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6 Tips for Creating Effective YouTube Ads

Effective YouTube ads

Is your business creating video ads on YouTube yet?

The popular social channel has proven to be an excellent way for businesses to get more exposure by both developing a channel and using the advertising methods they offer. Statistically, most businesses should be able to reach their target audience via YouTube.

Here are some key stats on the channel:

  • It works in 80 different languages
  • It is the second-most visited website in existence
  • 70% of millennial YouTube users watched a video to learn how to do something last year
  • YouTube mobile ads receive attention 83% of the time, compared to television ads at 45%
  • Twice as many small and medium-sized businesses are advertising on YouTube now compared with 2016

In fact, the channel has very broad appeal, from Gen Z to those over 75. This makes it an ideal channel to add to your business marketing strategy.

If you’re a regular YouTube user, you’ve probably noticed that the quality of the content varies greatly. There are some videos (and advertisements) that you’ll pause to watch while others you hasten to skip.

The problem for businesses is to be able to create effective YouTube video ads. How do you ensure yours are the ones people want to watch?

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#1. Define a problem

First of all, your advertisement needs to be centered around a clearly defined problem. This problem is something that causes pain or annoyance for your target audience, but you are able to solve.

It’s important to start with this before getting into video production because it will help you to tell a more effective story. The best examples of YouTube video ads tend to highlight just one problem that resonates with the audience and keeps them watching to find out how it can be resolved.

Poo-Pourri is a great example of a brand that has nailed YouTube video ads, with a subject that many people would otherwise find to be awkward. They have millions of views on each of their ads and all highlight the same (common) problem. Here’s one of their videos below:

#2. Build a story around the problem

One thing you’ll notice about the Poo-Pourri and other popular advertising videos is that they have mastered the art of telling an engaging story. The story is what hooks the viewer in and keeps them wanting to watch.

Human beings are wired to pay attention to a good story – it’s a device that has been used since our ancient ancestors to convey information or teach others. Studies show that when you listen to a good story, multiple areas of the brain light up in engagement.

You don’t have to follow a traditional story arc that builds up to a climax, in fact, here’s a piece of advice from Think with Google on YouTube ads:

“The traditional build-up-climax-payoff is a thing of the past, even if advertising creatives are still learning to relax the muscle memory it’s instilled. Now, viewers need to know right away why they should immerse themselves in your ad.”

Engaging the audience quickly should be your aim, rather than a slow build-up. They need something that keeps them watching from the beginning. If you want to know which ads are doing the best, YouTube helpfully produces an ads leaderboard where you can view the top videos. This is a great way to get ideas for producing your own.

Sometimes showcasing the product is the best way to guide the story. The top YouTube ad for Q2 2019 was Don’t Mess with Mother, shot on iPhone XS. It follows a fast-paced format, cutting from one wonder of nature to the next while showcasing the capabilities of the video function of the phone. For example, they have captured high-speed action, but also managed to capture and show details in slow-motion, like an owl blinking.

The most successful YouTube video ads tell a good story Click To Tweet

#3. Surprise or be unpredictable

Most ads that you see are forgettable because they’re very predictable. We’ve all seen the smiling family sitting around the breakfast table with the cereal or the child skipping through the park with the latest toy dozens of times. Coming up with new and unpredictable ways to tell the story of your product is a challenge, but it can get your ad more views.

For example, consider the humble dishwashing liquid. Most of the time, you’ll see it advertised using someone washing dishes and some kind of emphasis on “squeaky clean.” US brand Dawn took a different approach a few years ago, telling a more engaging story.

They produced a sort of mini-documentary on ducks and how human collision with their natural habitats is taking effect. One of the consequences is frequent contact of the ducks with oils spills large and small, meaning their feathers get compromised. The story ends by showing how Dawn is used to help clean the oil off the ducks and set them free again.

#4. Evoke emotion in your audience

Evoking emotion is a technique to get people more involved or engaged with your ad. If people can empathize or feel what people involved with the story might be feeling, it’s a more immersive experience for them. In fact, the areas of the brain that govern empathy light up as the viewer gets involved.

This is something to think about when you devise a story for your ad – what emotion do you primarily want to evoke? We have a wide range of emotions that can be tapped into, so one way to think about it is to consider what might inspire people to action or to simply remember your brand.

For example, you might go for humor like the Poo-Pourri videos, or you might try to tug at heartstrings a bit more. German grocery brand Edeka put together a tear-jerker ad for Christmas in 2015 that takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster. Part of the effectiveness of the story is that everyone can relate to the situation – when family are all “too busy” to come for Christmas. Google’s “Reunion” ad from a few years ago similarly evokes emotion.

#5. Inspire action

You want ROI for your advertising budget, so inspiring people to take action is essential. YouTube offers a variety of ways to add call to action buttons, depending on the type of ad you are running, so start by making use of these.

You should also consider how your story will inspire action. For example, people love to support brands that “do good.” Seeing a story like Dawn helping the ducks can be enough to inspire brand loyalty in people.

Besides supporting a cause that resonates with people, of course, you can inspire action by demonstrating very well how your product or service solves a critical problem for the audience. Someone who views the Don’t Mess with Mother iPhone ad and who has had trouble shooting quality video on a phone before, might be convinced right away that this is the phone for them.

Effective YouTube ads

#6. Use high-quality filming

You might not have a big budget for video production, but you can still produce a high-quality video with a bit of planning. Remember that people are spoilt for choice these days – they will generally opt-out of watching anything that is not of high quality.

Some things to watch include:

  • Quality of filming. You want clarity and no shakiness with the camera. It’s also ideal if you can mix up the shots a bit to keep it interesting. Using a storyboard is a great way to plan out your video to be more interesting.
  • Use of lighting. How you light your scenes can make all the difference for film quality. Consider your use of natural, available, or studio lighting.
  • Your setting or scenery. Remove any unnecessary distractions wherever possible.
  • Use of actors or hosts. Ideally, you should use people who come across well on camera and can keep people interested.
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Final thoughts

YouTube video ads can be a great way to build brand recognition and get people buying from you. The key is that you need to be able to stand out from everyone else to be effective.

The best YouTube ads hook the audience by telling a good story and telling it well. They highlight a problem the audience has, get to the point quickly and find ways to get an emotive reaction from viewers.

All of these facets don’t happen in an instant – you need to spend time planning your video ads first. This will help you to produce the best possible ad and give you a better chance of success.

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