It’s important to remember: your videos are not about you; they’re about your viewers.
When brainstorming creative for your native video advertising, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the small details of your brand. Once you have the team brought together to talk about the video project, suddenly the white board is filled with every product feature, every brand value, and every glowing customer testimonial you have ever received.
But those details can be the wrong place to start your native video ad. It’s important to remember: your videos are not about you; they’re about your viewers.
If you really want to make an impact on your viewers with your video, you need to know a few things about your audience. With this knowledge, you can shape your video content to reflect what your viewers want from you, and how you can solve their problems. Here’s where to start.
Your video analytics will tell you a lot about your audience’s video watching habits.
It’s obvious that there are so many options when it comes to watching videos. Online, on desktop, on mobile, with sound, without sound, on TV or a TV-enabled device… the list goes on and on.
Each one of these platforms has different optimization techniques that can be used in your native video advertising. In order to tap into this optimization, you need to know where and how your audience prefers to consume their video content.
For example, Gen Zs are more likely to visit YouTube than any other social site (85%) and would prefer their favorite brands communicate with them there than anywhere else (40%), according to a 2015 study by Deep Focus.
If your audience includes Gen Z, it makes sense to spend a significant portion of your video advertising on YouTube, your target viewer’s favorite platform.
You can find out facts like this about your audience through your market research, of course. On top of that, your video analytics will tell you a lot about your audience’s video-watching habits. Your watch time reports will tell you the average amount of time your video was watched, if people watched a part of your video over and over again, how many loops were played, and more.
This will give you insight into the habits of your viewers. Often, social network ads, such as video ads on Facebook and YouTube, will even let you know the average age and interests of your users.
All of this information is extremely valuable for optimizing your video ads. Let’s say your audience never listens with their headphones on – that means you have to put captions in your video.
Perhaps, you find through your average time watched, your audience has a 10-minute attention span – that means perhaps you can branch out into longer branded content pieces or experiment with longer-form platforms such as Facebook Watch.
On the other hand, a short average time watched of 60 seconds or less may mean your audience could be engaged through video ads on TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram.
A native video ad that addresses or solves your viewers' problem is not just an advertisement - it’s valuable information that they will reference time and time again.
Remember: You want to make sure your native video ads are in front of your audience at every point in their buying cycle. And what’s the first point in the buying cycle? Research. This means you need to have videos that address your audience’s research questions.
A native video ad that addresses or solves your viewers' problem is not just an advertisement – it’s valuable information that they will reference time and time again. In fact, Animoto reported that four out of five customers find demo videos helpful, so it’s clear that answering some of your audience’s questions or even just addressing their pain points will also give them a more positive impression of your brand.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
Did you know that Search Engine Journal reported that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine? Your customers are likely looking for your product or service on Google, so your search analytics is the place to start.
Search analytics are easily and freely accessible on Google Search Console, a great tool for SEO and content creation. There, you can find the search terms that lead your audience to your site.
For instance, if a company has a blog post called “What Counts as an Impression?” that Google Search console reported was consistently getting traffic from the search term “What Counts as an Adwords Impression?”, that advertising team should make more content to answer that specific search.
In the case of a brand looking to advertise with native video, those specific searches are proven traffic that would be a great foundation for your native video ad. This will give your audience exactly what they are looking for, and that makes for a perfect ad.
You have to tap into the emotions of your viewers. In order to do this, you have to know their values.
3. Be there in their hearts: know what they care about
It’s not enough to just tout your products and services through your ads and hope for the best. Especially when it comes to video, you have to tap into the emotions of your viewers. In order to do this, you have to know their values.
For instance, Ancestry.com realized that a lot of their customers, people who are proud of their heritage and find it important to their identity, had an interest in people and organizations who accomplish something in the name of social good.
Instead of focusing on the features of their DNA Test Product, they tried to reach their audience in a different way: a Mini-Documentary ad that featured someone who used an AncestryDNA test to make an impact on their community.
Ancestry.com found that sweet spot: the place where the values of their audience align with the values of their company. In addition, video production techniques such as overlaid motion graphics, hyperlapse and integration of archival footage draw the viewer in and weave the multiple storylines together.
The results? 2.3 Million views, 19K reactions, and over 5,000 shares. It’s obvious that this story resonated with viewers so much more than a more commercial video that screamed advertisement.
It’s the difference between selling your product and building a community with your viewers - connecting them to each other and your brand.
Social Listening platforms will let you know what your audience truly cares about.
Even just doing a quick Twitter or Facebook search about your topics of interest can let you know what your potential audience cares about. What else are people who are talking about your brand, or your brand values, tweeting about? What other brands do they engage with and why?
You can also delve into your website referrals to see where your visitors are coming from. Are there certain publications that have written about your brand that are bringing traffic to your site? What do they write about? Why would your potential viewer be interested in that publication? Start to think creatively about how you can find information for your customer personas.
You need to start making the content your audience wants to see.
You can be so much more creative when your video focuses on your viewers instead of just your product. There are many options when it comes to developing new content. And the result is a more engaging video ad that truly makes an impact.
So next time you have your video ad brainstorming session, start with your viewer. Fill your whiteboard with their interests, habits, and questions. You need to start making the content your audience wants to see.
Note: This post was originally published on October 30, 2017
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