If you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur and running YouTube ads, you may not be achieving all that you can from them. I’m going to show you how to get optimal results once you dive into the creative side of the campaign.
I’m going to share my exact strategy for improving YouTube ads for those clients who want to scale their campaigns.
In this blog:
Explore Creative Experimentation Opportunities.
Google Creative Fundamentals
Video Creative Tools and Resources
Exploring Creative Experimentation Opportunities
Consumer attention has evolved tremendously over the last decade. Customers consume on a different level today. Building up to the ad message doesn’t make sense anymore. I believe in starting strong and including the hills and valleys that keep users engaged the entire time. Many believe that consumers prefer bumper ads or short ads. On the other hand, some say an extended video ad brings a higher ticket because it’s more compelling – either can work. It depends on the audience.
Understand the customer.
Here is an example of using visual language. This is the first opportunity to connect with customers. It's a KitKat commercial that shows several closeup scenes of the chocolate bar being made. The chocolate is being drizzled over the hazelnut and poured over wafers.
The framing is tight on these images
In the beginning of the ad, there are closeup shots of the product that feature its various textures.
This can be done in post-production to sharpen and tighten framing of the shots, keeping the viewer engaged.
This is an Adidas commercial showing fast moving clips of soccer players and other characters participating in a soccer match including closeups of the brand's products. The tempo is steady and fast-paced; it starts with a bang of action and includes different jump cuts.
It's an editing tactic that can engage more viewers.
This is a Dr. Fork 'bumper' commercial. This type of editing style is good for voice-over. The audience hears the narrator clearly stating what is happening in the commercial. It gets the message across concisely, but it's important that the audio matches the text perfectly - post-editing must be on-point.
There are two different types of story arcs for advertisements: traditional and emerging.
In the traditional story arc, the momentum is building, from slow to a definitive peak, then dropping once again. This great for media such as TV or books. But, today people don't pay as close attention to long form messaging like this.
That's where the emerging story arc comes in. This mode starts off strong, rises to a bigger peak, dips to a valley, then an unexpected peak, ending with a drop.
Re-edit a TV or similar ad creative to follow the emerging story arc.
Here's a good example of an emerging story arc. This is a trailer for the movie, 'Wonder Woman.' It starts off with action featuring the actress playing the main role leaping into offensive attack. It leads to a peak of action and fighting, then another peak and then a quiet end. The viewer is hooked in that first 30 seconds so they naturally follow to the end.
This Tide bumper ad goes for the funny bone. The young boy admits he's a bedwetter and he seems proud of it.
Use different emotional levers like this to pull the audience in. It also allows for significant creative ideas and concepts.
This Fanta commercial shows a bunch of different kids drinking the product and smiling.
When there are faces like this in an ad or landing page, a stronger connection is built. People are scientifically hooked most when they see another person.
Try this angle on target customers or on different demographics.
There will be more detail on this connection later.
This Airbnb commercial is an example of a series of ads that have a similar message. They’re not talking about pricing – it’s more about the flexibility. It’s telling the story of one boy who was essentially shy before and now he’s going for it and jumping into the pool.
So, tell a story or a sequence of stories depending on the underlying strategy. It does not have to be high production, but it will be a singular short clip. However, it's difficult to go deep with this singular message.
These three ads for the makeup brand, Covergirl, are part of an experiment. Each one shows the progress from a generic ad. The company tests the copy and then eventually it tests the copy and visual for its target audience.
The first one is the control ad – it’s a woman exiting a car. The creators are focusing on the ‘girl-boss’ idea/concept with the slogan, “I am what I makeup.”
The second commercial, they kept the slogan: “I am what I makeup”, but changed the copy to “Boss. ‘Not like a boss.’” Essentially saying you are a boss, period, end of story.
Copy and Visual
The last one is fine-tuned for the audience; it has many of the clips included in the last two. It’s keeping the copy and just adding in a few clips. The company has realized which copy changes performed the best and there’s no need to reshoot an entirely new ad.
Think about bringing in scaleability with the creative campaign. Consider different ad formats and lengths. Try arranging them in various ways so that they can be tuned for specific audiences, engaging hooks, or conveying an emerging story.
There are clearly different scaling systems in this Sonos speaker commercial. There’s a long-form video ad, but it’s broken down into smaller ‘snacks’ and ‘bites.’ The Initial segment is 60 seconds.
This ad is essentially a short clip from the larger audio speaker ad.
