When creating a brand new video asset, thought always has to go into the purpose and eventual format(s). But this can go very wrong if you don’t plan for it from the start. Let’s look at why this is and how to get it right while maximising value.

So you’ve created your video asset – you’re good to go… right?

  • A TV commercial dropped onto a YouTube ad will fall flat.
  • An online promo is not a good Insta story.
  • And a 2-minute explainer video will tank on TikTok.

So, how can we get more value from your video by utilising all of the platforms at our disposal?

Diminishing attention spans

We live in a world of diminished attention spans. If you’re still reading this, you’ve already been reading for longer than the average attention span… which is only 8 seconds.

The average person has more choices of entertainment channels and platforms than ever before, and more choices of when they watch them.

If you fail to capture your audience in that time, you've lost your chance to convert a potential customer. So what can you do about it?

People are being sold to across more platforms, with greater frequency and targeting than ever before. Online advertising is a brutal and crowded market, and it is essential that you plan for it accordingly.

The general audience will ignore you, scroll past and flat-out skip your commercial if you haven’t considered how to hit your target audience on that platform. 

There is no one size fits all solution. The way to combat this is simple… start at the end.

So, who is your target audience?

You have already planned to create a video asset to sell your product or service, so (if you've worked with us!) you already understand who you are targeting. 

We know who your audience is: age, location, stage of life, spending power, interests, challenges etc., but we need to look at which social channels they use and how they engage with them.

That means asking:

  • What are they searching for?
  • What are they talking about online?
  • What hashtags do they use?
  • What type of content do they engage with?
  • Which platforms do they use?

Examples of platforms would be:

  • ‘Traditional’ TV commercial -linear.
  • Video on Demand via services like ITV Player or SKY VOD.
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat

Getting the platform right

Each of these platforms has its own unique demographics that we’d need to consider. It’s likely you’d exclude some of these platforms purely based on those facts alone. 

For example, 77% of Snapchat users in the UK are aged between 18 and 24, so if your target audience is aged 55+, then it’s not the optimal platform for you.

Each platform also has its own unique ways of delivering assets to its audience. From the practical side, in terms of frame size and orientation through to limited durations and non-skippable intros.

In each instance, this should be part of your planning from the start. You need to be considering how best to get engagement from your target audience.

For example, a 30-second TV commercial may not work as well as a YouTube pre-roll.

YouTube (Google) have hundreds of articles on best-practice for commercials to be successful on their platform that are based on real results.

With a standard YouTube pre-roll commercial, the viewer cannot skip the commercial onto the video they want to watch for the first 5-seconds.

YouTube’s advice on this point is to front-load the video with so much intrigue that the viewer finds it very hard to skip it. So the video itself could be 2 mins long or more, but if that first 5 seconds isn’t right then your video is DOA.

In comparison, a 30-second TV commercial has a more flat attention distribution with a set amount of messages to convey across a relatively short duration. It’s sandwiched between other commercials, so consideration is made to compete for attention amongst the crowd.

As it has been made for broadcast, it also means that it has been cleared for broadcast (via Clearcast), which has far more restrictions on what can be claimed when compared to online commercials.

A real-world example that we’ve dealt with recently: A TV commercial we produced was a fairly soft-sell brand commercial. The client wanted to use the asset as a YouTube pre-roll ad.

We recommended writing and shooting an alternate intro to the commercial to create a more bespoke solution for that platform. The intro would ask a question and have more intrigue than the TV commercial version so that the commercial would have more impact and resonance with that platform and audience.

So about 95% of the actual content is identical, but that small consideration in the planning will have a big impact on the success of the YouTube version.

That’s a wrap

Before I leave you, a few other considerations:

  • Average duration? [Generally even faster than TV commercials]
  • Screen orientation – portrait, landscape, square?
  • Shooting for portrait is definitely one that is MUCH easier when you’re aware of it in the planning.
  • Screen size. Does a smaller size mean there are some shots that aren’t as effective?
  • Audio. Likely muted on some platforms (e.g. Instagram) Do you combat that with subtitles/captions to get key points across? Definitely one that needs planning!
  • How is the asset delivered to the audience? As in, is it skippable? Is it on a scrolling platform? Is it pre-roll?

So, while getting an ad out there might be the next best step forward for your brand, it’s wise to consider where you’re going to place your ad – and how it’s going to be reused. Try and pop yourself in the shoes of the viewer and work out where your audience is.

It’s fine if you’re going straight to TV, but do you need to capture the social media audience too? Don’t forget that a lot of people scroll their social media pages while the ads are running during a TV show anyway, so why not try and catch them there?

I guess all I’m saying is plan ahead because if you don’t… well, then it could be costly.