How to Create Effective Digital Video Ads
By Ben Larrison Sep 9 2021 Blog

How to Create Effective Digital Video Ads

These days, there’s no escaping digital video.

US adults spend nearly two and a half hours per day viewing digital video, and that number is only going to grow in the years ahead. There’s even a decent chance that before, after, or possibly even while you read this blog post, you will find yourself watching some digital video (like, say, this one of a turtle eating a strawberry).

For advertisers, this voraciousness for video represents an incredible opportunity to reach audiences in the form of digital video ads. To help you on your journey, here are some useful digital video-related facts and tips for creating effective ads:

What Are In-Stream Video Ads?

In-stream video ads are ads that run before, during, or after other video content (aka pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll). Think of them as the digital video equivalent of a TV commercial.

What Are In-Banner Video Ads?

As you might guess from the name, in-banner video ads are digital video advertisements that play “within” a banner advertisement. You might see one at the top of a webpage, in the middle of an article, or on a sidebar.

How Long is a Typical In-Stream Video Ad?

Typically, an in-stream video ad is either 15 or 30 seconds, with 15 seconds the oft-recommended length. However, there is some flexibility depending on the channel— we’ve seen successful ads that are as short as five seconds and as long as several minutes.

Where Can I Place a Digital Video Ad?

Honestly, at this point, it’s probably more practical to ask where you can’t place a digital video ad (inside a medical textbook, maybe?) Digital video ads are widely used on streaming video platforms like YouTube and Hulu, social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, gaming and streaming audio platforms like Twitch or Pandora, news and information sites, and seemingly everywhere in between. In short, if a website has video content, it almost certainly has the ability to show digital video advertisements.

Tips for Creating Effective Digital Video Ads

Want to create ads that will appeal to and engage digital video viewers? Here are five tips to inform and inspire:

Tip #1: Grab Their Attention Early

According to both YouTube and Facebook, among others, it’s absolutely critical to grab a viewer’s attention in the first five seconds of an ad—before they either tune out or skip the remainder of the advertisement. This is especially important for mobile users and younger audiences (who, incidentally, are often one and the same.) Think of it as the new “five second rule”—only instead of determining the safety of food that you should probably just throw away because the floor is covered in pet hair, it’s about determining the effectiveness of digital video advertising.

Tip #2: Show, Don’t Tell

Video is a unique medium in its ability to quite literally show someone your product, service and/or organization in action. Don’t let that opportunity go to waste! After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words, and 4K video captures 60 frames per second…well, you get the idea.

One thing you absolutely need to show? Your brand name/logo. This is particularly important in coordination with tip #1: a Facebook study found that consumers were 23% more likely to remember which brand made a given video ad if the brand was featured in the first three seconds of that ad. So don’t be modest: give yourself an early shoutout!

Tip #3 Don’t Forget Mobile!

Remember: your ad has to work and feel native on any device, so keep mobile users in mind when developing your video. Additionally, mobile users are likely to have their sound off if they come across your ad on many platforms—particularly social media—so make sure the ad is compelling and that the core message still “translates,” regardless of whether the audio is on.

Tip #4: Respect Your Surroundings

When making a digital video ad, be sure to take the channel/platform into account for that particular cut of the video. Your ad should ideally match the “vibe” of a specific channel, with the video feeling native to that platform, while staying mindful of what likely brought a viewer there in the first place. For example, a video ad that shows up in the middle of a Facebook feed should feel a little different to, say, one running in the middle of a bingeable show on Hulu.

Tip #5: Know Your Audience

Lastly, before you advertise anywhere—be it with digital video or otherwise—take the time to get to know your audience as much as you can, and then take advantage of any platform-based targeting at your disposal to better reach them.

And it’s a digital video, after all, so be sure to use the digital CTAs at your disposal to send viewers directly to your website or app of choice.

Video Unleashed

Want to dig deeper? Download our Video Unleashed guide to see tips for how to run a strategic video campaign, gain more digital video advertising insights, and a whole lot more.