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If you’re a small business looking to reach new customers, you need to advertise where your potential new customers spend their time and devote their attention. Increasingly, that means digital video.

People spend more time online watching video than they do on social media and the average time spent watching video has increased more than 3x from 39 minutes to almost two hours in just the last four years.

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Image Source: eMarketer

Below are some tips for getting started in video advertising and making it perform for your business:

4 Tips For Using Video Advertising

1) Make a good video and keep it short

Not surprisingly, a successful video advertising campaign starts with a good video. Make it engaging or educational or funny or quirky, but make it something you would want to watch.

“Good” does not have to be expensive. There are a number of platforms and services out there that will help a marketer with little or no experience create a quality video at relatively low cost.

This video was inexpensively produced by Bellacor using GoAnimate.


You also need to keep your ads short: 15 or 30 seconds. Television has trained all of us to expect 15 or 30 second ads and that expectation has carried over to the web.

There is a place for longer videos that fully explain your business, showcase your best work, or tour your facility. Save those for your site.

2) Be clear about what you want the viewer to do

Unlike on television, digital video advertising allows the viewer to take immediate action – to click to your site, to buy something, to fill out a form for more information. You want the viewer to take action in response to your video.

Your video needs to be clear about what action you want the viewer to take and make it easy for them to do so.  In some video formats, the best you can do is include a call to action in the last frames of the video and make the video clickable. Other formats include standardized or customizable call to action buttons and some allow for short text descriptions and links.

Look for a format that makes it easy for viewers to act: the easier it is, the more will take the action.

One of the formats that allows you to do more with your video is the “video ad card”. This format is growing in popularity and is often seen on sites like Twitter. You can turn any video into a video ad card using tools like Reelcontent.com.

3) Put your video where potential customers will see it

Once you have a video you are happy with, you need to decide where and how to run it so that you are targeting your video to those people most likely to respond to it.

Youtube and Facebook are popular places to start. There are also platforms that can distribute your video across thousand of targeted sites and apps. Here is a quick primer on these 3 options:

Youtube

Youtube is the biggest player in the video space and has been for a long time. It is also part of Google and shares the Google search DNA – among other things, this means that it offers better content targeting than Facebook and the other social networks.

Another advantage that Youtube has is that it is exclusively for the consumption of video. Youtube users are more likely to be watching videos with the sound on and so more likely to hear your ad. Youtube offers a number of relatively low cost options; and, with its TrueView offering, you only get charged when a user watches your video for 30 seconds (or until the end if it is shorter than that).

One of the knocks on Youtube is that it is not easy to use effectively. There are no fewer than six different advertising options. Because of that, because it is not new, and because it was built to work for sophisticated “power” users, the Youtube interface is more complicated.

Also, despite being more complicated, it does not allow for the same brand customization and clear calls to action that some other platforms do.

Facebook

Facebook has very quickly become the main challenger to Youtube’s video prominence.

Like Youtube, Facebook offers virtually unlimited scale. Unsurprisingly given the wealth of data Facebook has about its users, Facebook supports unmatched granular user targeting – you can reach exactly the group you want to reach.

Facebook has conditioned its users to “like” and “share” and that behavior carries over to ads as well: generally speaking your ad will get shared more on Facebook than on Youtube.

Facebook’s interface is less complicated and makes it easier to get started than Youtube’s.  However, if you want to keep your costs down, you will need to spend considerable time to become an expert at using it to optimize and revise your campaign targeting.

You have heard the old adage “you can have it done fast, good, and cheap, pick any two.” With Facebook – you can have scale, targeting, and low cost; pick any two.

Reelcontent

One thing that Facebook and Youtube are not good at is putting your video ad in context. On Facebook people are looking at updates from friends and family. On Youtube they are, by and large, watching videos for entertainment.

Reelcontent on the other hand, helps you target your video ads in highly relevant context across the web.  The Reelcontent video ad card formats are compatible with virtually any site or app and Reelcontent’s targeting enables advertisers to run these ads only on sites and apps that feature content relevant to your product or business.  So, for example, if you have a product for travelers, your ad can run on many travel-related sites rather than just on Facebook or Youtube.  In addition, you can add branding, a customized message, and a call to action.

Reelcontent also lets you use any video hosting platform to host your ad. This means you can leverage existing video hosting capabilities and make use of any built-in analytics features.

An added benefit is that Reelcontent is very cost-effective. Similar to YouTube’s Trueview program, you pay only when someone watches your video. There is also no bidding involved to have your ad shown to viewers.

Using Reelcontent can complement your existing ad strategy with Facebook or YouTube to reach a wider audience and help drive conversions.

4) Track Everything, Optimize, Repeat

As with any campaign, you want to track the key metrics for your video campaign including views, completed views, audience retention, engagements and conversions. Some platforms make it easier than others for you to do this and/or to do this using your tool of choice.

It does not need to be complicated – look for a clear visual depiction of your campaign:

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Similarly, some platforms make it easier than others to optimize to your KPI. The principles are the same as for any campaign – figure out what is working and do more of it; stop doing the things that are not working.

Wrapping It Up

These are just some of the tips to help you get started with video advertising.

With a little effort video ads can become an important and cost-effective business driver. Just create great video content, have a clear call to action, share your ads on relevant channels, and measure ad performance.

Video is how people are spending their time online, so start taking advantage of this rich medium and develop your own video advertising strategy.