Why Some Video Ads Work and Some Don’t

Written by
Owen Jones

You’d think that with so many brands starting to use video as a marketing tool, their revenue wouldn’t increase right away.

Well, not exactly.

Many video ads fail to achieve their goals, costing companies in wasted production and advertising spend.

With proper planning and preparation, though, you can produce effective video ads that direct traffic to your site, engage your online community, and increase your revenue. We’ll show you how to do that in this guide.

 

What are the most popular platforms for video ads?

You can see video ads just about anywhere – the website you browse for content, social media, the f app you just installed on your phone. Most people consume video ad content through one of these three popular platforms:

YouTube

Google earns most of its revenue from YouTube through advertising. As a content creator, you can add YouTube adverts to your video. YouTube video advertising includes pre-roll ads, the general term for ads that play before the featured content, and ads that pop up within the content.

There are two types of video ads on YouTube:

  • Skippable Ads
  • Non-skippable in-stream ads

There are a lot of opportunities for clever advertising on YouTube. For example, you can collaborate with influencers in your niche and have them use, promote, or review your products on their channel. Uploading YouTube videos to your own site comes with some serious drawbacks. However, creating your own branded YouTube channel, and uploading content your team has created in-house can yield some considerable results:

More than 78% of marketers voted that YouTube is the most effective platform for advertising their product. The Cost Per Click is certainly cheaper than advertising on Facebook.

 

Facebook

Facebook is the most popular social media platform. More than 1 billion people visit the Facebook site and app every day. According to Sprout Social, Facebook ads gain 8 billion views per day!

The Facebook for Business ad platform offers you the option to set a budget, platform, and even specific mobile devices where your video ad will play. You can also adjust your ad placement according to your objective, which could either be brand awareness, app downloads, or sales on your ecommerce website.

 

Instagram

Instagram has an image and video-centric approach to social networking. The platform is favored by health, clothing, accessories, and technology brands. You could use organic video ad content on your brand’s Instagram page or use a series of short, 15-second Instagram Stories to promote your products.

Very much like YouTube, you could feature influencers using or reviewing your product or crowdsource content from your followers to increase your engagement. While you cannot insert links to your site in your content captions, you can add them to your Stories through the Swipe Up feature.

 

pointing at computer

What makes an effective video ad?

Humans can process and retain video content better than written content alone, making video ads great for brand recall. Moreover, through video, it’s easier to engage with your audience. You can talk to them, and express emotions through your voice and body language.
That’s a lot more powerful than expressing your opinion through the written word, which is what I’m doing now.

Here are some things the most effective video ads have in common:

1. They properly address your buyer’s problem: Your customers have problems they need to solve. To reach your target customers, you need to clearly identify the problem, showcase it in the video, and assure that you are the best solution to solve the issue. Your potential customer will instantly connect when you mention the problem that they are already facing.

2. Their length is optimized for each social platform: Different social platforms cater to different demographics, and their attention spans also differ. For example, the optimal length of Facebook ads is five to 15 seconds. For YouTube, you could go between 15 to 20 seconds, but we recommend you stick to six seconds at most for non-clickable ads.

3. Finding a tone consistent with your business niche: Your tone is part of your brand, and when your tone is consistent with your niche, your ads are more effective. Some niches, such as project management software, could use a friendly but authoritative tone, while other niches require a more informal tone.

4. They push the envelope when competing in a crowded market: However, if your business operates in a very competitive market, you will need to do your video ads differently. For example, if your competitors have serious ads, you can set aside your business by doing unusual ads — and they’re even better if they’re funny.

 

Ryan Reynolds uses his unique sense of humor to sell anything. He casually slipped in a plug for his service and created this super memorable ad.

 

5. Their production value is high: While video ads in the past had to be polished and processed to appeal to more upscale clients, you don’t need to invest in sophisticated equipment to produce convincing videos. You can take high-quality videos with your smartphone and then use free tools to add captions and effects and edit the audio.

 

 

5 tips to create outstanding video ads

Great video ads work because they appeal to their audiences. They take their viewers’ preferences into account and structure their messaging to address common audience concerns or desires. Here are five tips for video ads that can land new customers for you:

 

1. Gain your audience’s attention within the first 5 seconds:

It is important to capture the attention of your audience. On an ad, you have the first five seconds to hold your audience’s attention before they have the option of skipping or scrolling your ad.

 

To create an ad that impresses the audience, you need a strong script. And for that, you need a strong concept.

 

Wix came up with an interesting concept simply by looking at the comments on their past ads. They made an ad saying, “you would rather be doing anything other than watching a Wix ad.”
And it worked out very well for the brand!

This ad builds interest in the first 5 seconds and gets you thinking about what Wix will do next!

Obviously, this parody is built on brand recognition.
You can only run an ad about all of the things you’d rather do than watch a Wix advert after you have been subjected to endless adverts from the company. There are two lessons here:

  • Don’t change your ad format unless it stops being effective (yeah, pretty sure the boring ads people complained about were effective for a long time).
    When something stops working, experiment. Ads get old, and you’ll need a refresh to generate fresh engagement
  • There are plenty of other content creators out there who have great ads. Almost without exception, those ads work hard to capture the viewer’s attention in those first four seconds.

