A Checklist of 8 Best Practices for Successful Video Campaigns There is a lot you have to do right to produce an effective video ad but, happily, having a big budget is not a necessity.

By Rocco Baldassarre

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Video ads are an effective, low cost opportunity for businesses to get visibility, improve their branding and generate leads. The most effective video ads are based on a variety of best practices to comply with general advertising principles. Here are eight best practices to get you started on the right foot.

1. Define your audience before creating the video

Instead of creating one general ad for the sake of running a video campaign, there should be one video per target group. Examples could be existing customers, people who are familiar with your service but have never purchased or people unfamiliar with what it is you do.

Each video should show what convinces the different audiences to buy from you over your competitors. This may be a small detail, such as rephrasing a sentence or a series of completely different videos that target different lifestyles and geographical areas.

Related: Using Online Video to Market Your Business

2. Get to the point quickly

The first five seconds will make or break the success of your video ads. One way to double check whether you got the beginning right or not is to pretend that your entire ad lasts only five seconds. If something is missing, such as the price, edit it until you get across your main point within the tight five second time frame.

While the beginning should catch the viewers' attention and include a call to action, the rest of the ad should be informative and reinforce what you already mentioned, without being repetitive.

3. Keep it short and simple

Users usually skip ads to get to the video they originally wanted to watch. Ads that perform well are typically no longer than 30 seconds, which is just under the maximum time most people will pay attention before skipping to the content they wanted. Long video ads that cannot be skipped often backfire by associating negative feelings with the brand.

To make the most of short video ads, engage potential customers by encouraging them to go to the website or landing page for more information or coupons.

4. Use remarketing lists to identify a target audience

Remarketing campaigns target potential customers who visited your landing page or website but never converted. Choosing remarketing lists as a target audience will likely be a profitable decision, due to high conversion rates and low cost. To maximize the effectiveness, create a variety of remarketing lists based on what products or services your potential customers looked at in the past.

Additionally, remarketing helps your company become a top-of-mind choice and that increases sales in the long-run. Depending on the life-time value of a customer, remarketing lists as audiences can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Related: The Revolution of Video Advertising

5. Test YouTube and display placements on Google AdWords

AdWords for video allows you to display ads both on YouTube and partner sites, also referred to as Display Network. You should test both options, since both can be profitable. More often than not, one of these options will be more profitable, but at the same time, the other option might outperform those numbers by providing significantly more traffic.

6. Use a voice over

Many YouTube viewers use the site while they are doing something else and don't pay close attention to the video. Expand your video ad with a voiceover that could be a stand-alone radio ad.

Keep in mind that the purpose of videos, first and foremost, is generating profitable sales. Instead of spending time on making the video visually appealing, invest time in perfecting things like the audio aspect. Improve what's already working.

7. Test different components of your video

Create different versions of your videos for each target audience, then implement a split testing schedule with a concrete strategy for what will be split tested when. For continuous improvement, build a system that helps to identify the best video and create versions of that. Choose the top performing ad, create versions of that and compare it to the previous winner. Repeat this cycle enough times to accumulate sufficient data to make an informed decision.

While it seems fairly obvious that the most profitable ad would be the base for the first round of variations, you first must determine what the characteristics of such a video are. The video ad with the highest conversion rate might be the lowest cost per conversion with low traffic while other ads might have a higher cost per conversion but a vast amount of quality traffic.

The first five seconds are of utmost importance. That will most likely determine how many of the people who watch the full ad will convert. Prioritize the first five seconds for any split testing efforts. Other components to split test include audio, call to action and music.

8. Test several audiences in AdWords

Set up one ad group per audience with a small budget for testing purposes and monitor the data closely. Marketing departments with fixed budgets, and businesses that rely on suppliers or sales teams, benefit immensely from focusing their entire, limited budget exclusively on the most profitable audiences.

In order to avoid missing out on future opportunities, set dates for regular quality control checks to test new audiences.

Creating and running video campaigns is fairly easy, but unless pre-defined audiences are used, you are unlikely to maximize the return on investment and customer experience. Creating a scalable video campaign structure may be time consuming but there is no need to start with a large budget.

On the other hand side, video ads can be highly profitable when set up the right way. Refining them is something every business should look into.

Related: Moving Beyond the Banner Ad

Rocco Baldassarre

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Writer

Founder & CEO of Zebra Advertisement & 1DollarAd.com

Rocco Baldassarre is a digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder of the award-winning digital marketing agency Zebra Advertisement and the youngest Google Partners All-Stars Winner at the age of 24.

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