Yes, we see the irony in writing a blog about the benefits of having a strong video element in your advertising campaign. But please bear with us as we tell you why showing your company’s story can build your brand and increase your sales.

First, the numbers. By now, we all know that YouTube ranks as the #2 online search engine. It’s every agency’s favorite piece of analytical trivia, and they roll it out at client meetings like a card trick at a cocktail party. But what does that mean?

YouTube FactsTo give you an idea of just how ingrained YouTube is in our online society, of the 195,691,000 unique viewers who watched online videos in December 2014, nearly 164 million watched videos via Google Sites, which includes YouTube. Facebook was the next most popular place to watch videos, with almost 97 million unique viewers. A pretty substantial drop-off.

As YouTube has evolved, it developed partnerships with channels that produce videos unique to their audiences. The music channel VEVO was the most successful partner in December with some 44 million unique viewers. The YouTube Partner Program allows creators to actually monetize their content with advertisements, paid subscriptions, and merchandise. Since launching the program in 2007, YouTube boasts more than one million creator partners with thousands of channels raking in six figures every year.

Mind blown yet? Get this – YouTube has more than a million advertisers, and its most successful online video ad platform, BrightRoll, reaches 56.3% of the total U.S. population. That’s a lot of pre-roll ads being seen by a lot of people.

Wait…what’s a “pre-roll ad?”

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 12.06.59 PMA pre-roll ad is that 20-second clip before your video that you have to watch for a few seconds before you can “Skip Ad.” For some, this can be interruptive and annoying, which doesn’t bode well for your branding. However, do it right, provide an interesting/informative/entertaining break from video watching, and pre-roll can help you:

  • Raise brand awareness
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate leads
  • Close sales

So, how do you create an ad that won’t get skipped? Simply put, target it. YouTube has tools in place that will allow you to strategically place an ad based on the viewer’s unique criteria, including recent watch history and their location. Here are some tips to ensure viewers watch your ad in full:

Set a budget: As with anything, you get what you pay for, so do some research and set a budget for the final product that ensures you a professional ad, but doesn’t break your bank. If this ad will be part of your overall video strategy, different platforms (network TV, cable TV, online, website only) come with different costs, so bear that in mind when going forward.

Determine your audience: Zero in on the demographic you most want to watch this ad. Who are you trying to reach? Whose behavior are you trying to change? Make sure the video is the perfect combination of engaging visuals and messaging.

Craft your message: Whether it’s a TV or online video ad, you don’t have a lot of time to tell some big, elaborate story. Focus on one thing and relate it to your audience. Maybe a new service or product, or perhaps you want to push your company’s culture and “what we can do for you.” The message needs to be clear, concise and integrate fully into your company’s overall advertising efforts.

Pick your platform: While Internet ads may work well for some purposes, they fall short in other areas where a TV ad would be most effective. While TV ads are considered the most effective mass-market advertising platform, they can cost lots of money, especially network ads. Ads on cable TV can be a little cheaper. The overall cost depends on lots of factors, including day, time and during which program, with ads during popular TV shows costing the most.

Internet ads aren’t as costly as TV ads, but they tend to reach more targeted audiences. This is an important thing to consider when determining your message and audience. If you’re looking to target a specific group of younger adults, an Internet ad makes sense. The cool thing about Internet ads is their versatility. For example, a developer can link an online ad back to a company’s website, which is a huge benefit if you’re marketing a product or service that is sold exclusively online.

No DIY: Producing a video ad for TV and/or the Internet take time, people, equipment, editing computers/software and know how. In other words, it takes money. And unless your company is ready to invest in an in-house video production department, you’re better off going with a reputable advertising agency to do the work. Do your research first. Most agencies have a wide selection of past video projects to view on their websites, which give you a good idea of what to expect. Your video ad won’t be the agency’s first rodeo, and a good agency will work with you from start to finish to ensure the job is done right, on time, and within your budget. Agencies are also great sources for advice on determining your message and your platform.

Above all, try to have a little fun with your video ad production. This is your company’s chance to show off a little bit and create a lasting impression on a large number of possible customers, so you might as well do something you enjoy. Notice how a recent ad campaign by Newcastle Brown Ale started with this call for brands, and evolved into an online ad that generated over one-million Likes…substantially more than the initial branding call video.

If you’re looking to put together a video advertising campaign for your company, our in-house video production team in Youngstown, Ohio can help. Call PALO Creative at 330-599-4141 to get started. And check out our YouTube channel!