YouTube Ads: The ABCDs of Effective Video Ad Creative

Although Google video ads and YouTube Ads can be built in the same ad management interface, they’re nowhere close to the same. The fact that YouTube video ads are strictly video makes their reliance on effective creative even more critical.

You may be thinking “Oh, perfect! I already have my TV campaign assets ready to go. I’ll just slap those into my YouTube campaigns and let it ride.” However, YouTube has its own unique user behavior that your ads should be intentionally tailored to in order to drive your audience to take action. Rather than just using whatever video you have on hand, using effective creative developed for YouTube ads drives much better results.

In fact, according to studies done by both Comscore ARS and Harvard Business Review, creative is responsible for half of the sales decision. Another study by NCSolutions found a two times larger return on investment when digital advertising campaigns used more effective creative.

These four steps, YouTube’s ABCDs of effective creative, will help you develop unskippable video ads.

1. Attract: Viewers can skip ads, so it’s important to grab their attention within the first five seconds. That means hooking your audience right away with appealing visuals and captivating motion. In addition, Google data reveals that 95% of YouTube ads are watched with sound on, so adding an engaging voiceover or music track to enhance your visuals is an absolute must.

2. Brand: Make your brand apparent to the audience within the first few seconds to help them remember who you are. Try incorporating your brand in a unique way, such as an animated logo or a sweeping closeup of the branding on your product. The more naturally this branding appears, the better it will resonate with your audience.

3. Connect: After hooking your audience in the first few seconds of your ad, hold their attention with an enticing story arc. This can be achieved through presenting a relatable problem or situation, or keeping them engaged with visual pacing, strong audio, and emotion.

4. Direct: Be clear on exactly what you want your audience to do next. Do you want them to purchase your product on the site? Do you want them to click to learn about your service or request a quote? Reinforce your call to action in the voiceover, overlay, or baked into your graphics. Also, if you posed a problem at the beginning of your ad, be sure to present your product or service as the shiny golden hero that saves the day.

In addition to the ABCDs, consider the length, pace, and visual style of your video.

Since more than 70% of watch time now happens on mobile, according to YouTube, it’s important to optimize for fast-paced consumption on a small screen. Keep your video short and sweet, trimming your video to the essentials to leave people wanting more. Incorporate close crops; big, bold text; and bright footage; all of which tend to perform better on smaller screens.

Don’t have the time or budget for a week-long video shoot and a professional editor? YouTube offers a number of self-service tools to help you get the job done, including cutting and editing options within the ad management interface; as well as Video Builder (which creates video from still images) and Bumper Machine, which are both still in beta. There are also a number of affordable and easy-to-use third-party tools available to help you quickly and effectively leverage existing assets to create the perfect video.

No matter what assets you have to work with, there are plenty of ways to create an effective YouTube video ad that will drive results for your business.

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