6 Steps to Making Video Ads That Perform

It’s no surprise given video is an engaging and emotive way to drive connections between people and brands.

If you’re just getting started with building a video strategy, ads are the highest-impact place to start. Facebook and Google’s algorithms seem to favor video content more regularly than other content types, so using video in your ad strategy could help you see a big jump in conversions.

We know the process of pursuing a video strategy can be daunting for most small to medium-sized businesses on a budget. But, it doesn’t have to be — that’s why we created this blog! We’ll go through a few key questions that are likely to come up as you investigate video ads. Let’s dive in.

1. What type of video ad should I use?

There are many kinds of video ads to start with that will still provide your customers and prospects with valuable insight into your product or service. Here are a few favorites:

Branding video ads: these videos are typically created to showcase a company’s overall mission and vision, or product and service. They’re a great introduction and should leave the audience wanting to learn more. The goal of branding videos is to build awareness around your company, explain what you’re all about, and attract your target audience.

A great and engaging example of a 30-second video that shares a brand’s story is this video made with Waymark by the Florida-based Bolt Training:

Product or service video ad: A great supplement to an overarching branding video is a more targeted and specific product video. Create a video that highlights a product or service or even a specific feature of a product. Adventure backpack company, Brevite, knocks it out of the park with this product video template.

Video ads for sales and promotions: Everybody loves a good sale! Use a time-sensitive offer or event to draw a new audience in with a video. Include a promotional code for them to use so you can track the efficacy of the video.

Customer testimonials: Real experiences are more believable and tend to resonate better with audiences. Seeing and hearing real customers tout everything the love about your business can be hugely impactful for prospective customers.

Codecademy uses the Q&A format to craft a compelling customer testimonial video:

User-generated video content: Major brands like Airbnb and Glossier have built enormous followings by using user generated content (UGC). UGC is any content generated by the followers and fans of a brand, not the brand itself. As a video advertising strategy, it encourages the development of brand advocates and helps you build your audience through authentic, human content.

In fact, 76% of respondents in an AdWeek survey said that they find user generated content more influential than content created by the brand directly. If you’re working with influencers who’ve posted about you, you can promote their video directly on Facebook for added authenticity.

2. What ad length and ad format makes sense for my video?

camera on tripod

Figuring out how long to make your video ad goes hand in hand with deciding what ad format and placement make the most sense for you.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you running TrueView or pre-roll ads on YouTube?
  • Instagram stories, or IG TV video ads?
  • Ads in your Facebook feed?

Short and sweet is often the most effective. Videos over 60 seconds work best for people-focused storytelling. But what’s most important is that the ad length makes sense for your chosen ad format and platform. Be sure to read up on the best practices and guidelines of the platform you’re advertising on before you start creating your video.

Getting into sub 15 and 6-second videos can be daunting. Think With Google (Google’s marketing insights and research platform) encourages 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 buzz with these shorter ad spots.

Tip: Shorter ads also work well as a teaser to a longer-form story.

3. What should my video ads say?

The key to creating a compelling video ad or commercial is to make sure you tell a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Good video ads feature a story arc regardless of length and connect with viewers on a personal level. Take viewers on a journey that arrives at a place where your business solves a problem for them or addresses a need.

Avoid sounding sales-y

Everybody wants to be sold on something, but nobody likes a salesperson. Try to avoid strict sales messaging and passive words. Focus instead on authenticity and making sure your script sounds like you — your video should represent the ethos of your brand.

Tip: Be sure to include a direct call to action as well, so potential customers know how they can continue to engage with your brand.

4. How do I make a video ad?

Video ads

There are many ways to make a video ad. You can become a creator and produce clips on your own. You can hire an outside agency to produce your video ads. Or, you can use an online video maker like Waymark to speed the process up by starting from a professional template and using their online editing tools.

Each option has strengths and weaknesses.

Self-produced videos

Producing video on your own can be fun and fairly quick to do; however, not everyone has the skills to capture quality video, edit, and finish it in the right specs for distribution. Not to mention video equipment, professional-grade design programs, and editing software can cost a pretty penny!

Working with an agency

Outside agencies can ensure a certain level of quality and professionalism. But, costs can be high, and turnaround times can be pretty lengthy. Also, your timelines and the production schedule of your preferred agency might not align. Depending on your brand, a more authentic homemade video shot on your iPhone may even be more compelling than an agency ad anyway.

Using a video maker

We’d recommend checking out the self-serve video creation option, which is often a perfect middle-ground for budget-conscious organizations looking for speed, quality, and ease in their video production process.

5. What makes a good video ad?

video shoot set

These days, most people can just pick up a phone and capture 4K HD video at the touch of a button. However, better technology can’t fix poor composition, editing, coloring, lighting, scripting, placement, etc.

We wouldn’t recommend cobbling together generic video clips (whether pulled from a licensed online source or filmed on your own). 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 resources, relying on a professional or video solution that considers these factors will make for the best outcome.

Focus on quality

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.

In this groundbreaking campaign for Canon from Copenhagen’s agency Uncle Grey,  Canon enlisted social media influencers to take more than 327,000 high-quality photos of small businesses across Scandinavia.

The photos were posted to Google’s Local Guides platform, and 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 — all that to say, quality and design matters. Take the extra time on quality photography, animation, and video production. It’ll be worth it!

Tip: A great video ad is also one that looks at home on the platform it’s on — we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to familiarize yourself with the expectations of viewers on your ad channel of choice before you get started.

6. How do I get people to see my video ad?

woman watching video ad

A video ad can be beautiful and represent your business perfectly, but if no one sees it, it’s not going to drive a return on investment for you. So, deciding when and where to promote your video is important to think about.

Meet your customers where they are

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, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Your company size, budget, target audience, and customer habits should influence where and how your video advertising dollars are spent, and your overall approach to distribution.

On most platforms, there are both organic and paid avenues. With the maturation of digital video advertising over the past 10 years, organic channels are difficult to rely on.

We’d recommend testing across different platforms with smaller budgets to figure out what combination of them will work for you. Facebook can be a great way to drive conversion as you get started with video advertising, but as you scale you should look to supplement your Facebook advertising with other channels.

Produce regular content

Beyond distribution, getting ahead of your video marketing needs is also a good idea. Something as simple as a basic content calendar will help you understand how many videos you’ll need to produce on a monthly, quarterly, or even annual basis.

Some businesses distribute a couple of unique ads per month. But, as you begin to tell more elaborate stories and test your video ads, you’ll likely need more.

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 will make an impact on your business.

Everyone has the potential to create great video. At the end of the day, it comes down to your audience and your message.  If you are telling something in a compelling way, people will listen!

About the author

Waymark is making it radically simple for you to make your own video ads. Their goal is to democratize access to great creative for small businesses, using their premium video templates and easy-to-use editing tools. Head to Waymark.com to make a video ad in minutes.

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