By 2021, video is predicted to account for 82% of all web traffic. So, if you haven’t already thought about adding YouTube advertising to your digital marketing portfolio, consider this a warning!

If you’re running video ads already or just starting to venture into the world of YouTube, you probably have an idea that the platform provides a unique touchpoint across the digital marketing funnel in terms of the targeting methods available and the purchase-intent level of your audience.

But given the passive nature of video advertising, no matter how sophisticated your targeting methods may be, the actual video ad you serve must be captivating enough to engage the viewer. According to Google and the Advertising Research Foundation, roughly 50 to 70 percent of a video campaign’s ROI is driven from creative alone.

With that in mind, I’ve highlighted below some of the most important aspects of video creative, and how to tie it all together to create the most compelling (and effective) ads.

Length

With skippable ads, YouTube gives us virtually no limit on how long a video ad can be. Great, right? Not so fast…

First, consider the intent of your campaign strategy. Shorter videos are a great way to deliver a quick and poignant message but can prove difficult to convey your story completely. Longer videos give you ample time to tell everything about your brand but offer the viewer more reason to skip your ad to get to the content they really came to watch. And the more engaging (read: entertaining) your content is – see storytelling section below – generally the more freedom you have in length, with less risk of skips.

That said, as a general guideline, you’ll find the best results with videos that are just 15 to 60 seconds long.

Platform

At virtually all hours of the day, we are staring at a screen, often the five-inch one in our pockets. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that video consumption is no different – 60% of all YouTube traffic comes from mobile. Considering this, there are a few things to keep in mind when creating content that will be viewed predominantly on mobile.

With a smaller screen, utilize tighter framing and less background to ensure the viewer is fully engaged in the most important aspects of the video. This includes text and graphics. And with increasingly shortening attention spans, use a faster tempo in your storyline progression and scene changes to keep the viewer engaged.

Storytelling [ABCD]

When designing ad creative, you can follow Google’s framework of four elements – it’s as easy as ABC(D).

Attract/Brand

Since most YouTube ad formats available allow viewers to skip an ad after the first five seconds, it is critical to offer a compelling hook to keep their attention on the screen, before they get their cursor (or finger) hovering over the “skip ad” button. Along with a captive hook, it is equally important to present your brand name (and logo) in those first five seconds. This way, even if the viewer skips your ad, you’ve at least gotten a free brand impression out of the exchange.

Present the problem your brand, product, or ad solves, immediately followed by how you can solve that problem. “Digital advertising is an evolving and complex landscape. Metric Theory, with a team of highly specialized marketers, is dedicated to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and delivering exceptional, performance-based results for your business.”

Also, when it comes to branding, try to place your logo naturally – on a storefront, within a product interface, etc. – as opposed to just overlaying the logo anywhere on screen.

Connect

Your audience is on YouTube to consume content other than ads, often for entertainment purposes. If it fits your brand or message, consider using a humorous tone. If humor doesn’t fit, use suspense or an emotional appeal to connect with the viewer.

Direct

As marketers, we need some sort of performance to justify ad spend, so we need to leave viewers with a reasonable means to convert. Be clear with what you want them to do – buy your product, sign up for a free trial, or contact your sales team for more info – and tell them exactly how to do it. Whether that is with a CTA overlay on a TrueView for Action ad, or an address to your website, make it easy for the viewer to take the next step.

Wherever you are in your journey of advertising on YouTube, don’t forget the basics. And if all of this still sounds a little daunting, reach out to Metric Theory for a free account analysis!