In the recent decade, YouTube has become a critical tool for commercial advertisement, with short ads plated before the start of the majority of videos on the platform. In contrast to traditional advertisers, companies that have chosen to advertise on YouTube have the opportunity to engage with their audience on a consistent basis, which is beneficial, especially considering the latter’s short attention span. Therefore, advertisers should take advantage of shorter advertisement videos as a means to connect to the target group of potential customers who view online content on a regular basis.
Because of the lowering of the audience’s attention spans, short-form videos have come to the forefront of content strategies implemented by brands, individuals, and large corporations. Shorter videos can be accessed through such platforms as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Vine, and Byte, and take the forms of live streams, Snaps, teasers, sizzles, and other short branded content. Regardless of the format, the goal is to generate a purchase interest in the audience and connect to it emotionally. Therefore, there are vast opportunities for advertisers to use short video content as engaging marketing tools intended to increase the target consumers’ interest in the products and services being promoted.
Understanding Short Video Ads
Since marketers across the globe have widely used video advertising, its types and modifications continue expanding into different forms. In their essence, short video ads are marketing content types that consumers can view quickly and easily on their devices. Companies engage in short video promotions to market their products and services as well as to increase their presence on digital and social channels (Appel et al., 2020). Such tools as sight, sound, and motion have been the main methods to engage and reach an audience. Therefore, short video advertisements should be created in an actionable, conversational, and measurable way that would allow companies to connect to their potential customers and ask them for feedback.
According to the post by Seagull Advertising (2020), around 86% of marketers create short video advertisements and other content forms to promote something, educate the audience, as well as to entertain. New formats of such videos have made social media platforms the most effective and easy-to-reach mediums that are used by millions of people worldwide. In addition, when it comes to ad expenditures, short video ads are becoming the most rapidly growing digital marketing channel, which is a part of every effective promotional strategy. Around 48% of customers have made their latest online purchase as a direct result of short video ads they had seen on such social media platforms as Facebook (Seagull Advertising, 2020). Therefore, video ads are a digital marketing development that companies should not miss, specifically when it comes to reaching younger audiences.
The latest developments in technology have contributed to the increased use of short video ads online. Specifically, the rising availability of 5G technology shows to be beneficial for video ads because it allows to significantly reduce the time needed for video ad creation and streaming. This development is among the new reasons that marketers will add video-based promotions into their advertisement mix. Due to the increased access to quick Internet, more and more customers will get exposed to ads and learn about a specific product or service being promoted. At the stage of brand awareness, video ads on social media can facilitate the driving of potential consumers to the company’s website and make them engage with a brand. The ads can also be beneficial at the nurturing stage because they can facilitate the increase of the click-through rate to reach 300% (Seagull Advertising, 2020). Overall, there is an array of uses for short video advertisements, and depending on the social media platform used and the effectiveness of the video, there is great potential to attract a new audience of potential customers.
Advantages of Using Short Video Ads
The key objective of advertisers is to create content that will be engaging to the target audience with the purpose of encouraging a purchase. Nowadays, the content must be diverse enough to attract viewers, the more details and behind-the-scenes footage, the better (Meltzer, 2018). This is because social media has become a global stage, and if “something wasn’t posted, it never happened” (Meltzer, 2018, para. 7). The more companies document what is relevant to their products and services, the more connections they will gain with the potential target audience. The more connections they have, the more loyal and trusting relationships they will build with customers.
The advantages of making brief video content include the ease of distribution, the ease of repurposing, and the possibility to capture larger audiences. Because of the small file size of shorter videos, it is possible to share them and distribute them across social media platforms on which brands are present. This factor is significant because ten to fifteen-second videos are easy to view in mobile format, and since the majority of the potential consumer audience has access to a smart device, the likelihood of videos getting to the audience is high. Besides, millennials and generation z respond best to micro advertisements, with 20% of millennials recalling a five-second commercial compared to 14% of non-millennials (Tode, 2020). Therefore, when marketers aim to capture the largest audience possible, they should opt for shorter videos.
Another benefit of short video content used to advertise on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Vine, and Byte is the excellent possibility of sales conversion and generation. Short video ads can prompt consumers to click the link provided and go to a particular website and buy the product. When companies incorporate a strong call to action in video advertisements, they work on building trust among consumers, whose consumption of content can increase product sales. Because of the high shareability of short videos among users, the more memorable an ad is, the more likely it is to spread around different platforms.
