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5 Digital Video Creative Tips For Entertainment Advertisers

Written by: Carolyn Berk, Content Marketing Associate

Note: The brands featured herein are meant to serve as compelling examples, and are not Nanigans customers unless expressly noted.

Video ads are tailor made for entertainment media brands looking to scale advertising ROI. They’re perfectly suited to capture people’s attention on mobile, tell a quick and compelling story, and inspire viewers to take action. In fact, due to the interactive nature and effectiveness of the medium, programmatic digital video ad spend is expected to top $7.43 billion by 2017 in the U.S. alone.

Of course, there are creative considerations that play into video advertising success. To drive subscriptions, content consumption, or high value app installs, keep these five rules in mind:

1. Follow the 3-Second Rule

The first three seconds of your video can make or break your paid social media campaign. In that short amount of time, viewers will decide if they’ll continue watching or if they’ll abandon your ad to keep exploring other content. Right from the start your video should include a strong hook to capture (and keep) attention.

Guilt Instagram Video Ad - Entertainment Video Ad Creative

This Instagram ad for the TV show Guilt immediately draws in viewers with striking and atmospheric shots from the series. High-quality video is especially vital when advertising on a visually-focused platform like Instagram. Within the first three seconds, viewers get a taste of the suspense, intrigue and drama of the series, keeping them interested enough to watch the rest of the ad — and the series premiere of Guilt.

2. Choose Thumbnails Wisely

You can’t afford to let your video’s thumbnail be an afterthought. Much of the time, video ads will begin auto-playing as soon as they come into view; however, auto-play is not a guarantee. Depending on mobile data connectivity and an individual’s app settings, ads may display as static thumbnails first. In this case, videos don’t start playing until someone taps the “play” button, so the thumbnail image becomes your best chance to catch someone’s eye. Try using colorful thumbnails that communicate what your video is all about. Also make sure to steer clear of frames from your video that show blurry mid-action scenes or people facing away from the viewer.

Hail Caesar Video Ad - Entertainment Video Ad Creative

This thumbnail for the movie “Hail, Caesar!” prominently features one of the film’s big stars, George Clooney, and gives viewers a sense of the movie’s style and humorous nature. In addition, the thumbnail features the title of the movie in the lower right hand corner, making the ad effective in promoting “Hail, Caesar” even when the accompanying video isn’t being played.

3. Optimize For Silence

In order not to disrupt the social media browsing experience, video ads generally auto-play with the audio turned off; viewers won’t hear anything until they click on the video itself. Because social media users may not take this action, you need to ensure that you can convey the value of your content even if it’s on mute.

Time Traveling Bong video ad - Entertainment Video Ad Creative

This Instagram video ad for the Comedy Central series Time Traveling Bong can be understood with or without sound. In fact, the concept of the show (and the ad) is so straightforward that all the video animation occurs in the background (changing to different periods throughout history) while the show’s stars remain static in the foreground. The plot of this stoner comedy is laid out so simply that audiences will be bound to understand it, regardless of whether or not they turn up the volume of this video ad.

4. Drive Toward Your Call-To-Action

To drive downstream behavior beyond mere views and impressions, your videos need a strong call-to-action (CTA). Make the desired action clear for users with CTA buttons that say things like “Learn More,””Watch More,” or “Sign Up.” To give viewers every opportunity to engage with your ad, you can also call attention to your CTA in the ad copy accompanying your video, and make use of in-video CTAs. Including a screen in your video dedicated to your CTA, or featuring an integrated verbal prompt is also something to consider.

Reuters - Entertainment Video Ad Creative

This Twitter video ad from Reuters is designed from every angle to drive viewers to download the company’s news app. Besides showing off the app’s functions and interface within the video itself, the ad also includes an accompanying “Install” CTA button, allowing Twitter users to go from viewing to actually downloading and using the app within a few clicks. The immediacy of action and outcome helps increase the likelihood of users actually converting on your ad instead of just passively viewing and moving on.

5. Add Value

If you want your audiences to sit through the entirety of your video ad, you need to entertain, educate, or inspire them. After all, people use social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to be entertained and learn about the world around them. Don’t be afraid to match your video ad creative to fit this context.

Refinery29 - Entertainment Video Ad Creative

This Facebook video ad from lifestyle destination Refinery29 adheres to the 3-second rule by creating a colorful and fun vibe — but keeps viewers watching the entire time thanks to its helpful tips and swimsuit styling demonstrations. An ad like this is irresistible on Facebook timelines thanks to its upbeat nature and handy fashion hacks.

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