3 Key Elements for Better Performing Video Content

/ Thoughtspace - Programmatic, Strategy

“Humans are incredibly visual and powerful, moving images help us find meaning…video helps capture and contextualize the world around us.”

– Dan Patterson, Digital Platform Manager for ABC News Radio

Digital video consumption is on the rise and forecasted to reach $12.66B by 2024. How are marketers adapting to changing consumer trends? Recent studies show that the increased ad spend towards digital is a worthy investment as video is the #1 preferred content form to see from brands on social media. Additionally, video has major down funnel implications with 71% of consumers who report purchasing a product or service after watching a brand’s video.

Compiling a quick video and using it across all channels, however, is not a strategy that drives results for businesses. Doing so without considering where and how long you have your audiences’ attention could mean you are wasting the resources and budget you have dedicated to this highly effective medium. Your video content must be intentional, authentic, and targeted to resonate with your audience.

So what goes into the best-performing video content? Here is a breakdown of our top strategies for getting the greatest exposure and driving the highest conversions with your digital video marketing and advertising content.

Time is money

With the recent popularity of short-form video platforms and formats like TikTok and Instagram Stories, expectations of and conversions from short-form video are now outperforming longer-form video. Brands have mere seconds to capture their audiences’ ever-shortening attention. According to a report by Analytic Partners, this shift has translated into much higher ROI for 6-second videos (127%) than it does 30-second videos (58%).



Long-format videos certainly have their place, but when designing ad campaigns, you’ll want to consider these numbers and make sure your content, regardless of length, catches attention immediately and keeps your audience captivated throughout. 

Shortened viewing times also means that in order for the viewer to see your product and brand, you need to make sure they both appear within the first few seconds. Otherwise, they will likely scroll away before they know who you are and what you have to offer.

Shortened viewing times also means that in order for the viewer to see your product and brand, you need to make sure they both appear within the first few seconds. Otherwise, they will likely scroll away before they know who you are and what you have to offer.

Meet your audiences where they are

Not all video viewing experiences are the same, especially when you consider the difference between desktop and mobile viewing.  Penthera reports that 74% of consumers are watching video content on their mobile device or tablet, where the standard horizontal video appears much smaller and allows other content to be displayed along with it. With multiple items on the screen competing for attention, the viewer may decide to continue on to the next item instead of consuming the entirety of your ad. To combat this, consider framing your videos vertically so the video fills the screen and is easier for your viewers to see and focus on.

Also, considering that 92% of consumers now watch video on mobile with sound off, designing ads to be seen and understood without audio has become crucial. This could be telling your story entirely through visual elements or adding closed captioning to the final product. According to a report from Verizon Media and Publicis Media, “when captions are available, 37% of viewers said they are encouraged to turn the sound on because the videos seem more interesting, and 29% said that even with the sound off, they were better able to understand the video because of the captioning.” With that in mind, incorporating captions, something that is automatically offered by most video platforms, could be an easy way to boost the ROI of a video campaign without increasing your campaign budget.

Be a story-teller, not a movie director

The single most impactful component of video performance is the creative. An Analytic Partners study found70% of the potential ROI comes from the creative itself.” This does not mean, however, that you “push out Oscar Award-winning video content for every commercial or video,” as our Account Strategy Director, Maggie Gotszling, said when asked about her recommendation for improving video performance. There are baseline levels of quality that must be achieved with good video (decent resolution, good lighting and audio), but the key for video performance is the ability to capture the viewer’s attention with visual interest and a strategically designed story.

In a recent publication, The Lab outlines several principles to consider while strategically designing your video content. There were three on their list we think work together well to deliver high impact approaches for improved campaign performance and ROI:

  • Be short and succinct
  • Flip the standard storytelling arc
  • Build visual interest with eye-catching graphics.

Short and succinct messaging serves two purposes – 1) making sure the viewer has a chance to consume the message fully before they scroll past it and 2) ensuring your messaging is clear and memorable, leaving no room for misunderstanding or confusion. If the video has too much fluff, pulls your viewer in too many directions, or goes on too long, you risk losing their attention to other content or activities.

When you shorten the message, you will also want to consider rearranging the story arc of your script so that the most engaging piece comes first. Historical story arcs take their time – first establishing key elements and players before building to an energetic conflict and eventually resolving the issue at the end. To grab and keep your viewers attention with video advertising, however, you’ll want to flip it so that the story begins with the high energy moment and concludes shortly after. This will “slow the scroll” of your viewer and hold their attention more effectively. If your video needs to be on the longer side, you can add multiple twists and turns throughout to continue piquing and sustaining interest the entire length of the piece.

Another way to help grab your viewers attention and keep it is to add visual interest with eye-catching graphics and fast-moving edits, especially at the top of the video content. Our eyes are naturally drawn to things that move quickly, so adding this to the design of your final video will also contribute to scroll-slowing for your audience. When you combine these cuts with the shorter message and flipped story arc, you will have done the bulk of the needed work to hook your audience and lay the foundation for conversion.

Key Takeaways: 

  • Time is money: Get to the core of your message and display your branding/offering as soon as you can.  If a longer video is required, make sure you design the messaging in a way that keeps your viewers attention for as long as possible (see Takeaway #3).
  • Meet your audience where they are: Design the frame and contents of the video to be viewed on mobile devices – cropping the frame vertically instead of horizontally and rely on visual storytelling and/or include closed captioning.
  • Be a story-teller, not a movie director: After reaching basic technical quality standards, focus your efforts on crafting an effective story arc. Start it off with a bang and include surprising twists and turns to keep your audience’s attention for as long as possible.

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