Last week we shared a list of 4 ways to make the best video ads. This week, we flip the script, and offer 4 deadly mistakes many make in digital video advertising. As important as good advice is, if your good advice and bad advice are all mixed up, all the advice might as well be bad. To start off on the right foot, begin with our article from last week, and then combine that good advice with this list of potential pitfalls video advertisers face.
1. Too Long
Envision yourself watching a video on Youtube, Facebook, or Instagram. As you might expect, an advertisement pops up before your chosen clip plays. Assuming there’s a skip button, how short, and interesting, would the ad need to be for you to choose to finish it, rather than skip? The answer is mixed, based on the purpose of the ad, but a good rule of thumb is that shorter is better. Avoid making the video drag on so long that the potential customer or client simply chooses to ignore it or, even worse, becomes annoyed.
Always remember your audience and your brand. If your brand does not have the reputation of an Old Spice or a Wendy’s, or your audience would not appreciate such branding styles, then don’t try to copy their strategies. Be self-aware, and know your market. If you’re not funny, don’t try to be. If you are funny, avoid being too serious unless necessary. Be clear, concise, on brand, and effective. You want people to know who the ad is coming from, ideally, quite quickly.
3. Too Ambitious
Putting all of your eggs in one basket is never a good idea, especially in advertising. A video ad can only do so much, particularly if your product or service is not the type to go viral. While a Harmon Brothers style video can do a lot for a business, sometimes the cost of such efforts are not worth the pay out. Again, this is about being self-aware. If your business does not lend itself to big expensive single gestures of advertising, then don’t invest in such gestures. Some businesses benefit greatly from such advertisements (like Dollar Shave Club, or Squatty Potty), but unless you’re confident of that being the case, or have a low-cost method for accomplishing similar results, then its best to approach such a decision with eyes wide open.
The cardinal sin of advertising is leaving the customer confused. If your new customer comes away either unsure of what the product/service is, what the company is, or what they ought to do as a result of the ad, then the ad failed. In the current world of short splashy videos, and “hot takes,” this particular issue can sink even the most sturdy company’s advertising efforts. While gimmicks are always going to be essential in drawing new customers in, to some extent, in the absence of clear messaging everything else is ultimately pointless. Be clear about who you are, what you do, and what you want, and you’re already off to a good start in creating an effective video ad.
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