 

2. Partner with content creators

If you want a quick engagement boost, partnering with content creators and influencers will give your brand the exposure it needs. When influencers give your brand a shout out or use your products in their videos, their followers might become interested in your offer.

Each platform has its own set of influencers. The best-known YouTube content creators, for example, don’t necessarily have the same reach with their Facebook page. So if you wish to partner with a specific content creator, engage them in the platform where they have the most influence and reach.

Secondly, consider your aims, and track your results. While content creators might have a good reach, that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. If you want your business to grow, you need to track the conversion from impressions to customers.

 

3. Focus on the consumers’ benefits

If you’ve ever read a book about advertising, you’ll know that adverts focus on the product and the user benefits. Let me give you an example.

Watch the video and you’ll notice that the advert is all about the product. The advertisement shows off the features of the phone. For example, the thumbprint ID, new camera, etc.
People buy products because of their features and benefits.

An advert with a woman running around a park holding the new iPhone might look nice, but viewers wouldn’t understand the benefits of the product. If they don’t understand the value, they’re unlikely to purchase the product or try the service.

If you decide to create a video, make sure the advertisement is focused on consumer benefits. People want to see real people using your product in real-life situations. When you feature your product in situations that viewers can identify with, your brand becomes more relevant.

 

4. Add a call to action

Publishing an ad that moves its viewers is one thing. Getting your audience to convert is another. Unless you include a call to action (CTA) in your ad, your business won’t get the conversions that it needs.

YouTube lets you add call-to-action overlays to video ads. The overlay appears over an ad then collapses into a thumbnail after 15 seconds, which is just enough time for the viewer to click on it.

 

When you use a video hosting platform, like Cincopayou decide when your CTA pops up and how it will look like. You can also see exactly who clicked on it.

 

 

5. Keep testing

Video ad creation takes a lot of trial and error. Expect to learn from your mistakes before coming up with campaigns that work. Keep testing your video ads, even if you’ve already created a campaign worthy of a Cannes Lions award.

You need to monitor how your ad performs using your platform’s analytical tools and make changes accordingly. As I mentioned, the best ad campaigns lose impact over time.

Be mindful of how you invest your team’s time in these activities. From crafting a script to A/B testing your ads, you need everything covered in your employee’s schedule. You can use schedule software to assign people to complete important tasks.

 

black man stressed out

 

3 Reasons why video ads fail

For each successful video ad you watch, there are at least two or three other video ads you skip or scroll past down. Nobody wants to watch an advertisement. It’s your job to grab the attention of your audience and keep them hooked.

It’s a tough gig. Let’s look at three reasons video ads fail:

 

1. Incorrect ad targeting

Most platforms allow you to target who sees your video ads based on factors such as age, job title, previous browsing behavior, gender, and location. Ad targeting is a very powerful thing, and if you do it the right way, you’ll be able to reach your target audience.

The custom audience you create should share the demographics of your existing customers. Most ad platforms allow you to create lookalike audiences based on the demographic data you can access.

Once you’ve set your targeting, make sure to review the results. You can further optimize your audience based on the actions that you’re seeing.

Through a process of continual optimization, you should increase your profit margins.

However, you can make mistakes when you specify your targeting. You might be working with incorrect audience data or be using the wrong messaging. If the latter is the issue, even if you get very granular with your targeting, your campaign is bound to fail. You might want to rethink your messaging.

 

2. Wrong video type

You have a lot of options as you upload your video ads. You may choose to make your in-stream ads skippable or non-skippable or convert them to bumper ads. However, some formats are more effective for specific business goals.

 

If you want to use video to generate leads, you’ll be fine with skippable ads. However, for brand awareness, you might want to look into bumper ads or non-skippable ads.

 

The same thing goes for other platforms. If you want to generate sales right away or promote a limited-time bonus, you may use a swipeable Instagram Story. To maintain product awareness, an Instagram or Facebook post might work. Regardless of your approach, test everything.

 

3. Flawed storytelling

Unlike other forms of marketing content, such as text, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room to build up your story. If your ad doesn’t get interesting within the first four seconds, your audience will skip it, as I said earlier.

Your video ads should capture your audience’s attention right away. The sooner you get your viewers hooked, the longer they’ll stay and see how the story resolves itself.

It is also important to maintain the flow and energy of the video. Viewers should feel connected throughout the whole video.

 

Bottomline

Conducting an online video ad campaign for the first time can be intimidating, mostly because you know there’s a lot at stake if you don’t do it the right way. But if you backup your video ads with a lot of research, planning, and preparation, your brand will gradually enjoy the results.

We hope that by following the tips we’ve listed in this article, you can avoid the common mistakes that make campaigns fail and instead start on your way to success. Best of luck with your video ads!

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Why Some Video Ads Work and Some Don’t

by Owen Jones time to read: 9 min
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