A significant advantage that many oversee is concerned with the cost-friendliness of short video advertisements. Online platforms available to download to different digital devices are must cheaper compared to traditional mediums such as television. Besides, video ads remain online in the results of Google searches and cannot be easily removed as they are likely to be replicated and re-shared without the need for additional payment. Therefore, short video content is a highly cost-effective method of promoting particular products or services since such ads are boundless. Companies do not have to spend money on making different ads for different platforms; they can be shortened, changed, and adapted to each media outlet.
Shortcomings of Using Short Video Ads
Even though short video ads have an array of benefits, it is imperative to consider the shortcomings of the method. For instance, short videos cannot fit every style and topic of interest, thus suggesting that companies will not be able to use the approach on their own without the support of other advertisement methods. Besides, a badly-done short video shared on social media can cost a company more long-term as it could invest a lot of funds only to see a minimal return on investment after a long period of advertisement exposure.
The high market saturation is a challenge for companies because there are hundreds of millions of active users on such platforms as TikTok and Instagram, it is an issue for companies to ensure that an ad reaches a broad audience and is interesting. Besides, anyone can make a short video promoting a product or service, thus creating a large pool of advertisements against which a brand will have to compete. The challenge of reaching millions of potential customers is also linked to the fact that a short video ad does not promote itself, therefore, it is not enough to post a video with guaranteed success and high conversion rates.
Besides, it can be an issue for advertisers to shoot videos in which they can effectively express their intentions within a short timeframe. Short videos that are solely advertisement-based cannot guarantee a consistent conversion rate because they will not be attractive to the target consumer (Lee, Hosanagar and Nair, 2018). An ad should be viewable and easy to remember, while also having something interesting that would capture the viewer. It is also essential to take into account the fact that most consumers would skip commercial ads online, which is why making a captivating short video is highly important.
Finding the Right Approach to Short Video Ads
To use short video advertisements as a part of an online promotional strategy, brands should consider both the advantages and disadvantages of the approach when aiming to improve brand awareness. It is essential to consider that the kinds of videos that are more likely to get shared between users provide useful or entertaining content. Thus, if marketers are planning to create and release videos as a medium of advertising, it is essential that they create branded content over simple product promotions.
The branded content varies in purpose and format; however, it is an essential tool that would bring customers closer to the brand that advertises its products or services. An example of branded content is how-to videos that show the audience how real people are using the product. Short video ads that show products in action are common for beauty companies that advertise on Instagram. Such brands as Clinique, Estee Lauder, Clarins, Glossier, Maybelline, L’Oréal Paris, and hundreds of others have been seen posting online short video ads demonstrating their products being used. Importantly, it is best when ads feature a diverse range of models to appeal to a larger target audience.
Another example is the behind-the-scenes perspective that gets companies closer to customers who want to know more about a company and the people behind it. For instance, Dyson has been sharing behind-the-scenes videos of how engineers work on the latest technologies while clothing companies show their factories and the workers creating garments. Giving potential customers a sneak peek into the company helps humanize the company and make it more appealing to the consumer (Hayzlett, 2016). An additional recommendation for the short video ad format is a product review completed by real users. If a company gets a good review, its marketing team can ask for permission to share short videos of the review on the brand’s page, thus providing more useful content to the potential consumer.
With the increased reliance on mobile technologies and the widening access to the fast Internet, short video ads have become an essential part of brands advertising strategies. The more concise ad video format has been popularized because of the decreasing attention span of online users and the need to capture their interest quickly and effectively. The format is easy to integrate into different platforms, and, if implemented correctly, can increase customer conversion and click-through rates. However, its limitations should be considered when developing a marketing strategy for a brand, such as the challenge of reaching millions of consumers and the need to compete within an over-saturated market. The solution to an effective and memorable short video ad is providing both useful and entertaining content that will make customers closer to the brand. These range from behind-the-scenes footage to tutorial videos, all of which can be condensed in short snippets and posted online on brands’ pages and paid ad placements. With the format of short video ads, content options are extensive, but the key to captivating promotions is creating videos that do not simply intend to sell something but rather inform and entertain. Companies with effective short video ad strategies will ask themselves whether they would like to watch the content they create, which is key to success.
Appel, G. et al. (2020) ‘The future of social media marketing’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48, pp. 79-95.
Hayzlett, J. (2016) ‘4 strategies that drive brand loyalty’, Entrepreneur. Web.
Lee, D., Hosanagar, K. and Nair, H. (2018) Advertising content and consumer engagement on social media: evidence from Facebook. Web.
Meltzer, D. (2018) ‘Why short-form video needs to be part of your content strategies’, Entrepreneur (February). Web.
Seagull Advertising. (2020) The effectiveness of short video ads on the Internet. Web.
Tode, C. (2020) Very short video ads have advantage on smartphones: report. Web.