Building a brand | 10 tips for creating outstanding video ads

Video ads generally require a sizeable investment when compared to other forms of content produced by businesses on a daily basis, like blog articles or email campaigns.

Below you will find some tips to help you produce effective video ads. Think of this as a checklist while you write the script and screenplay or while you review your final edit.

 1. 80-10 rule

Think of the first 10 seconds of your video as its headline. David Ogilvy once said, 80% of your readers will decide if they are interested in your service solely based on your ad’s headline. It means when you are done writing your headline or editing the first 10 seconds of your video, you have already spent 80 cents from the dollar. Make this decision consciously and after ample consideration.

 2. 33% problem, 33% solution, 33% benefits

Ads run anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. When planning the content, map it on a timeline to see how much time are you devoting to the most important parts of your message. A general rule of thumb is you devote opening part of the ad to the problem, middle for your introducing your product and conclude with benefits where everyone is happy. Almost all successful ads follow this format where problem is established within the first 10 seconds of the ad.

 3. Avoid clickbaits

Have you seen news articles or ads crying out loud for attention? Lose weight, improve complexion, say goodbye to wrinkles in no time.  Promises to solve a genuine problem for free in no-time may get you a few clicks but these gimmicks don’t get too far. Those clicks and views will not make your cash register ring. Never promise what you cannot deliver.

 4. Assume your audience is intelligent

One of the simplest ways to make a good ad is to assume that your audience is as smart as you. If you start with this simple assumption, you will not try to trick them into buying your product but give them the relevant information they need to make a buying decision. Rather than talking about what your product can do, talk about what they can do with it.

 5. Don’t be shy of being dramatic

The great part about selling through a video is that you get to tell a story, be creative. And what’s the point of this creative freedom, if you can’t play things out to their extreme and show the world from a new point of view. Don’t be afraid to play out your customer’s problems or your product’s effects out to the extreme., sometimes almost to the point that they seem outrageous.

To get a taste of dramatic, check out this campaign for Mountain Dew Kickstart.


 6. Make it a series

It’s hard work to create an ad, it costs money, time, effort and it only lasts for a minute. The shelf life of content is decreasing with each passing day. It’s a good idea to give your audience something they can look forward to. When planning content, try to form a long term strategy and come up with content for 3-4 ads at one time with a common theme or story line. This will help your audience instantly relate with the previous content when you launch new ads. It will increase recall value and will allow you more time to tell a good story.

 7. Use less words

This is a rule not specific to ads but a general rule for good film-making. There is a reason we call them motion pictures and not motion pictures and sounds. Try to say more with your shots rather than relying on background narration. It makes the content more universal since it needs no language to understand. Relying more on visual storytelling will also make it more engaging to watch.

Here is example of an ad which talk less and shows more.

 8. Try not to leave out the price

Most ads don’t have a recall value, the ones that are able to arouse consumer’s interests very often leave them guessing about the price and whether they can afford the service. Remember, price is a selling point … and a very critical one. Don’t leave out this critical piece when you ask a potential customer to make a buying decision.

 9. Make a musical

The age old formula of selling using jingles still holds true in the modern internet era. We are humans, we will always sing in bathrooms, while traveling, driving and even sometimes even while working. It can pay off big time to have a song writer compose a catch tune and rhythm for you. Jingles and songs have been show to have a high recall value.

Here are two musical campaigns which had the audience singing along.

 10. Provide a call to action

Lastly and very importantly, do not forget to include a call to action. Sign up, place an order, subscribe to your channel, whatever it is … make sure you state it loud and clearly. You can even provide a coupon code to track the performance of your campaign.

What is Birch?

Birch is a service which helps you plan and execute amazing video campaigns every month. We analyze hundreds of video campaigns to understand what resonates with your audience and help you use these lessons to get maximum ROI from your campaigns. For a fixed monthly cost, you can hire Birch to put out amazing video content consistently each month.

Further reading

Case study : How Uber creates amazing training videos for their drivers

2 video campaigns that capture PM Narendra Modi’s foreign visits

David Ogilvy’s Guide for hiring an Ad Agency

Holiday campaign ideas to help you reconnect with your customers

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