This is a guest post written by Diaz Nesamoney, CEO of Jivox
Online video advertising is growing at a faster rate than any other type of interactive marketing. And that's because video advertising works, generating twice the clickthrough rate of banner ads, according to eMarketer. That level of effectiveness is why spending on online video advertising will surge from under $1B in 2007 to over $5B in 2011.
Though high-profile, slickly produced videos ads from the world's largest brands are getting most of the attention, millions of smaller advertisers are beginning to use simple online video ads, tagged and indexed for search engine pickup, to connect with local audiences. In fact, local video advertising is so effective that local advertisers plan to spend 35% of their annual ad budgets on online video by 2012, according to Borrell Associates.
But how can smaller companies create the most effective video ads on a budget? There are a host of do-it-yourself Web services cropping up that allow advertisers to create and place simple video ads inexpensively. But just because these services claim to make video ad creation easy doesn't mean creating a successful ad takes no thought. By following a few simple strategies, though, you can create an eye-popping video ad that generates clicks – and hopefully sales.
So whether you're a new advertiser looking to get started, or a marketing agency coaching your clients on best practices in video advertising, here are some tips we've found useful in helping advertisers create the most effective video ads:
Define your goals. What is the purpose of this communication? To build your brand? Get people into your store or restaurant? Define your objective and then revisit it after your ad is done to see if the video achieves your goal.
Less is more. Simple, concise ads work best online for two reasons: viewers don't want to read large volumes of text on their computer screen; and the online environment in which your ad will appear will already have a lot going on visually - to stand out, your ad needs to do the opposite. But don't forget to use text to state your company name clearly!
Get to the point. Research shows that people decide if they want to read more about a topic on a website in 8 seconds or less. Ads that contain specific, immediate benefits, such as a promotion or discount, resonate strongly (and for lesser known brands, this is even more important). Imagine you're in an elevator with a prospective customer and you only have the time it takes to go up two floors to tell them about your product. Be clear and concise.
Text tactics. If you have a lot of text, you may need to vary the size of the type to allow it to fit into the ad space. If so, we recommend no more than two type sizes in one ad, with the largest type size on top. Also, never use more than two fonts. (And do we even need to tell you how irritated people get when you over-use capital letters?)
Vital visuals. The visuals in a video ad should not only be eye catching, they should communicate a relevant message. Remember, clean, simple graphics are more likely to catch the eye of the viewer – an important first step toward clickthrough and purchase.
Know your audience. Online offers the ability to measure and define an audience through targeting and Web analytics technologies. Work with an online ad service that offers targeting to place your ad. The more specific you can be in your ad for each predetermined audience, the greater the chance it will resonate with the prospect – greatly increasing the odds they will respond. Also, make sure to offer viewers a call-to-action at the end of the ad (“Click here to learn more” or “stop by our store”).
Reach the most people. Once you've created your video ad, you now have to place it on the sites with the highest quality audiences. There are a few options here. One option is to use an all-in-one ad creation and placement service, which will enable you to create or customize your video ad with text, music etc. and place your finished ad on their video ad network. Alternatively, you can contact a standalone video ad network to place your ad; rates will vary depending on the size, quality and targeting of the audience you select. You can also work directly with Web publishers who sell video ad inventory, though that is the most complicated scenario, as you'll have to research each individual site to find out about their reach, audience and rates.
Test and re-test. Video is such a flexible medium, it pays to experiment with different creative, formats and messages to find the combination that works the best. Set aside a portion of your budget to test different approaches so you can see how response rates fluctuate when you change the visuals, call-to-action, price points or add a promotional offer.
Video advertising isn't rocket science, but it's a new medium few advertisers have yet to figure out completely. Have fun with your campaigns, test them to find out if they are working and make sure they get seen by the widest audience possible. If you do all of those things, you're on your way to video advertising success.
About the author: Diaz Nesamoney is founder and CEO of Jivox, a self-service online video ad platform for local businesses. Before founding Jivox, he founded Celequest, raised over $20M in venture capital, and served as its CEO until early 2007, when the company was acquired by Cognos. He was previously co-founder, president and COO of Informatica, which he took from a startup to a publicly traded company in 1999 with a market capitalization of over $1 billion. Diaz is a trustee of the American India Foundation, a leading international development organization charged with the mission of accelerating social and economic change in India. He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science in India.