10 Ways to Create a Stand Out 15 Second Ad
If you’re looking to produce a 15 second ad that makes an impact, it’s worth remembering:
46% of people think ads say ads shouldn’t be longer than 15 seconds.
56% of people end up wanting to skip them anyway. (MarTech)
The 15 second video ad is the new commercial break, a lot of people hate them, most skip them, and some enjoy them more than the content themselves. (We’re not sure why).
Everyone has one or two adverts that always come to mind. The gems in the competitive cluster of digital ad clutter. Maybe they made you laugh, made you think, caught you off guard, and got you a little bit emotional.
Possibly it was just that jingle that was frustratingly too catchy.
The ads that you didn’t mind watching over and over again.
Many websites that run short video ads such as YouTube and Facebook have made up to 15 seconds completely un-skippable. While marketers rejoice everywhere, this makes the bar needs to high as you will be fighting a negative impression from the get-go when viewers are forced into watching your video ads.
Here are 10 ways to ensure your 15-second ad will get viewers to not miss that skip button (with examples).
1. Capture attention immediately
Aesthetic images, popping colours, and interesting sounds.
Use the first 3 seconds of your video ad to grab your audience’s attention. Think about how you can create instant brand awareness. Those initial moments can determine whether someone’s focus will be held by the advertisement, or completely distracted from the video.
This is the first step of the AIDA framework (attention, interest, decision action). The framework for creating engaging video content that captures attention, creates interest, generates desire and drives conversions through action.
But be careful, 15 second ads are a little different. Due to their compact nature everything runs a lot quicker. Attention is crucial as there’s very little time to generate interest or desire in a 15 second video, so audiences need to be hooked from the start.
So get creative and think about how you can communicate your message in a pithy and punchy way.
2. Don’t overload your audience.
Your video ads are going to need to stand out from the crowd.
You need to create an eye-catching advert but you don’t want the focus of your video to get lost with everything that’s going on. That’s why our second piece of advice is ‘don’t overload’.
There’s no point investing in advertising if your video isn’t going to cut through and make a lasting impression. This won’t happen if your customers feel bombarded with images, noise and a brash call to action.
If there are too many ideas happening in a 15 second advert, chances are you might create a sensory overload for your audience – essentially leading into a negative experience and detracting from your CTA. (Especially with repeat plays).
Try to aim for something in the middle, whether it’s simplistic bold product shots or a single frame micro-story. Even action scenes aren’t off limits, but make sure it’s not noisy and distracting.
Think about how you put together the sound design so that your viewers are compelled to watch. Successful video ads are not verbose or deafening, but well-balanced to ensure that the focus stays relevant to your marketing goals.
3. Inspire curiosity
Create video ads that reward the viewer for watching. That means, tell a story.
Whether your advert is poignant, entertaining or packs a punch, evoking an emotion can help you to deliver something positive.
Get the viewer intrigued by your story and you’ll have great engagement levels that could make all the difference to your sales.
You don’t need much time to be persuasive, helping to increase buyer intent and brand favorability.
4. Sound design sells
Whether it’s the awe-inspiring sounds of nature or that crisp click and fizz of a coke being opened. Sounds invoke emotion and can be a powerful way to grab attention.
A great soundtrack and satisfying sound effects can increase memorability too. It also adds character to your videos which is important for brand image and recall.
If a viewer has a positive interaction with your advertisement, it can be helpful for strengthening your CTA.
In this example, the video format was all about elevating the simplistic visual style. When it comes to the soundscapes there’s fresh hot coffee being poured. Satisfying ASMR clicks create a positive connection with the product design. A conclusion of positive affirmation with a short, straightforward product demo.
It’s the sound design that sells this particular piece of advertising.
5. Break the 4th wall
Execution and clever writing are important for video ads.
Depending on the tone of voice for your brand, we think breaking the fourth wall is a creative and strong option for engaging directly with your potential customers.
