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3 ways to give your video ads more sparkle this season

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High shopper demand has made for an especially competitive Christmas this year, with brands using video as the glitter gun in their festive campaigns to capture optimum audience attention. Despite the rising price of video ads, smart video creative will be crucial to ensure adverts hit their mark and investment brings brands their holiday rewards.

Social media and online video spend has eclipsed static display,  and rising interest in video’s  attention-grabbing and emotive characteristics has driven spiralling spend; due to hit £49 billion by the end of 2021.  But marketers will need to swallow the rising cost of the format, with media inflation driving costs to highs of +7%. .

Brands hoping to harness hyper-charged, shopping enthusiasm will need to craft messages carefully. Understanding precisely why ads work is valuable and knowing which specific creative elements drive the best results will give advertisers a sharper seasonal edge.

Here are three key factors for optimising video sparkle:

1. Size matters: find what fits your needs

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Finding the right video length is an ever-evolving, subjective quest. YouTube had previously found that ads of 30 seconds and over were skipped less and resulted in higher brand favourability. Magna Global conversely discovered that consumers' increased familiarity of social platforms like TikTok, which standardised shorter-from videos, this meant that 6-second clips were now equally persuasive as their longer-form counterparts. 

A recent boom in video consumption — topping five hours per day in 2020 — shows how the pandemic’s impact on browsing habits has regenerated a preference towards longer-form ads. However our own research — from analysis across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger last holiday season — showed 1-5 second cuts were more effective, driving a 167% higher purchase rate than the overall video average and outshining the lowest performing duration of 16 seconds by 700%. 

While longer form content might be popular again because of the pandemic, what marketers need to be placing more priority on is the objective or KPI they want to achieve higher performance against, such as Purchase Rate or View Through, and then optimising for this. They should be aware that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work, and different metrics might return different results depending on length.

While eCommerce trends have continued to shift, constantly rising engagement with social video platforms makes catering for bite-sized tastes equally vital this year. As well as using fast recognition basics such as brand logos, marketers must ensure video messaging is prompt and concise to get to the main message quickly; instead of covering every product detail and feature.

Although meaningful stories may matter for brand awareness, delivering streamlined ads focused on what target audiences want is essential to boosting buys and engagement from rapid-scrolling shoppers.

2. Making copy count: engagement goes beyond visuals

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Consumers aren’t alone in their aim to raise the spending bar in 2021, with ad budgets on track to reach a new quarterly record and expand by almost £1 billion; marketers will need smart planning rooted in a precise understanding of how to optimise their assets to maximise video return in line with their specific KPI’s. Although the format holds great potential to drive results at multiple points throughout the consumer journey, hitting objectives calls for calculated creative deployment.

For instance, the successful use of text to increase purchasing fluctuates significantly at varied stages throughout a video ad. If strategically placed in the first frame, VidMob’s assessment illustrates that it drives three times more sales for festive campaigns than when appearing after the initial three seconds.

For the 77% of marketers striving to accelerate their lower funnel gains, this means displaying copy immediately is a sure-fire way to improve video’s purchase-enhancing capacity.

For those centred on content engagement measures, using text from the very start limits effectiveness, capping uplift at 11.7%. But delaying placement to the opening few seconds enables marketers to send viewing levels soaring by 17.1%. In other words, applying text promptly but not upfront increases the chances of full ad views and the awareness they bring.

3. Driving fast action: the enduring value of CTAs

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Once a staple of any campaign, the traditional call-to-action (CTA) has lost its popularity as marketers have turned their attention to encouraging interaction via personal connection. Yet the CTA has enduring benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked.  If wording is chosen wisely, there is plenty of scope to strike a powerful chord with audiences, allowing advertisers to spark speedy responses, including sales.

Our evaluation indicated the key is in the nuances, and simply swapping “shop” for “get” in CTAs improved purchase rates by 53%. In a climate where emphasis on value is stronger than ever, that may not be surprising — particularly with value for money and quality listed as top purchase motivators, above convenience and brand.

Highlighting what seasonal offers and promotions provide for consumers, rather than defaulting to urgent “buy it now” messaging, stimulated more interest and inclination to spend, in line with the importance placed on value by consumers.

This year, consumers have already seen the usual golden quarter super-sized campaigns, but the digital media landscape isn’t quite the same as it was. Unprecedented challenges and disruption have left their mark on consumers, pushing up demand for instant gratification and clarity, while elevating focus on real value.

Sprinkling extra sparkle on video ads is going to mean making creative adjustments to align with the new video landscape and delivering the gift of resonant messages that work for everyone.

By Enno Jönsson, Head of Ecommerce & Retail EMEA, VidMob 

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