
2. Compelling Story
No matter what kind of commercial you’re making, whether it’s 10 seconds or 10 minutes, every piece of film content has a story behind it. Building and focusing on this story is important because it is the most organic way for the viewer to feel a connection to the video, which connects them to your product/service. We’ve all seen ads that feel soulless, corporate, and just a plain waste of time. Focus on what’s being sold, what purpose it serves and find the best way to craft your story around that.
Continuing with the kitchen appliance example, take a moment and think about what you could do to create a story out of it. Would you make a commercial that just shows it being used with a logo at the end? Rather, you would open with the frustration of a little kid (showing anyone can use it) trying to troubleshoot a problem. The mom comes over and hands him the convenient kitchen appliance, and then they finish cooking and eat happily together as the logo and CTA roll in. This is how you turn a normal product into a compelling story.
3. Know your platform
This is the key to successful video advertising, yet it seems to be the most overlooked. If you’re a production company, ask your client where this video is being distributed. If you’re hiring a production company, tell them where it is being distributed. Optimized content is how you divide and conquer in commercial media.
YouTube advertising is great, but would you edit and produce your video in the same manner if it was to run on the evening news? What about if it was to go on TikTok? Or a landing page video? Knowing your platform is just as important as knowing your audience because they are almost the same thing. Different media platforms reward engagement and playability to different kinds of content. Here are some tips that we’ve learned in our own production:
Mid-roll ads in YouTube videos are skippable, and the person really wants to get back to their video, so make sure that the first 5 seconds have a fantastic hook and is very niched down to speak directly to the viewer. You will target the ad campaigns to specific audiences, so why not script it the same way?
Short-form platforms like YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Instagram Reels do not differ in content preference. Learn the optimizations for one, and you will have mastered them all.
Television commercials are almost always going to be geared toward the 55+ age range. This is because they watch the most cable television out of any other age demographic, so use this information when identifying your target audience.
4. Call To Action
Have you ever heard anyone reference a “CTA” while discussing video advertising, or any advertising for that matter? A call to action is arguably the most vital part of any advertisement because it is what directs the consumer to the next steps they need to take. You could have the best commercial that makes everyone who watches want to buy, but if they don’t know where to go, then they could never buy your product.
We’ve all seen the classic infomercial CTAs, where they tell you to call their 1-800 number today to place an order. But we don’t live in the stone age anymore and have to be a little more clever with how we choose to incorporate the CTA. A relatively recent and infamous example is the QR code Superbowl commercial that coinbase.com left on the screen for 60 seconds. Their entire advertisement was one big CTA, and it worked. They had 20 million website visits in the span of a minute.
But more realistically, for the rest of us that can’t afford 60 seconds of Superbowl commercial space, here are a few creative ways to incorporate your CTA.
Work it into the script. Having a character at the end that says it in the dialogue, or showing them doing it on their phone, is an organic way to get it across to the audience. Be careful with this method, as it can easily become cheesy when you write into the script for the lead to say, “Well, I guess all I have to do is open my phone and go to nonagonproductions.com to get my quote today!”. Make sure to keep it creative and natural.
Work it into the set. Imagine the camera pans off to the side after the character walks off-screen, and then you see the website or QR code on a billboard in front of you. This makes it a more natural part of the story and won’t require a hard cut to an advertisement screen.
Make it obvious what the consumer needs to do. This one is a little more tricky and requires a lot of expert planning, but if you can frame your story and script in a manner that makes it clear what the consumer would need to do to buy the product, you won’t even need an explicit call to action at the end of the video.
While this may seem like the most obvious step and a point that you’re already striving for, it still has to be emphasized because of its importance. If you think your video idea is creative and unique, look it up on Google, and you might be surprised to see that it’s been done before. This doesn’t mean that if an idea is used once it’s gone forever, but it does mean that you should try to innovate and separate yourself from others as much as possible.
How many advertisements do you think you see in a day? Promotions on Facebook, signs on telephone poles, pre-roll YouTube ads, etc. Sometimes it feels like the quantity of promotional content you’re consuming will never end. This is why creativity is so important because if you can’t create something that stands out, nobody will remember it for more than 10 seconds after passing by.
Focus on how you can make your commercial iconic, and then all of your video advertising dreams will come true. Characters like the GEICO gecko or Tony the tiger are great examples of creativity in advertising because they always find themselves in different situations and have allowed their image to be seen as a TV show we’ve been seeing new episodes of for the past 20 years.
These were our five best tips on how to make your video advertising effective, and it’s all based on our experience producing videos for our own clients. We’ve been in the business for years and have a ton of experience in the world of video advertising. If you’d like to learn more about how you can work with us (this is our CTA!), reach out here with your information, and we’ll see how we can help.