Worst case scenario for videos with direct address, is that the ends up being feeling a little bit cheesy. However, if done right it can turn out to be an incredibly charming way to connect with your audience.
Try to avoid forcing comedy or being overdramatic. Most importantly, keep the product offering short to stay true to the joke. Take a look at this example for how breaking the fourth wall can be a create a fantastic idea for your campaign.
6. Keep the video straightforward
Time is short and attention is limited. Knowing that, the most effective communication you can get out to a consumer in 15 seconds is going to have to be straightforward and simplistic.
Convey one idea in your video while supporting it thoroughly. Trying to cram in too much information will just dilute the strength of the whole ad.
By concentrating on one key point, you are also able to keep content focused on your intended target audience.
7. Avoid shock factor
Whilst we love a story structure, 15 seconds isn’t a lot of time.
Short video ads with a shock factor can inspire important change, or spark some excitement. But when you only have a few seconds to capture and sustain viewer interest, you don’t have any time for build up or conclusion. Viewers aren’t expecting the shock in 15-second videos and are left with no closure.
Instead, irritation with their misplaced feelings may be placed on the brand instead. Not to mention, even successful shock advertising campaigns don’t always drive sales.
Take a look at this video:
How does it make you feel? It definitely is gripping, but does it make you want to sign up, support the cause, or move away from the video as soon as possible? Have a look to see what ads resonate with you and your prospective customers. Have they been able to successfully shock you and win you over, all in the space of 15 seconds?
8. Utilise Brand placement
When time is limited, brand awareness and memory retention become a primary advertising goal.
Effective 15-second ads have their brand and products on screen at least 50% of the time – that’s 7.5seconds of your video ad at least!
The viewer should know at all times what the brand is and how it connects to the product or service. And essentially how it relates to your story. A disconnect will lead to the message not fully being delivered and overall weak brand recognition.
Whether the brand placement is in the background or even a watermark throughout the video. Awareness is a key factor that exponentially benefits with multiple views. This an easy way and efficient way to help you get the most of of your advertising.
What’s more, make sure your video ads are visible online, on your website, YouTube channel and other marketing platforms that your company use. Cross fertilising your video ad will help to access more viewers, further strengthening the success of the advertisement and your brand placement.
9. Make em laugh
Ads under 30 seconds really have a strong preference for humour over long formats. 15 seconds is more than enough time to get one, possibly two strong jokes that connect.
This can be brand-dependent but it’s an effective way of getting your ads to stand out. The creative limitations of having 15 seconds can inspire incredible, albeit, unusual ways of connecting with an audience.
Here’s a great example of a snappy but entertaining short video ad that we think hits the mark:
10. Optimise for the platform
Make sure your video is optimised for online and mobile. This will help your call to action land properly and ensure engagement doesn’t change cross-platform.
For most mobile social media, vertical or square videos are a must as that’s how we hold our devices. A 4:5 aspect ratio is particularly effective for Facebook and Instagram.
85% of Facebook videos are watched without any sound so keep that in mind through the whole ideation process for the video, add subtitles to make that more accessible. For social media, think about visual storytelling and how your message is communicated when your mobile is on mute.
Pre-roll YouTube adverts are a great place for online marketing, but be warned, they’re super easy to skip and you may only have 5 seconds before you’ve lost your viewer. Same with Instagram, will your opening statement and visual be enough to stop the user from scrolling?
YouTube allows you to link to channels or other videos by clicking on parts of a video. A great way to engage with an audience through the content and also helps in making the ad actionable. So make sure when you upload your advert to your channel it’s linked to the relevant landing page on your website.
Instagram can have video’s link directly to a shop page, bringing the call to action incredibly close to the viewer. Prioritizing capturing attention here would be even more crucial to drive sales.
If you’re producing a TV commercial, your video production company should be able to advise you on how to format your video. They’ll have tons of tips on how to get the most out of your marketing budget.
Whatever your marketing goals and budget, get creative and find ways to engage your prospective customers by optimising for every single platform.
By Thom Choice