Top 7 Video Trends that Ensure High User Engagement
As soon as he got in the morning, Matt was greeted by a nasty client email saying how disappointed they are by video ad performance for their latest campaign. Ouch! What a way to start a Friday morning. Working for a large healthy living publisher he had a fair share of emails like these, but those are the ones you never get used to. The client was asking for inputs on how to improve the performance, otherwise they’ll pull the plug on the campaign. Truth be told, the video made up for 60% of the campaign budget so it made sense for them to do it. They also mentioned they’re recording much better results with other publishers. “I just don't get it” Matt mumbled to himself. They weren’t doing anything different from what other advertisers did in the past.
Clueless on what to do, Matt reached out to his external campaign management team for their take on the issue. After about 45 minutes, his fears became a reality – the team confirmed that the video ads weren’t so different from what other, successful campaigns did in the past. However, they also attached a Word document with the latest creative suggestions called “Top 7 Video Trends that Ensure High User Engagement” that were supposed to make all the troubles go away. The body of the email said, “Just send the attached document to the client and worry no more”. Knowing they had a lot of experience with other large publishers, he was fairly confident in their judgement but couldn’t resist opening the document and seeing for himself if that indeed is a solution to his nightmares. The document read:Talk about the Things Viewers Are Interested in, not the Things You Feel Like They Should Know
We all love our products and know every single thing about them. They're our babies, our passion, and, of course, our source of income. If everyone knew all the features our product offers, surely they would buy it, right? Wrong! At the end of the day, no one really cares what technology makes your PC so fast, or how power efficient is your fridge. They care about not wasting time on never-ending loading screens or their hard-earned money on ever-stacking, expensive power bills. Talk about the solution to the problem, the experience, the ease of use. Make sure to use human emotion to make your video ads more likeable and relatable. The "Palau Pledge" video, winner of 3 grand prix and a total of 7 prizes at the 2018 Cannes Lions festival, demonstrated the importance of human emotion and likeability when trying to sell a tough idea or product. Creating lasting experiences rather than feature videos.
Keep it Short – Like This Paragraph
You know that story about how video ads shouldn’t be longer than 30 or even 15 seconds? Well, that almost seems like a story our grandparents used to tell us. A Microsoft Attention Spans (2015) study in Canada concluded that the average attention span is 8 seconds. You read it right, 8! This doesn’t mean your video ad should be limited to 8 seconds, but those are the crucial ones. Better make it count!
Let your Audience Generate the Content
Users love to see other users – the “regular” people. So why don’t you use this? Create a fun campaign encouraging your followers to record a video clip including your product and, later, combine these clips into a video ad. They’ll want to see it and share it with their friends and families. They’ll actually help you spread the word about your product. Isn’t that awesome? Alternatively, you can include user testimonials in your video ad. Just make sure they’re addressing the issues your product solves in a precise and clear voice.
Production Quality is a Must
Now that you laid down the script it’s time to get to work. A well-produced video campaign will certainly make an impact. However, it can’t match the impact a badly-produced one can make. Even the greatest ideas can drown in the sea of low-quality visuals, bad audio mixing, and lifeless voice acting. Video quality, among other things, show how much you, as a company, care about your viewers. Sure, you came up with the video ad idea and have a perfectly clear vision of how it should look like, but that doesn’t mean you should produce it yourself. Remember, there’s always someone who’s completely dedicated to video production and whose years of experience in the field will make your hardest efforts look amateurish. Well, why don’t you just hire them, and save your time and, more importantly, your product from the avalanche of bad opinions, all because of a “trivial technicality” such as an incorrect framerate?
It’s time to take it one step further. Rich media platforms like Sizmek, Celtra or Jetpack offer endless possibilities for user interactivity. This means that it’s time to bridge the gap between users being passive observers and allowing them to take a more active role. Imagine your ad being a 360-degree video with users being able to navigate it. Or, have them take a quiz at the end of the video to score points and test their knowledge of your product. They’ll memorize your product, have some fun, and, potentially, share their experience with their friends. Your audience doesn’t deserve a sterile, uneventful pre-roll, they deserve something new and fresh. Show them you care.
Don’t Mess Up the Delivery
Always make sure to reach your audience through a channel that’s natural to them. Carefully choose the time to deliver your message. Dig into the numbers and identify what worked in the past. Weekends? Thursday nights? Make sure to reach them in a way that’s different from what they usually see. Take a look at what a PC game development company CD Project Red did at this year’s E3 event. The whole world is talking about it weeks after the event. And it’s not about the video, it’s about the way it was delivered. Get creative!
Plan B - Influencers over Brand Content
In case everything else fails, you can always reach out to the puppet masters of everyone’s way of thinking. In the era of YouTube video reviews and Twitch live streaming it’s safe to say that users trust other users, now more than ever. We’ve heard it all before - social media influencers gather massive followings ready to buy or boycott any product at the snap of their fingers. They shape opinions of their fan base in a way that makes traditional advertising seem meaningless. So why aren’t you collaborating yet? YouTube videos are a perfect avenue for influencer created branded content (Forbes 2018). They’ll speak to your audience in a familiar voice they trust which is much more valuable than any number of high-quality product close-ups. Your most successful pre-roll might not be a pre-roll at all, but actually, some “random guy from the internet” talking about your product in his bedroom.
“Wow, they’ve really outdone themselves this time!” he thought to himself. The client was happy to follow the suggestions as well and came back to him with a fresh new video in a little bit over a week. They couldn’t wait to see how this one performs.
Fast forward one month, Matt received a response to the monthly campaign results email he sent last night. After a deep sigh he double-clicked the email. He was in shock to read that the client was praising his expertise and even considering increasing the budget for next year. “Is this even the same client or merely an imposter setting a trap for me to fall into?” he jokingly whispered to himself. Even though coming up with video creative ideas wasn’t exactly the description of his job, the client appreciated the input, especially since it resulted in such sweet performance. It’s nice to have a team of experts in your pocket for whenever you’re in a pickle and Matt’s team was the best! It was a good day.
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