You’ve seen the news articles, the blog posts, the email campaigns. Advertising today, especially online, is all about video. At the end of 2017, Forbes called video “The New King of Content.” The reasons they cite for this are compelling:
- Increased organic traffic
- Improved conversion rates
- Better message retention
Even Google and Facebook algorithms seem to favor and serve up video content more regularly than other content types.
However, the process of pursuing a video strategy is daunting for most small to mid-sized businesses.
When looking at making video ads on a budget, there are a few key questions to ask that include types of video and ad length, messaging, creation, quality and distribution.
1. What types of video and ad lengths should I create?
For the uninitiated, there are a handful of basic marketing videos that will allow you to get your feet wet and still provide your customers and prospects with some valuable insight into you and your products. Here are a few favorites:
Explainer videos – A video with some key information on who you are and what you do can be tremendously helpful to prospective customers, especially if you’re new in your industry.
These sorts of videos can also serve as “thought leadership” pieces as you can educate your audience on not only your business but on common issues or pain points within your space that you and your products address.
A great and entertaining example of an explainer video comes from Dollar Shave Club:
Customer testimonials – Seeing and hearing real customers tout all the good things about your business can be hugely impactful. People tend to be skeptical of strict sales messaging, but real experiences are more believable and tend to resonate more completely with audiences.
You can even leverage customer reviews from your website and social channels to help fill out content. Codecademy uses the Q&A format to craft an effective customer testimonial video:
Customer “thank yous” – Loyalty and customer retention is so important. People like a humanistic approach and enjoy feeling appreciated. A short video thanking your customers for their support is meaningful. This is also the sort of video that can be simple, yet still make a big impact.
A truly authentic and impactful example of a customer appreciation clip comes from TD Canada:
Length, in particular, is another interesting parameter most businesses don’t readily consider. Depending on where your videos are places, long-form 30-second and 60-second (or more) ads aren’t always ideal — it really depends on the use case.
When you start getting into 15- and 6-second videos, marketers can get a bit flustered, thinking, “What can I do with a 6-second ad?”
Think With Google recently presented an article on the topic of shorter ad lengths. The article encouraged marketers to think about doing more sequential campaigns with shorter spots. There’s tremendous opportunity to tease a new product, sale or promotion and build a bit of buzz with these shorter ad spots.
Shorter ads also work well as a build up to a longer-form story and can support your campaigns in exciting new ways.
2. What should my video ads say?
It all starts with a story. Good videos feature a story arc regardless of ad length; a winning campaign connects with viewers on a personal level. Taking those viewers on a journey that arrives at a place where your product or business solves a problem for them or addresses a need is key.
Try to avoid strict sales messaging and passive words. Be direct and ensure your CTA is clear.
3. How will I get a video ad made?
There are a number of ways to make a video for advertising purposes. You can become a creator and produce clips on your own. You can hire an outside agency to produce your video ads.
Or, more recently, companies (like Waymark) have emerged and taken the idea of self-serve video ads to the masses.
Each option has strengths and weaknesses. Producing video on your own can be fun and fairly quick to do; however, not everyone possesses the skills to capture quality video, edit, and finalize things for distribution.
Not to mention video equipment, professional-grade computers, and editing software can cost a pretty penny.
Outside agencies can ensure a certain level of quality and professionalism. Though, as mentioned, costs can be high and turnaround time can be quite lengthy. Also, your timelines and the production schedule of your preferred agency may not align.
A self-serve model also exists, and is often a perfect middle ground for budget-conscious organizations looking for quality.
The types of videos you can get range from more generic stock video or image-based clips, to highly-produced, customizable videos that include options for text and image overlays. These online video sites tend to vary in quality and their costs reflect this fact, so be choosy.
4. What makes a good video ad?
When thinking about video ads on a budget, an overly excitable used-car salesmen, blocky text and flashing, almost seizure-inducing screen graphics come to mind. You know, the sorts of video ads you’d see on the local cable TV channel at midnight, 30 years ago.
This way of thinking isn’t too far from the truth. Technology has allowed most people to just pick up a phone and capture 4K HD video at the touch of a button.
However, technology can’t readily overcome poor composition, editing, coloring, lighting, scripting, placement, etc.
To that end, it’s ill-advised to simply cobble together generic video clips (whether pulled from a licensed online source or filmed on your own). With this technique, it’s increasingly difficult to create something that appears cohesive and professional.
A recommended approach is to employ some level of professional producers, animators, or artists. Video pros are truly tuned into the key elements of video production.
There are all sorts of considerations that impact the quality of your piece, including color matching, white balancing, film type, aspect ratio, resolution, lighting, and more. If you have the ability, relying on a solution that takes these factors into consideration will positively impact your final deliverable.
Regardless of the solution you choose, it’s worth mentioning that high-quality visuals are important. Images, graphics, and video clips used should paint an expressive picture of your business. Low-quality visuals instantly place your business at a disadvantage.
Ad Age recently referenced a project for Canon from Copenhagen’s Uncle Grey. It enlisted Canon social media influencers to take more than 327,000 high-quality photos of small businesses across Scandinavia.
The photos were then posted to Google’s Local Guides platform. Nearly half of the businesses saw a sales increase from the project. As a result, Google pledged to change its algorithm to favor photos with good lighting and composition.
5. How do I get people to see my video ad?
At its core, quality video marketing is nothing if your customers don’t see your ads. So, simply being aware of when and where you’ll promote your video is a key consideration.
Your customer habits will help inform the “when and where,” but there are many digital avenues that have proven to be great options for video advertising, including YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
On most platforms, there are both organic and paid avenues to pursue. Your company size, budget, target audience, and customer habits should influence where and how your video advertising dollars are spent, and how you approach your overall distribution strategy.
Once a distribution strategy is nailed down, you should have a good handle on the types of video content, type of messaging, and ad length you’ll want to create since these vary by platform.
Beyond distribution, getting ahead of your video marketing needs is also a good recommendation. Something as simple as a basic content calendar will help you understand how much video you’ll need to produce on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis.
Some organizations distribute a couple of unique ads per month. But, as you begin to tell more elaborate stories and explore A/B testing and optimization of your video ads, you’ll likely need more.
At Waymark, we’ve seen power users go through 10+ video ads per month. Again, every business and organization is different!
Make a video strategy that works for you
Video isn’t going away, so getting on board with the medium and doing things the right way can have a meaningful impact on your business.
A high-quality video that tells a story, is visually appealing, and uses the right message, length, and distribution will position your business for video advertising success.
About the authors
Waymark is an award-winning art and technology startup in downtown Detroit. We deliver agency-quality video ads with the click of a button. Our passion lies in helping businesses grow, and we employ top design, development, and video production talent (including former Hollywood producers) to make that happen. Shop, play, and personalize video ads for your business at Waymark.com