Video ads are one of the best ways to engage with your target audience and improve your brand visibility. You can use audience targeting features to make sure you’re only speaking to people who qualify as potential customers. You can use a combination of visuals and audio to make your case. And if you do things right, you can reap the rewards of a massive return on investment (ROI).
But here’s the thing: most companies marketing and advertising themselves already realize the power of video ads and are taking full advantage of them. That’s why the internet is currently bloated with video ads. Everywhere you look, from app stores to content platforms to certain streaming services, video ads are being forced down your throat – and consumers are growing fatigued.
Video ads are still a valuable strategy, but if you’re not careful, your ads could dissolve into the ether, blending into the background as unintelligible white noise. Your customers will be desperate to skip your ad, and your message will be lost.
So what steps can you take to make your video ad campaign stand out in this overly saturated landscape?
Get to Know Your Audience
Your first step should be getting to know your audience. Within this is two big priorities: choosing the right audience to target and creating a message that’s going to resonate with them.
When it comes to choosing an audience, you likely already have some data here. Do you have customer personas that capture the demographics and dispositions of people you want to target? If so, are you confident these are the best market segments to go after? You’ll also need to consider the buying cycle, your sales funnel, and the role of customer intent when developing your ads.
Next, you’ll need to get to know those people so you can craft better messages for them. What are the values of this demographic? What’s important to them? What benefits are going to be seen as most valuable, and what are their main concerns? It’s tough to pack all of this into a single video ad, but the more you understand, the better.
Get to Know Your Competition
It’s also worth getting to know your competition. Who are the companies currently creating and promoting video ads in this space?
This can help you in several ways. First, you’ll learn the common techniques used to target your shared audience. It can deepen your understanding of your target demographics and provide inspiration that you can use to refine your own approach.
Second, you’ll learn what not to do. If you make a carbon-copy of a competitor’s ad, or if you’re just following the latest trends that everyone else is following, your ad will look just like all the others. Instead, come up with a way to stand out; the more novel your ad is, the better.
Make sure you hire a team of professionals to do the videography work. If your video looks like it was produced by a grade school student, or like it was filmed with a camera from 1999, people aren’t going to take it seriously.
A professional crew of people will have the equipment necessary for professional production, and they’ll help you put together a script, a shooting location, and a polished final product. This can elevate a mediocre video to become an exemplary one.
As for how you hire these professionals, that’s up to you. If you plan on shooting lots of ads and creating video content in the future, you could hire videographers full-time. Otherwise, you can hire freelancers or work with a marketing agency.
Come Up With Something Novel
Remember when I told you that novelty and originality were important?
There are several ways to make yourself unique, such as:
- Novel scenery.
- Unique music.
- Playful humor.
- A different tone.
- Unusual stylistic choices.
- A surprising message.
Your selections here should depend on the nature of your brand, the nature of your competition, and the preferences of your audience. But the most important thing is to find something that sets your ad apart from other video ads.
Understand Your Platform (and the Potential)
Different types of video platforms require different approaches, so get to know the platforms that will work best for your brand and optimize your content for them.
For example, if you’re advertising on YouTube, you’ll have the option to post different types of ads. Unskippable ads will play no matter what, but audience engagement isn’t a guarantee, so you’ll need to make sure your content is on point. Skippable ads can be skipped after 5 seconds – so you’ll need to make sure those first few seconds are as compelling as possible. And buffer ads need to be much shorter, so they’ll only work for certain types of messages.
Optimize the First Few Seconds
No matter what type of ad you’re posting or how much time you have to work with, it’s important to optimize the first few seconds of your video ad to capture your audience’s attention. If those first few seconds don’t make a big impact, your viewer will likely either skip the ad or stop paying attention – neither of which is good for your bottom line. In a worst-case scenario, they may actually walk away with a worse impression of your brand.
Give your viewers a memorable hook – something interesting, entertaining, or surprising that sets the tone for your entire ad. For example, you could flash a series of colorful images that show off your product being used, or have a charismatic spokesperson highlight the top benefits of your brand.
Keep It Concise
Even if you have a few minutes to work with, your messaging needs to be kept concise. Only include items if they’re vital to better understanding your product or brand; if they’re unnecessary or peripheral, they can likely be cut. Most video ad viewers don’t have the patience to put up with superfluous details.
Showcase the Benefits
If you’re showing off a product or service, your best bet is to showcase the benefits. What does someone have to gain by visiting your site or buying your product? Can they save money? Is some aspect of their life going to get easier? Make this obvious and prominent; ideally, it should be the main focal point of your video.
Add Something Immediately Valuable
It’s also important to give your viewers something immediately valuable, even if it’s something small. For example, you could provide them a fact or statistic that they didn’t have previously – something that can help them in their daily life or career. Alternatively, you can offer them a free gift or an exclusive discount; these incentives almost always keep people watching.
Don’t Forget to Test
Finally, don’t forget to test your work. You may have come up with a video that’s concise, especially powerful in the first few seconds, and brilliantly targeted to your audience – but that’s still not a guarantee that it’s going to land. There could be tiny details throwing off its effectiveness, or you may not understand your audience as well as you think you do.
The only way to tell for sure that a video ad is effective is to test it in a live environment. Test different versions of it with similar pockets of your audience and see which version performs best. Roll it out to different channels and see if it performs better on some than others. The more data you gather, the better.
It’s unlikely you’ll master the art of video advertising overnight. No matter how much creativity you pour into this endeavor, or how much research you do in advance, you’ll still need to gradually evolve to make your efforts more successful. And with as much competition as you’re currently facing, it could be months before you get the results you want.