“How to Make a Video Ad (the easy way)”

Years ago I went to a writing seminar and the speaker opened his presentation with a joke about attendees wanting to know the secret of how to become a best-selling author: He said: “Write a best-selling book.”

He got a good laugh from the audience.

Similarly, when creating video ads, those who are involved in the process desire them to be effective. And many business owners or client representatives want them produced for as little cost as possible. More pragmatic business owners and marketers may just want to see positive results for their video expenditures.

Hence, the idea that there is an easy way to make video ads is a compelling concept, even if the above title is more suited to generating clicks than predicting real-world video ad success.

Nevertheless, this does not suggest that the information in the above video is not beneficial. The following points it outlines are indeed worthy of respect.

  • Empathize with your customers
  • Evoke emotion
  • Focus on benefits, not features
  • Speak to your niche
  • Avoid ‘waffle’
  • Promote a call-to-action
  • Make your ad feel native

But it’s also probable that the speaker in the video, however well-intentioned, may never have run an ad with his own money for his own business.

The idea behind the term “easy” is oftentimes marketing-speak for “it’s not.” Or stated another way, it’s analogous to writing a best-selling book. Or any book. It’s considerable work whether it becomes a best-seller or not.

Representing all the above points in a video can still result in a video ad that loses money. Conversely, neglecting some of the points can yield great success. For example, big-brand advertising often does not emphasize product benefits or features and may not have a call-to-action. Check out this Nike TV ad, and notice how it’s not presented as an ad at all. Yet it does a reasonably good job of evoking emotion and generating a favorable impression for their brand. And — spoiler alert — it’s not inexpensive.

The most basic info not represented in the above “How to Make a Video Ad” is avoiding the #1 error in TV commercial and video production, and specifically, message testing. Testing is antithetical to the title and basic point of the video above: it’s not only work, but it’s added labor on top of the fundamental efforts of writing, producing and editing the ad.

And yet testing messaging before even writing the script can be essential to informing optimal messaging and eventual success. And then testing variations of the messaging can help to refine the video development before committing larger resources towards paying to get it viewed.

Having said that, a lack of testing may not be enough of a reason to not produce videos at all. But the actual shooting of the video is only one part of the writing, production and editing process.

In brief, there’s a lot more to the “writing” part of the process than is indicated in the above presentation on “easy” video ads.

Even more basic to the process of creating video ads is how does it fit in to your existing marketing and advertising strategy?

Like anything else in life, the best way to find out is to try. Or, in relation to creating videos: to get started. Your first video ad may or not be a great success, but you’ll be better informed for your next one.