By Becarren Schultz
The video format for brand storytelling is increasingly dominating the world of content marketing. Online videos started going mainstream in 2005 with the advent of YouTube. And since then, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have made the “viral video” a staple of our highly visual society.
This reality has created a terrific avenue for bank marketers to affordably and effectively engage new and prospective customers. However, for players new to the video marketing terrain, it can feel quite a daunting task the first time out of the gate.
To make the transition to video marketing more manageable, we’ve identified what others have done to successfully develop their banks’ cinematic social currency.
What are your driving goals?
First, let’s identify the overarching goals that should drive all social video creation.
- Gain attention. Goal one is to simply break through the clutter. Don’t forget, the uniquely competitive and entertaining context that defines social media includes a constant stream of puppies and babies. This is not an environment where people’s imaginations are held hostage.
- Motivate to action. No matter how entertaining your content is, you want to leave your viewer with a desire to do something or think something new about you. What is that? Is it clear? Does the entire story serve that purpose?
- Brand it. Remember all the Super Bowl parties you’ve attended where someone says, “Wow, that was the funniest commercial of the night. But wait, who and what was that for?” No matter how great your video is, you need to make it obvious who is responsible for sending the message. Never lose sight of your goal to make your bank known.
And now on to the best practices we’ve curated for you as you build your bank’s video library.
- Be consistent and easy to follow.
To ensure your bank receives proper credit for the video’s message, always prioritize consistency. Consistency of style, story, brand iconography and music within each execution—and across the entire campaign—will help strengthen your brand’s identity. This persistent consistency of visuals and messaging makes it easier for viewers to tie the content to the brand.
If an ad leaves it to viewers to make content/brand connection on their own, cognitive strain will occur. Viewers will have to work that much harder to understand how what they are seeing on screen fits with what they are hearing or reading. This extra work will likely produce elevated levels of confusion and distraction—and worse, might just cause the viewer to shut down the video completely.
Bottom line: Viewers on social media are lazy. Don’t make them work too hard!
- Strike a balance between execution and content.
When your bank’s video is placed in social media, the first few seconds are crucial. This is your big chance to hook the viewers and earn the right to get them engaged. As a result, many executions focus on delivering an immediate “wow moment” to grab attention. But what about everything after that? It is just as important to ensure your ad has strong content following the hook. Just because you’ve got someone’s attention does not guarantee ultimate brand impact.
The key is to find the appropriate balance between grabbing viewers’ attention and making the remaining content interesting. The more interested the viewer, the more enticed they will be to want to get to know the brand.
Bottom line: For social videos, strong execution without strong branded content is merely entertainment.
- Social video ads don’t have to be flashy to generate strong emotion and motivation.
Today, so many distractions keep us from focusing on one particular thing, let alone an ad. Because of this, there’s a common misconception that social videos need to be flashy or outlandish in order to be noticed—and that straightforward, rational information won’t capture and maintain attention. This is simply not the case. Rational, relevant information can be interesting and keep people engaged. Moreover, when social videos generate an emotional connection and share rational information, the audience is much more likely to act. This is great news for bank marketers in particular.
A great example of an ad striking a strong balance is this 56-second U.S. Bank social video, “Financial Advice for New Couples.” It effectively speaks to consumers on both a rational and emotional level by encouraging viewers to create an open dialogue with their partner about finances. Though the ad isn’t necessarily flashy, viewers relate to and believe the information presented and find it important. As a result, viewers exit the video feeling much more positively about U.S. Bank, leading to strong motivation.
Bottom line: The best social content speaks to the head (rational thought) and the heart (emotion).
- Compelling storytelling determines how long viewers will watch social videos.
Compelling storytelling is king when it comes to getting viewers to spend time with you. Content that rewards viewers by way of entertainment and delivery of relevant information warrants more time in viewers’ minds.
Take a look at this Bombas social video. Despite its 3-minute length, the spot maintains viewer attention to the very end. The brand has a clear role and generates positive goodwill for itself while presenting relevant information and, ultimately, motivates the audience to take action. Compelling storytelling at its finest.
Bottom line: There is no prevailing rule of thumb on how long a social video should be. Prioritize quality of the story over the length/duration of your ad.
Becarren Schultz is director of client development at Ameritest, a provider of branded content research and communications consulting services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.