It’s easy to see that video content is fast becoming one of the most prevalent and powerful forms of communication in the digital world.

Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with autoplay videos, user generated video content and video ads. The likes of Snapchat and its short video content has influenced the growth of stories on other platforms and YouTube is one of the biggest search engines globally, second only to Google.

But, what makes video content so powerful and how can you leverage it as part of your marketing strategy?

Telling stories to build relationships

While written and static content can describe a product or service, videos have the capacity to demonstrate it, tell the brand story and show how others respond to and engage with it.

A natural storytelling medium, video has long held a place in advertising but was traditionally reserved for substantial budgets. Enter a digital world filled with smartphones and social platforms, and video can easily become part of almost any organic and pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.

Creative marketers can easily create persuasive and engaging video ads that connect on a deeper level by inviting the audience in, educating them and leading them on a buying journey, all the while building a relationship.

Reaching audiences where they are

Digital spaces can be crowded with content and ads, and people are scrolling large amounts of copy each day. But the opportunity lies in the amount of screen time that the average person engages in on a daily basis—more than three hours on mobile devices alone.

So, its not hard to see why video advertising is a growing force for savvy marketers who want to reach target audiences and tell their story in short, sharp, shiny and captivating ways.

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Types of video ads

On all different types of websites—from social platforms, to mainstream news publications, to business sites—digital marketers are leveraging the benefits of reach and engagement through vast amounts of video content. As for video advertising, YouTube, through Google Ads, offers a range of options while social platforms offer some similar types of ads for placement in newsfeeds and stories. Let’s take a look at YouTube Ads.

Skippable instream ads play before, during or after other video content. The viewer will have the option to skip the ad after 5 seconds and the ads can appear on YouTube watch pages, partner sites and apps in the Display Network.

Cost
CPV
you are charged when a viewer watches 30 seconds of your video (or the duration if shorter) or interacts with your video.
CPM you are charged based on impressions. Skippable in-stream ads use cost-per-thousand impressions bidding, so you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times.

The non-skippable ad format is designed to help you reach customers with your entire message. Generally 15 seconds or shorter, non-skippable in-stream ads play before, during or after another video and viewers are not able to skip the ad. They can be served on YouTube, partner sites and apps on the Google Display Network.

Cost
CPM you are charged based on impressions. Non-skippable in-stream ads use cost-per-thousand impressions bidding, so you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times.

Discovery ads are strategically placed where they will be found, for example next to related YouTube videos, as part of search results and on the YouTube mobile homepage. The ad is a thumbnail image from the video with some text inviting a user to click and watch the video. The video then plays on the YouTube Watch page.

Cost
CPC you will only be charged when viewers choose to watch your ad by clicking the thumbnail.

Outstream ads are designed to increase your reach at an efficient cost. They are only served on phones and tablet devices, playing on partner websites and within apps, and are an effective way of expanding the reach of your video ads on mobile. They start playing with the sound muted and viewers must tap to unmute. One video template can be served through a variety of different mobile placements. For mobile web placements outstream ads appear in banners, while for mobile app placements they will also appear in banners, interstitials, in-feed, native, as well as in both portrait and fullscreen modes.

Cost
vCPM you are only charged based on viewable cost-per-thousand-impressions, that is when someone sees your video play for two seconds or more (and if more than half the ad screen space is shown).

Usually six seconds or shorter and non-skippable, bumper ads play before, during or after another video and are designed to help you reach more customers and increase brand awareness with short, memorable messages. Bumper ads can appear on YouTube, partner sites and apps on the Google Display Network. These types of ads are also often found on social platforms in the form of stories.

Cost
CPM
you are charged based on impressions. Bumper ads use cost-per-thousand impressions bidding, so you pay each time your ad is shown 1,000 times.

Masthead ads are native video ad formats that appear at the top of a YouTube feed on Desktop, mobile and TV screens. They are only available by reservation directly through Google (not through the Google Ads platform). Masthead ads are useful in building brand awareness for a new product, service or launch, and reaching substantial audiences in a short period of time. They work a little differently on each device.

  • Desktop
    Masthead ads will autoplay without sound for up to 30 seconds, with a mute icon to turn on audio, and can appear in widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio. When autoplay has finished, the video will default to the thumbnail and when clicked on will take the viewer to the YouTube watch page to view the video.
  • Mobile
    A mobile video masthead ad autoplays its full duration without sound at the top of the YouTube app or mobile home feed. With a thumbnail, customisable headline, description text and external call to action, when clicked a viewer will be taken to the YouTube watch page to view the full video.
  • TV
    Where supported, masthead video on TV autoplays without the sound for its full duration at the top of the YouTube TV app. Like desktop, a masthead on TV can appear in widescreen or 16:9 aspect ratio. When autoplay has finished the video defaults to the thumbnail and if it is clicked on the viewer will be taken to the watch page for the full screen video. Call to actions are not available on TV.

