If you prefer the short and sweet version of blogs, here’s the most important thing you need to know: video ads need to be short, attention-grabbing and get the primary point across in the first three to five seconds. Seem impossible? It’s not. But it does mean reframing some antiquated best practices and remembering to put the consumer first when writing ads.
The stats don’t lie. People want video and they want to know right away if this video is relevant to them. In 2020 Microsoft found that people generally lose concentration in eight seconds (down from 12 seconds in 2021.). That’s one second less than a goldfish’s attention span. And according to HubSpot, over 50% of consumers want to see more video from the brands they follow.
By cross referencing these two pieces of data (and many other data points), we can come to a very straightforward conclusion: nearly all companies would benefit from more organic and paid video content. The marketing industry as a whole seems to agree with predictions that by 2023, 83% of the world’s internet traffic will be video.
So what are the best practices you should follow when creating video ads and organic video content? We’re glad you asked.
Know your customer and lead with the kicker
Instead of “building up” to the big hook at the end, you need to lead with the most important selling point…and then back up that claim in a way that’s consistent with target buyer preferences. That means defining the value propositions of your service or product in short statements. That’s the priority. Only then should you focus on understanding if your buyer wants to be entertained, educated or inspired with the rest of your video. Often, this means doing three to five executions of an ad on a single value prop to see which ones resonate with customers based on overall engagement rates.
For example, in a recent social media ad for Allbirds weatherproof running shoes, the first three seconds is a shot of a running shoe stepping into a puddle with text on screen that says “Allbirds are fully waterproof.” Even if you keep scrolling, in those three seconds, you learn a lot about these shoes and what they offer.
Allbirds also has video ads touting the sustainability of their shoes, the various style options and their company’s core values — all presented in the first three seconds. As you see more of these ads, you may even catch yourself watching them longer as they build their case as to why you should choose their shoes. And the tone? Clean, light and friendly, but factual. It’s perfect fit for someone who may already be interested in their product and as a way to attract new followers. This illustrates why it’s important to know your audience and hit them with the info they need right away.
Don’t rely on audio
Even though our attention span is eight seconds, when we are scrolling social media, it may be even shorter. It turns out that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. So if your targets use Facebook, you need to have subtitles or onscreen text to help tell the story. How many times do you really stop in your feed and click the volume icon to unmute?
Don’t make people guess what you are trying to tell them or assume your content is important enough for them to slow down and watch intensely. It simply isn’t. You have to make your point quickly, clearly and concisely. If all of your important content is told through audio, you should assume that most of your audience is missing the point completely.
As marketers, we need to move the big hook (the key value) to the front of the video, then use imagery and text to drive it home. And, that benefit needs to be spelled out as clearly and concisely as possible. You’ve got three seconds, make them count. Ready to start using video more effectively for your products and services? Start here.