In this segment, a clip from the first ‘snack’ ad has been incorporated, but it has an additional set of clips telling a story using multiple scenarios. The viewer sees people benefiting from this product in a humorous way. This is a great way to repurpose and utilize opportunity in the creative.
A simple singular message is important. Don’t jam it up with conflicting messages. Focus on one message, value prop, feature, or reason to believe in that product.
Narrowing the focus allows the ad to be more strategic in reaching target audiences. It also opens up opportunities to sequence messages and provides repeat exposure to those audiences.
The focus audience depends on whether it’s a branded ad, a consideration ad, an action ad or an awareness ad.
Branded Ad: focus mainly on the brand itself.
Consideration Ad: centered on people while the product is the ‘sidekick.’
Action Ad: will be product-focused. It will be the sole selling point.
Awareness Ad: will pinpoint a problem the customer could have and then offer a solution.
Why This Matters
When the focus is more defined, the ad creator can be more strategic in the audiences that are affected. Also, the opportunities are easier to manage. One extensive ad that speaks to everyone, with a lot of different messaging can be confusing.
Create ads specific to the objectives that need to be tackled.
The first ad for Monday.com has more of an emotional storyline. This follows the consideration ad criteria because it appears to be targeting HR employees or project managers who have this problem: assigning projects properly and on deadline. So, it’s problem-aware. But this angle is touching on the emotional appeal.
This second one, Functional Value Proposition, is more action-focused. It’s highlighting the product. It talks about getting you to start a free trial for the product.B
Often clients will express that they need a big production, but it’s possible to have different types of ads such as user-generated content, that aren’t obvious winners.
It’s important to experiment with outlier content. Make it specific to the objective. There are no silver bullets. Some audiences might connect with these unusual ideas or concepts, and advertisers can scale or have cheaper leads or sales when there are hits like this.
This is a low-production Wix ad. It makes the viewer feel like he or she is at someone’s house and it’s speaking to the user’s end benefit. This person starts a Wix store and it blows up with sales. Instead of high production, it’s showing user-generated content (UGC). The ad's message says look at this regular person; they look like you, and their store is blowing up. They have a family just like me and they are so happy.
This ad has performed well for Wix.
Always have a budget for testing alternative ads. And once again, think about the objective when creating these pieces.
Think about the audience and the objective.
Louis Vuitton had two different types of creative for two different demographics.
The first video/ad – worked better for females. It focuses on one particular female in the commercial.
The second ad/video – worked better for males. It shows multiple bags in different locations throughout the video.
This is where I'll focus on best practices. It's time to break these points down and get to the core of creating these ads.
The core idea is building for attention, build for sound and build for mobile. YouTube are watching and listening for longer so make sure to have audio cues, music and voice overs to capture and retain their presence.
It’s all about the ABCD principle.
Attention: hook people early. Keep visuals bright and contrasted. Jump into action immediately.
Branding: Utilize the brand throughout the ad. Early, often and richly. Draw on a wide branding palette. Show up early, then continuously. *In slide example: this can lift the brand and brand goals.
Connection: Let the feature touch people through their emotions. Tell them a story they’re already having. Humanize the story and keep it simple.
Direction: Take action. Have a call to action at the end. There’s good research to support that this works. Asking people to take action, getting them to subscribe, check out the company website, or learn more.
Storyboard these points and use them in the ad’s creative strategy.
Attention: It’s important to jump in quickly with action-focused ads. Grab that attention from the viewer and get to the heart of the story. Have supers, audio and include bright visuals that grab attention.
Branding: Make sure the branding is not taking away from the objective. It’s product-focused. It’s a selling moment and not meant to be brand-building. The brand is still upfront, but the ad is focused on the product and the solution.
Connection: Be precise and upfront about what is being offered. It’s not like branding and awareness. It’s more fluffy; avoid overselling. Say specifically how this helps the audience and how it will solve their problem. Skip major claims, but be clear and concise with the message.
Direction: Say exactly what the viewers should do. Reinforce this with voiceovers.
Immersing the viewer in the story, using an emerging story arc and building with sound are key points to upgrade YouTube ads. Also, ensure that it can be seen and heard on most devices so people can watch anywhere and anytime.
These points can really help to lift a company's brand goals.
There is a lot of research behind asking viewers to take action.
These are some in-depth examples of how people can feel or think ab0ut a brand depending on the message being communicated.
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