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Tell Me A Story: How Video Ads Can Drive The Best Results Online

by Anupam Gupta

Successful online advertising isn’t just about the channel — from search to display to video — it’s about storytelling. When ads incorporate narrative elements, they increase interaction rates and the audience’s willingness to consider the product, react, or even move towards a purchase. Savvy advertisers know that nothing tells a story better than video. I would propose that the power of storytelling through sight, sound and motion is the reason why video is the fastest growing form of online advertising. eMarketer estimates that online video ad spending will grow 48% to $1.5 billion this year and hit $5.5 billion by 2014.

It’s now easier than ever for advertisers to choose online video, whether they’re national retailers or political candidates at the local level just beginning these efforts. The issue isn’t why use online video to tell your story, but how online video should tell your story. Even more important, how do you use online video to further your marketing strategy, tell a great story and generate concrete results? Let’s start by agreeing that not all online video advertising is created equal — or equal to every task — and start to build a holistic online video advertising strategy. Storytelling should move your audience emotionally and logically through the purchase funnel. Understanding how video works across that funnel and where to apply your resources at each stage is the key to unlocking that value.

Introduction – Create Awareness. The beginning of a story should grab viewers’ attention and introduce them to new places, characters, and concepts. At this stage, your video advertising must be disruptive and impactful. In-stream video is most effective in this case because it takes a short time to introduce and create awareness of your product or service. Much like television, the ad is presented in the course of viewing. So, if you are introducing a new product, then focus on driving awareness via broad in-stream buys. The goal is to disrupt, be brief, and be broad-based. And how do you know if you were successful? Research can clearly show when audiences exposed to your advertising have a higher awareness of your product than those who saw nothing.

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