Cost
CPD or CPM Masthead ads are charged at cost-per-day or cost-per-thousand-impressions, however TV screens can only be booked on a CPM basis.

What’s trending

It’s no secret that digital platforms, communities, capabilities and technology are constantly evolving. So where is the future of video advertising heading?

With an abundance of content served to audiences with shorter attention spans, you’ll want to make sure your ad cuts through—and quickly. Short or micro videos should grab a viewer’s attention and leave a big impression. They don’t have to tell everything about a product or service as it’s not always a single interaction that leads to purchase, but rather a curated journey of carefully crafted messages and techniques.

It can be worth testing shorter ads that beat the skip button and serve short attention spans. This can present creative challenges, particularly when you’re creating compelling pre-roll length ads.

Sometimes referred to as native video, outstream video is characterised by an advertising unit that is integrated within a page and autoplays when the user scrolls near it. Similarly, it will auto pause before it is finished if the user scrolls away from it.

Outstream video essentially lets an advertiser host their video ad content on another site meaning they can expand their reach and effectively tailor videos for text-heavy publications.

Outstream video ads are effective at building brand awareness, driving online conversions and targeting people ready to purchase.

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat users have become accustomed to being fed autoplay video content in their newsfeeds and scrolling through live video stories—and advertisers are becoming smarter at creating video ads that fit seamlessly between these and resemble organic content.

When a user expects content from a brand they follow, it increases the chances they will quickly engage and watch the entire ad.

Facebook’s targeting capabilities will also allow you to personalise your content and drive consistent conversions.

Though user generated content has been around for some time, marketers are becoming more savvy at creating ad content that doesn’t resemble a traditional ad which increases the effectiveness and occurrence of user generated content. User generated content is something that a business can’t create—a real buyer’s experience and perspective and allows you to meld the marketing voice of your brand.

Platforms

While video ads can be run on all sorts of platforms, including smart TVs, the most common are YouTube and social networking sites Facebook and Instagram. They’re easily accessible by audiences and generally affordable for advertisers—and with their targeting capabilities, can help you reach diverse and relevant audiences.

YouTube
Second only to Google itself, YouTube is one of the largest search engines, processing more than 3 billion searches each month, and provides various options for video advertising and valuable reporting analytics.

Facebook and Instagram
Both platforms offer several video ad placements that can be created and managed from one system.

  1. Feed ads will be served in a user’s news feed.
  2. Stories ads are 15 seconds or less and are a full screen mobile experience.

Facebook also offers advertisers the opportunity to place ads as short video commercials in between another publisher’s video content and to appear in the ‘suggested videos’ section. Using Facebook’s audience network placements, advertisers can also show video ads on participating sites and mobile apps, served to uses that match targeting criteria.

Snapchat
Snapchat continues to be one of the fastest growing social platforms largely due to its video stories—the influence behind Facebook and Instagram stories. Use six second, non-skippable video ads to build brand awareness and drive Snapchatters to your website, app or full video.

Top tips

While creativity, originality and a clear understanding of your target audience will help you deliver relevant ads to the right people, there are other things that you need to consider to ensure your video ads cut through.

  • Short is sweet. With dwindling attention spans it’s important to keep it short. While some campaigns can perform well at one minute, explainers tend to do well at 30–60 seconds, but as a rule most should be kept under 30 seconds.
  • Optimise for mobile. With ever increasing amounts of traffic generating from mobile devices, optimising for mobile is essential. Videos should be short with vertical content.
  • Cut to the chase. You’ve got three seconds or less to grab the attention of your viewer so don’t pussyfoot around and get straight to the point. If you’re being charged per view you’ll also want to ensure your message is clear early so people keep watching.
  • Call to action. Every video campaign should drive a specific action. End your video with a clear and concise CTA and ensure it fits with the context of the video.
  • Closed captions. With the vast majority of videos on Facebook watched without sound, you can’t rely on your viewer to hear the audio. Closed captions will ensure they can watch your video without missing the message and that it is accessible for people who are hearing impaired.
  • Storytelling is a must. Appeal to your audience’s emotions and get them invested in your product, service or brand. Be mindful that your ad has interrupted their online experience so you’ll want to make sure they remember you—for the right reasons—long after they go back to what they were doing.

How we can help

Though video content is cost-effective to develop and implement, and readily accessible to most businesses, it doesn’t mean it should be rolled out haphazardly.

A powerful way to reach audiences, tell stories and connect on a deeper level than ever before, video campaigns should be carefully curated in messaging, type, placement and platform.

If you need some extra help and hands to get your digital strategy sorted and determine your approach to video advertising, call our friendly team for an obligation free chat. There’s no escaping video content, so you may as well embrace it and leverage the benefits.

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