6 Tips to Make a Better Online Video Ad

Daan van der Wiele

Daan van der Wiele

Head of Marketing and Product

A picture says more than a thousand words, so how much would a 10 second video contain? 

Video is a powerful tool to communicate a message, it can contain sound, text and moving images, perfect for telling a story and engaging a viewer. Therefore we decided to make a quick guide on how to create a better online video advertisement with 6 easy steps.  

1. Be aware of viewing Duration

How do online video ads differ from traditional TV commercial advertising? Ad testing revealed that digital ads have a much shorter viewing duration. Viewers are situated in an online environment and can decide to click on something else. Additionally, online video ads, like the ones on YouTube, are frequently skippable. Consequently, the majority of people will only see the first few seconds. 

It means that we need to structure the online video ad in a way that reduces the impact of the short viewing duration. Replicating TV commercials that mostly show the brand at the end would be inadequate. Online video needs a different approach to brand exposure. 

The solution is to have a brand identifier in the first few seconds of the video, this way it has the highest chance of being seen by viewers.

Some might say that by showing the brand at the start, the viewers will know that they are watching an advertisement, however, we believe that viewers will already know that they are watching an advertisement in the first place based on the context. Moreover, if we take neuro principles about memory into account, it makes sense to show the brand early, more on this in the next step.

2. Activate the Brain's Memory

The brain has several areas where it can store information. When the brain absorbs new information, it will store the information temporarily in the hippocampus. It stores in an unorganized manner since you do not have the time to systematically organize all new information. Only over time will some of the information be integrated into the structured environment of the neocortex. We want to ensure that the information we provide through online video ads survives and moves on. 

So far so good, right? Sadly, no. Not all the information in the hippocampus will progress to the neocortex; a significant amount of information will end up in the trash. So, what determines this selection? Here are the principles that cause long term storage:

  • Repetition
The more times you see something, the higher the chance of it being stored long term. Think of all the irrelevant information you know from top to bottom because it was repeated over and over again. 

A perfect example is Nespresso, it produced countless commercials with George Clooney over the years, reproducing the same look, feel, sound and of course slogan. It’s very probable you remember the slogan: Nespresso, what else? 

  • Emotion
If there’s a strong emotion connected to the message, and a viewer can relate to this emotion because they have experienced it themselves, it will be remembered. Things that cause emotion hold significant value to us as people. 

Case in point, Dove created a very successful campaign that managed to play to our emotions based on self perception. It manages to tie acceptance, self-worth and positivity to their brand by showing how women mistakenly undervalue themselves.  

  • How new information relates to current knowledge
If the new information relates to our current knowledge, it will stick. For example, if communication about a brand has been consistent and you add a slightly new piece of information to that familiar message, then people will know where this information belongs because it relates. It will be stored long term because we know where to place it. 

3. Build the Brand

The majority of online ads are short term and sales driven, it makes sense because in an online environment we can guide customers to a purchasing page. However, brand building over a longer term is possibly even more important. What happens when you build your brand from a neuro perspective, is that it starts creating associative memory networks in the brain, these help retain information more easily and efficiently. 

So for the purpose of brand building, all advertising efforts need to be consistent. Sometimes there is a noticeable difference in the message between different types of ads from the same brand. It means the message is not consistent and the brain will not recognize it as the same brand. And thus those crucial associative memory networks will not be built. 

4. Test the Visual Attention

Ensuring the brand will be seen by the viewers will achieve success long term. If people know the brand from the ad, they can link it to the advertised product or service and then know where to find it in the future. The tricky thing is designing your video in such a way that enough visual attention is put on your brand. 

Ad testing shows that the inclusion of a brand is fruitless if no thought is given to the context. A lot of factors in a scene can distract from your brand building message. In order to communicate the brand effectively you need to know if the viewer will actually see the brand within the video context. 

You could use eye tracking glasses to figure out where people might look. But even better is testing with a visual attention prediction platform like expoze.io. This method will be quicker, cheaper and more reliable; it will show how much visual attention the brand will receive. Sign up for a free account to try it out.

5. Differentiate between Channels

Make sure your online video advertisement is slightly different to the content of your other marketing channels, but stays consistent with the overall brand message. This differentiation should play to the strengths of that particular platform. Online video offers the possibility of personalization based on: gender, age, interests, viewing history and more, it’s an advantage over other platforms. A more relevant and personalized ad allows viewers to relate, like and remember the information. 

6. YouTube Ad testing

The biggest website in the world after the Google search engine is YouTube. It's the place for video advertising. However, no specific ad testing method exists for YouTube, so how do you know if your ad will perform or which version of your ad is the best? 

To help improve ads for YouTube, we developed Junbi.ai, a platform that pre tests advertisements on 3 crucial metrics and instantly determines the overall effectiveness. 

By ad testing based on neuromarketing principles and data, we can get a grasp of the potential of an advertisement before it will be released so improvements can be made beforehand. Created by data experts and Neuroscientists at Alpha.One in collaboration with Google, Junbi.ai is one of the only ad optimisation platforms built exclusively for YouTube ads.

There you have it. Six ways of making a better online video ad. Liked this list? You might also like our article about how to test and improve other online promotions, such as social media ads or display ads.

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