Not so long ago, the main form of advertising where television ads that people watched in between their favorite shows or movies. But in the age of social media, there’s no such thing as a “commercial break” anymore.
People scroll through their feeds and see all types of content next to each other: ads, tutorials, memes, movie trailers… you name it!
This means that branded content is no longer an interruption from entertainment: it competes with it. And in this fierce battle, marketing videos must be engaging if they want to get the viewer’s attention.
Brands have aligned with the best video production teams out there to step up their game and captivate audiences into learning about their products.
But you’ve probably seen too many ads to know that not every animated video hits the spot, especially in terms of engagement! So, in this piece, we’re going to break down some essential elements to keep in mind when working on your videos. To make them not only effective but memorable!
Speak to Your Target Audience
Before you begin to even think about producing your video, you need to take the time to understand your target audience.
Who are your potential customers? What are their needs? What interests, and what bothers them? How can your product or service satisfy them? Make sure you have clear answers to these questions. Otherwise, your marketing efforts will be misguided.
And those same answers can shape the tone of your video. Think about how your audience talks and what vocabulary they use. You should always try to use a conversational tone that makes your piece sound more natural. After all, nobody wants to sit through a stuffy video with overly complex ideas.
Take, for example, this explainer video from Go Status. You’ll notice how the voice-over feels like it’s speaking directly to you. All it takes to nail that is to address the audience’s problems in an understanding and friendly way.
How to Craft a Powerful Story
Your marketing video should focus on stories, not sales. Yes, your sales team will probably slap me if they hear me say this, but trust me, it’s one of the most useful advice you’ll ever get!
If you want your videos to compete with entertaining content, you need to create some kind of value for the viewer. Pieces that are purely focused on outright selling will likely be ignored or fall flat.
The most engaging video content tells stories that connect with the viewer. Stories have been one of the driving forces behind human communication ever since the first cave paintings. There’s just something about a narrative that resonates with audiences on a very basic human level.
So, the better you tell your story, the more likely your viewers are going to understand what your brand is offering. There are whole books written about the mechanics of good storytelling, so let me offer you just these two simple tips:
1) Keep it fun
Your story is more likely to charm your viewers if it makes them feel something, even if it’s just a small laugh. And it also enhances the chances of them sharing your video with their friends and family. So, your piece must be as fun as possible without having to undervalue your message.
2) Keep it short
Time is of the essence, and your video shouldn’t be longer than what it takes you to tell the story. The very first few seconds of your story should instantly gather interest from your viewers and give clarity to what your video is about.
Using Animation to Craft Your Message
There are tons of animation styles you can use on your video, from whiteboard and animated illustrations to motion graphics and many more. Each of them has its pros and cons, so here are some tips and tricks that will work for your piece regardless of the type of animation you end up choosing.
Characters generate empathy
Animated videos feature characters to drive their stories and generate empathy from the viewer. In the example below, an explainer video from Dandelin, the story revolves around the character of Maria and how her problems were solved thanks to the company’s app.
Make every second count
Every second of your piece should feature movement. Using animation to its fullest potential means using motion and effects to make audiences feel that your story is going somewhere.
The goal is to educate
Never forget that an important aim of your piece is to educate your audience. People are drawn to content that makes them feel they’ve learned something after watching it. And your animated video needs to make learning simple by using didactic resources to connect your ideas and highlight the keywords of your story.
There are visual elements you can apply in your video to communicate your brand’s identity. For example, you can use your brand’s most used colors to set a unified esthetic tone throughout your piece. Also, your logo should appear at a critical moment of your video, usually right before you first showcase your products or services.
Customize Your Video for Social Media
Once you’ve finished postproduction, is time to let the world watch your beautiful video. Probably, the first thing your instinct will urge you to do is to post in on social media. But, before you do that, there are a couple of things you need to get right:
1) Adapt your CTA
Every video ends with a CTA (call to action) with clear instructions so that viewers know what to do next. You can optimize your video by using different specific CTAs for each social media platform. For example, if it’s a YouTube video your viewers can like, comment, and subscribe. If it’s an Instagram video, users can share, like, comment, and follow.
2) Upload a good thumbnail
Thumbnails are as important as first impressions. Using an interesting picture as the cover of your video is a great way to grab viewers’ attention and get them excited about your video before it starts playing.
3) Consider using captions
Social media platforms like Facebook let your videos autoplay while scrolling through the feed, but they’ll play on mute. You can use subtitles to make sure your video works with and without sound.
4) Using keywords
Keywords allow users to easily find your video and are very useful at getting you a higher ranking on Google and YouTube searches. Include your main keywords in the title of your piece, but try to keep it under 66 characters. Descriptions are also valuable, so try to incorporate as many keywords as you can.
Especially in such uncertain times as we’re living, people look for content that nurtures them and isn’t solely interested in selling a product or service. The best way to create a successful video is to craft a relevant message and use the best resources at your disposal to get that message across. If you’re able to do that, your piece will engage audiences and leave them wanting more.