You may know every nook and cranny of your business, but can you sum up what you do in a 60-second video ad?
Weaving a story through a marketing ad has become an art, and although there are many ways to share a great story, there are also many ways for your video promotion to go wrong as well.
There’s a juxtaposition. On one side of the camera, your goal is to sell your products and services. On the other side, you cannot be seen to be blatantly selling your goods…
…that’s not telling a story, that’s just telling.
The top ten most watched ads on YouTube last year shows how stories in advertising have become a hit with viewers. People like insights into the lives of other people.
And is it not true that people tell stories every day? There are probably several yarn spinners in your place of work. Everyone loves a good story and it is no coincidence that leading corporations are using story-telling techniques in their marketing videos.
Marketers, of course, have more obstacles to overcome than regaling your workmates about the mischief you got up to over the weekend. One such hurdle is time and space.
So let’s say you have 60 seconds of space to produce an explainer video. How do you tell your story and get your marketing message across in a minute..?
Tell a story your audience can connect with emotionally
Your video ad has to go for the heart. Tap into the emotions of your audience and you’re a huge step closer to a conversion.
Before you work out how to tell your story, decide what message you want to deliver. What emotion does your message most closely relate to? Once you know that, stick with it – you do not want to give viewers mixed emotions.
You, therefore, need to understand your audience. What problems do they have and what solutions can you offer to make their life easier?
You should bear in mind that a good proportion of your audience will never have heard of your brand. So there is added pressure to make your ad memorable…
…and storytelling is great for that!
Studies show that when the brain is stimulated through auditory senses, it is only able to retain around 10% of the information. Add visuals and the memory captures an additional 55%.
So choose your visuals wisely, and put your audience in the story. But what type of tale should you tell? Your audience wants something that will resonate with them.
So if you are a new brand placing your product in front of an audience that has never heard of you, do not tell a story that sounds like fiction or fantasy. Tell the truth, earn respect, earn trust.
Take a tip from the commercial superpower that is Coca-Cola. Note how the fizzy drink marketers tap into real lives and tell a story everybody can relate to in one way or another.
Despite rumours of Coca-Cola being able to clean the dirt off a coin, the drink is still one of the most popular beverages on the planet. That’s because consumers trust the brand and can relate to the company.
Structuring video ads
The structure of your video promotion should be cohesive. Include a beginning, middle and end, and make the segments follow on naturally so watchers can easily keep track from A to B.
You only have space for up to around 150 words in a one-minute video ad. So keep the story simple. You do not have to use 150-words of course. Actually, the less you say, the more people remember.
The most important aspects of structuring your script is to engage the audience immediately, identify your goal, communicate the benefits of your product, explain how it works and round it off with a call-to-action.
Let’s look at that in more detail.
Statistics show that video ads are typically abandoned within the first half of the ad. There are two reasons for this. Viewers only have an attention span of around 9-seconds, or your ad is boring.
A loss of attention span does not necessarily mean viewers will tune out of your ad. They just tune out. The most likely cause of abandonment is because your video does not interest them in the first place.
The first five seconds of your ad should capture the attention of your audience. This is the amount of time it takes for a viewer to decide whether to watch or skip your in-stream ad.
Identifying your goals in video ads
Your goal in a video ad will be one of two things; raising brand awareness or promoting a product. This is a decision you need to confirm before you begin the creative process.
Identifying your goals in a video will depend on the message you want to convey. When telling a brand story, focus on a specific point in your history that was a pinnacle moment for you and your customers.
If you are introducing a new product, establish the pain point of your audience. Then swiftly move on to communicating the benefits of your product.
It is at this point where inexperienced video makers can slip up. The important thing to remember is not to try and cram every benefit of your product or service into one video ad.
So let’s go back to the goal of the marketing message. Which benefits do you most want to convey? It makes sense to choose your lead benefit, or one you have not promoted in the past.
Ideally you do not want to choose any more than three benefits when telling a story, but this is not the case for every industry. An insurer for example needs to cram in all the selling points of the product.
Coming up with ideas to get your message across is not as complicated as you might think. Rather than look at the bigger picture, downsize to bullet points you can write on a post-it:
- Create a Twitter-style headline which explains the message you want to convey
- List the three benefits that most support your message
- Write a scenario for each benefit that will prompt you to tell a story
- Bring the prompts together so the story is cohesive
If you keep your message simple, it is easier to craft a winning script. Furthermore, your video ad will be more powerful and effective. Telling a story in a marketing video should not be over-complicated.
A powerful story will motivate viewers to take action. But they need to be told what to do. Your marketing video cannot be left knotted otherwise your customers have no thread to follow.
Make sure then to round your video ad off with a clear call to action (CTA). What do you want your customers to do next? What is the next step in the purchase buying process?
Online consumers need directing and because of so many distractions on a video host page, it is not always clear what the customer should do next. Don’t make them have to look.
There are several effective ways of including CTAs in your video ad. You can bake them right into the video by displaying your URL or contact number on the screen, possibly doubling up on a voiceover.
Including pop-up annotations on YouTube videos can also serve your CTA in a little bubble text. It can be a neat little feature, but there is a drawback you should be aware of…
…you can only link annotations to other videos on YouTube. This can, therefore, work against you. If a viewer is watching your explainer video on your homepage you drive them away rather than towards.
The alternative option is to include an ad overlay. This takes a little bit of technical knowledge as it links YouTube directly with your Google AdWords account.
In order to include an overlay for your CTA, you will need to run a simultaneous AdWords campaign alongside your video promotion and enable your account to sync with your YouTube channel.
This gives you the power to link your video to anywhere on the web, thus driving traffic to a landing page on your website.
Including explainer videos on your homepage increases visibility in search engines, reduces bounce back rate and increase conversions.
Marketers agree that video is one of the best mediums to use for promotional ads that deliver a return on investment.