Director of Paid Media, 6+ Years of Digital Marketing and Project Management Experience
June 18th, 2020
Video advertising is here to stay. It’s a great way to grab the attention of new audiences for your brand and stay top-of-mind for those who are already familiar with your products and services.
Initially, video advertising was considered more of a “nice to have” or “above and beyond” option for marketers. It seemed too expensive and too labor intensive to be a core component of a marketing plan.
As digital marketing has continued to grow and thrive, however, video has rapidly shifted into a must-have for marketers.
Video has become more accessible for brands, removing many of the arguments around price and labor.
A simple iPhone is capable of shooting worthy content — no need for big expensive cameras anymore. Editing software has become cheaper and easier to use as technology continues to advance.
And now, using video in your paid ads is easier than ever. You’d be hard-pressed to find an ad platform that doesn’t offer video ads as an option.
According to Wyzowl’s 2020 report, 95% of video marketers plan to increase or maintain video spend in 2020.
If you’re not using video in your paid ads, it’s time to get inspired and get started.
Recipe for a great video ad
Despite most video ads being quite short, a lot of thought has to go into each one. To maximize the performance of your video ads, consider the following:
Goals, goals, goals
Always know what you’re trying to accomplish with your video paid ads.
Are you trying to drive conversions? Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Are you trying to get your brand in front of more people?
Know the goal of the campaign and the key metrics to watch while your campaign runs - things like the number of views, the percent of your video ad that gets watched, frequency of ad delivery, etc.
Every decision you make regarding your ad should lead towards this goal.
If you’re unsure of where to start, some quick rules-of-thumb:
If your goal is to drive traffic, keep an eye on your clicks and click-through-rate.
If your goal is to drive sales, watch conversions and conversion rate on your website.
If your goal is to increase brand awareness, focus on the reach & frequency of your ads.
Keep it short
A great video paid ad is quick, to the point, and convincing. Attention spans are shorter than ever so your messaging has to have impact quickly or the viewer will be on their merry way before you can say “click here.”
For any video ad on any ad platform, you need to master the first 10 seconds of the video.
Those are the most crucial seconds of your video ad, no matter how long the ad is, because that’s when a person is noticing the ad, determining whether or not they connect with what’s being said, and choosing to continue watching or bail.’
Provide value to your audience
This may seem like a no-brainer, but triple-checking your video script for value is key for a good video ad.
It can be tempting to look at a six-second time limit and work hard to fit your elevator pitch into such a short amount of time, but first, take a look at what part of the funnel you’re targeting with your ad and determine what they need to hear from you at this time.
As they work on solving the problem, questions will arise. Your ads should anticipate and answer those questions in order to have maximum impact.
Rattling off the tech specs of your product might be helpful for bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) targets who have decided that your brand could be the answer to the problem that they are trying to solve. Especially when they are trying to decide between your product and a similar model from another company.
However, going into such detail when targeting those who are just being exposed to your brand through a top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) brand awareness campaign can be a big miss.
Your TOFU audience will likely have broader questions that will help them qualify whether or not your product could even solve the problem they have.
The key is to know your audience and their version of the buyer’s journey so you can create impactful, valuable ads that will draw them in.
Optimize for no sound
Keep in mind that a lot of people have their sound off when browsing social media or web pages where your ads may appear. Also, some platforms default to ads being muted.
Plan for a sound-free viewing experience that is as impactful when played silently as it is when played with the sound on.
Get precise with your targeting
Remember tossing notes to your crush in middle school and the fear of it being intercepted and the embarrassment that could ensue?
Putting your paid ads in front of the wrong audience is equally uncomfortable.
Make sure you know who you’re going to get in front of by using precise targeting within the ad platforms and have a message that resonates with those you reach.
Each ad platform has different targeting options to choose from when setting up your video ad. Additionally, the platform you are choosing to advertise on plays into who you are targeting as well.
For example, the users on LinkedIn are typically going to the platform for professional resources.
You could have the best video ad in all the land for your amazing gluten-free gummy bears, but the folks seeing the ad are likely to ignore it because it doesn’t align with the reason they are using the platform.
Cater to each platform
It’s important to know the platforms you’re going to advertise on before making your videos. Each paid ads platform has different dimension and file size requirements that you need to be aware of. The user behaviors are also often very different.
Failing to create video that’s optimized for each ad platform could cause your video ads to be disapproved, or to look out of place when the ads are put in front of your audience.
Best examples of video ads
Best examples of video ads on Facebook and Instagram
Because Facebook owns Instagram, advertising on either platform is run through Facebook Ads Manager.
I like this ad because it grabs my attention by building images from the top left corner down to the bottom right corner. It gives the ad a sense of motion and almost a fill-in-the-blanks quality that makes me want to continue to learn more.
Featuring product examples that are in an array of cool colors (blues, purples and greens) is also a great play on color psychology, suggesting calm or soothing energy and creativity.
