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How to create engaging social video ads for your business

Video content can be a game-changer for your business. But if you’re going to invest time and money in social videos, you want them to make an impact. We caught up with McKenzie Partners Creative Director Stewart Heaney to find out how to create engaging ads and content for social media. 

Whether you’re planning a series of Instagram ads or an explainer video for LinkedIn, there are a couple of fundamental principles to keep in mind.  

To get started, you want to create a storyboard for your social video and think about each frame. “It’s important to keep content centered and large within the composition,” Stewart says. “The benefits of this are two-fold: it grabs, and keeps, the viewer’s attention and it’s also beneficial if you need to resize videos to suit different platforms.” Handy, right? 

Consider your platform 

Whether you’re designing an ad or organic content, you need to consider your platform when creating a video. On a practical level, the specs for each platform differ, so you want to be across them before getting started. A badly centered or cut off video is not a good look. 

The platform can impact the style of video, too. For example, LinkedIn has a professional audience, so you can use more information-heavy content. “When creating LinkedIn videos, it’s fine to use more copy in the frame, as people are generally okay with reading on screen. Using infographics and iconography can work well,” says Stewart. 

The length of your video will also vary depending on your chosen platform. This impacts the structure and timing of your key messaging. “I often change the structure of an ad if it’s for Instagram versus a platform like YouTube,” explains Stewart. “For example, YouTube is interesting to work with because the ads are different lengths, they are served up in different ways and there are skippable ads, too. So, you really must think about when it’s appropriate to build people’s curiosity. The bumper ads on this platform can be as short as 6 seconds. In that case, you need to get the message out quickly to make an impression. Whereas you might approach a longer ad differently.” 

A 2021 study from Biteable found that video ads generated over triple the leads when compared to static images.

While visuals are key, you do need to consider sound. “When it comes to audio, the platform matters. Many people scroll through Facebook and Instagram with the sound switched off, so you don’t always need audio elements,” advises Stewart. “However, if you have content where someone is speaking, captions are a must. This is important for accessibility and also to get your message across to consumers who have their audio muted.” On the other hand, people tend to watch YouTube with the sound on, so if you’re designing ads for that platform, you’ll want to consider the audio very carefully. 

Stop customers scrolling by your social video 

If you’re worried about potential customers scrolling past video you’ve invested in, we have good news. Video is inherently more engaging than static images. A 2021 study from Biteable found that video ads generated over triple the leads when compared to static images. Plus, recent research from Facebook found that brands using both still ads and video ads saw a 17% higher rate of conversion compared to brands using only still ads.  

Stewart also has a few other tips for stopping the dreaded scroll. “If you’re using live footage, have the presenter looking straight at the camera and fairly close up in the composition. This will grab the audience’s attention.” 

A 2022 Facebook study found that brands using both still ads and video ads saw a 17% higher rate of conversion compared to brands using only still ads.

You can also try add a bit of Hollywood magic. “Suspense can be powerful. Try a dramatic sequence at the start of the social video to keep viewers interested. Fast, punchy and bold sequences can work, too. However, they have to be composed well, as otherwise they can look a bit cheap,” says Stewart. Or you can take the opposite approach. “Subtlety can be effective – a slight movement in what people think is a static image can grab your attention. This is where simple motion design can come in handy.” 

Creating engaging video content is an art. However, with careful planning, clever concepts and content tailored to your chosen platform, it can become a powerful part of the marketing mix for your business. 

When it comes to video, it helps to have experts on board. If you want to find out more about our social video services, you can read more here or find out about our other video services. Otherwise, get in touch with our team and we’ll find a solution for your business.