It’s no secret that the way we use, and access online video content has changed significantly in the last few years. The global pandemic and national lockdowns have produced a surge in video consumption and a shift in the behaviour and demographics of consumers. Online video gives so many of us an outlet and form of escapism. While we were all stuck at home YouTube became a source of positivity and respite for the world. For many of us, it was also a way to learn new skills, stay informed, and invest in personal development. Hands up, who watched at least one DIY video during lockdown?
But what does this mean for advertisers looking to use video in 2022? Are these patterns still relevant as we find the “new norm”? Whether you’re new to video advertising or a seasoned professional, here’s what you need to know.
YouTube is the number one most visited site globally. Every 24 hours, 34 million users log on to watch 1 billion hours of video content across 38 million channels.
According to the 2022 State of Video Marketing Survey by Wyzowl, the average number of online video hours watched has grown from 10.5 hours per week in 2018 to 19 in 2022. The average user now watches 2.5 hours of video per day and is twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other form of media. Pre-pandemic, these numbers were already on the rise and are predicted to continue this trend year on year.
According to a report out this year, videos make up 82% of consumer internet traffic. Recent stats also show 96% of internet users said they watched an explainer video to help them learn more about a product or service and 88% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service after seeing a video. That’s a whole lot of statistics showing how powerful video has already become, yet internet users still want more. According to Google, YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year olds in an average week than all US cable TV networks combined. With the demand for video content so high, brands and marketers cannot afford not to use video as part of their marketing strategy.
Despite the demand for video being the highest we’ve seen, it’s not as easy as sticking a video up on YouTube and seeing the customers roll in. For a truly great video that inspires action, storytelling is key. At Reflect Digital we have found the most effective creatives follow the ABCD framework.
Source: Think With Google
Hook your audience and keep them with an engaging story. Your ad is in front of the video they’re actually trying to see; keep them from skipping by grabbing their attention or providing value within those first 5 seconds.
One of my favourite examples is Kmart’s masterpiece from 2013. Within the first 5 seconds, we hear the phrase “Ship my pants?” Of course…the word “ship” isn’t pronounced as eloquently as it could be, leading us all to think: did he just say what I think he said? The hilarious play on words continues through the 31 seconds giving us one of the best YouTube ads of all time.
Present your brand early (within 5 seconds) and often. Integrate it in a natural and meaningful way. The watcher could already be clicking furiously on that skip button, but you’ve got them for at least 5 seconds, so make it count. A naturally integrated brand does two things: it advertises without making it obvious (or annoying) and places that brand within the watcher's mind, often on a subconscious level. So, even if that skip button is clicked after 5 seconds, you have a potential customer who may be influenced into using your company in the future, without even knowing it.
Using the example above, the Kmart logo and branding are only obviously placed at the end of the ad. But within the first 5 seconds, we see the Kmart store branding and signage around the actors, the Kmart staff uniform and the lanyard on the sales manager.
Connect with your audience and make them feel something. Humour, suspense, or breaking the fourth wall are great tools for this.
Through our own agency data and testing, we found video ads that talk to the user directly have a significantly higher watch time. Breaking that fourth wall has a seriously positive impact on the watcher’s behaviour, so use it to your advantage.
Superdrug was one of the first brands to do this really well back in 2008 for their summer ad campaign. The UK TV show ‘Gavin and Stacey’ was at its height and actor Joanna Page was brought in as Superdrug’s celebrity spokesperson. Within the first 3 seconds, Joanna gives the hook to attract: there’s half-price Nivea sun care. She’s talking directly to the watcher, as though we’re having a 1-2-1 chat. The Superdrug logo is clearly placed on the screen, Joanna is wearing a Superdrug pharmacy uniform and is clearly standing in a Superdrug store. Attract – tick. Brand- tick.
Then, the fourth wall is brilliantly broken. Joanna tells us “that’s it, you can watch a dogs and cats video now.” She directly points to the skip button and encourages the watcher to press it! But do we? Of course, we don’t, this is far too intriguing. We’re then told another offer on the Veet wax range, before being told to skip again. It’s a great use of reverse psychology by Superdrug with the fourth wall well and truly broken. The ad ends by encouraging us to visit the website for more offers and Joanna telling us all to “enjoy your dogs and cats video.” In 30 seconds the watcher receives information on 4 offers, a CTA for the website and clear brand messaging in what feels like a personal chat with a celebrity. It’s a great example of how YouTube advertisers really started to think outside the box to shape what YouTube ads are today, 14 years later.
Another classic 4th wall break: Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.’ Instead of targeting men, Old Spice very cleverly speaks directly to the women in their lives in a comedic stroke of genius, which went down in history as one of the best ads of all time.
Inspire the watcher to take action and make sure your CTA (call to action) is clear. Here’s a great example:
Honey is a free browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes at over 30,000 online stores. The video is titled in a CTA format: How much can you save with Honey? Let’s find out. We follow a Honey user throughout her day raking up savings on all her purchases. The CTA is clear and a link is provided; download the Honey browser extension for free. By the time you’re presented with the CTA, you’ve seen so many savings it would be silly not to do it.
As well as adding CTAs within your video content, YouTube has a plethora of CTA overlay options (call-to-action extensions) which we add on every client video. Grammarly’s CTA extension below encourages the watcher to click and try the program for free.
Hello Fresh has used their extension to give the watcher a discount on their next purchase with a click and code.
With 86% of businesses already using video as a marketing tool and 90% of consumers wanting more video content from their brands; video marketing in 2022 is a no brainer.
The surges in YouTube activity during the pandemic seem likely to stay with numbers predicted to continue rising in 2022 and beyond.
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