The brand subtly pops into the screen around four seconds, as the ad shows what their app looks like on a phone.
This ad can be watched with or without the sound on because helpful text has been incorporated into the video design, allowing the ad creators to skip a voiceover and captions.
Even though Taft is a client of ours, I promise we’re not sneaking in a subtle brag.
In this ad, Taft super fans share their Taft shoe collections via video. You are able to see proud brand advocates showing off a whole slew of shoes in different layouts and lighting.
To create this video ad, Taft collected fan-submitted videos and added a snazzy background tune to give the audio of the ad a fluid feel. A great low-cost solution for getting high-trust content in front of their audiences.
This ad visually answers questions about how the shoes look in real life (versus the stylized photos on the brand’s website) and what real people think about the product once they try it.
There’s subtle encouragement for fans to build a collection - others are doing it and are proud of it!
And this ad gives a voice to brand advocates, which encourages other Taft lovers to also share their support for the brand.
The ad can be viewed with the sound on or off, with captions being offered when viewed with no sound - a best practice for video ads on any platform.
Best examples of video ads on Google
With Google, you’re able to show stand alone video ads or display ads within other streaming videos on YouTube and websites within the Google Display Network.
When thinking about ads on YouTube, there are three familiar video ad types:
Skippable ads, which can be skipped after watching five seconds or watched all the way through.
Non-skippable ads, which require you to watch the entire ad before you can view your desired content.
Bumper ads, which can only be up to six seconds in length and cannot be skipped.
While it may seem like five or six seconds can’t possibly be long enough to share all the great things a person needs to know about your product or service, keep in mind that there’s a long-term play here.
A video ad campaign is more than just one video. Short ads can feed a viewer bite-sized pieces of information about the brand over time.
Ipsos Media Development ran a study testing the effects of running a sequence of shorter ads versus repeating the same longer ad and found that the sequenced ads were much more effective for ad recall and top-of-mind brand awareness.
So it turns out that shorter video ads are a great tool for conveying your brand story and being “sticky” in the minds of new audiences.
The orange background makes this ad easily stand out against the cool color palette of the LinkedIn platform and the surprise on the man’s face makes you want to find out what’s got him so excited.
As the ad starts to play, the copy in the video instantly starts addressing pain points with words like “faster” and “easier” to grab attention and encourage the viewer to keep watching.
Because “faster” and “easier” are pretty generic words, the brand needs to instantly overcome doubt by proving it, so they jump into a brief product overview.
For a brand awareness play, demoing the product is a quick and easy way for potentially interested people to decide if they want to know without clicking to a landing page with information for them to read.
Additionally, the ad copy that supports the video draws readers in with a question, gets to the point, and contains a link for interested folks to easily take the next step.
In this ad, MailChimp keeps things short and sweet in their ad copy, but packs a whole lot of information into their video with both text and voiceover.
This is a fast-paced ad that gets the majority of their point across in the first six seconds of the video, just in case people stop watching.
It doesn’t have quite as much strength without the sound on, but the quick pace and on-brand sassy tone in the copy draws the viewer in.
The visuals in the video fill in the blanks that aren’t covered by the voiceover, as they tap into the emotions of the viewer — seeing the open light glow for the first time, the hectic answering of phone calls, the gratitude and overwhelm that can come with a successfully growing business, and the fear of being unable to sustain it.
This ad is interesting in that MailChimp is testing several versions of it. You can see other versions of the ad and decide which version you like best here.
LinkedIn’s video ad tips article is a great resource for those who are looking to make sure you’re approaching advertising on the platform with a solid strategy. If you’re new to LinkedIn video ads, they offer a great resources page for getting started.
Tips for creating great video paid ads
Keep the following in mind when working video ads into your marketing strategy:
Know each channel’s requirements (file size, dimensions, video length) before you create your video so you’re sure that what you produce will be both usable and optimal on the desired platforms.
Keep your videos on brand by ensuring your voice and tone, colors, etc are consistent with the rest of your marketing and website. This will give users a fluid experience when clicking on an ad and moving through the rest of the customer journey.
Stay interesting! You’re interrupting a user’s experience to advertise, so make it engaging and worth their time.
Remember that optimal production value may vary across channels, depending on who you are targeting.
Always be prepared for people encountering your ads with their sound turned off - it’s an extra challenge when creating your video, but will be worth it in the end.
Make sure you own the rights \and permits for the music, brands, locations, and models that appear in your video. Ads that violate usage rights can be dinged, disapproved, and may spark legal action if you’re not very careful.
Know the rest of the buyer journey and ad sequence. If a viewer doesn’t click after seeing your video ad, how are you remarketing to them?
Inspiration is everywhere
No matter which platform you choose to advertise on, video paid ads can be fun, impactful, and unforgettable. They are a key component of any good paid ads strategy.
To keep the inspiration going, check out the following: