How We Made Video Ads That Convert

By Cameron McCool on
How We Made Video Ads That Convert

This month we experimented with video advertising. While it’s a little too early for us to report on the campaign as a whole, the results we’ve seen in the two weeks since it’s launch have blown us away.

Compared to image and text ads, here’s how video advertising has performed to date:

  • Reduced the cost of acquiring a new client by 28%
  • Increased new signups to Bench by 33%

The viewer retention rate on our new videos has also skyrocketed to 91%, up from 61% on our first product video!

Needless to say, we’re tremendously excited with the results so far and thought we’d take the opportunity to share how we made the video, so you can start experimenting (and succeeding) with video ads as well.

First, Take a Look at the New Videos

Take a look at the new videos and get a feel for the style and format we used:

How We Made Videos That Convert

Here’s what we did to give our video ads a better shot at converting viewers to Bench clients.

Keep It Short

Our initial intention was to produce two versions of each video: 30s and two minutes in duration.

When it came down to the edit, we realized that producing a compelling two-minute video that people would be excited to watch would require more pre-planning and time to get right.

In the future we’ll experiment with longer video ads, but for this round we decided to focus our efforts on producing killer 30-second versions.

Aim for High Quality, Low Cost

Because we weren’t certain how well video ads would work for Bench, we aimed to keep costs as low as possible for our first attempts while preserving our minimum quality standards.

To achieve this:

  • We managed the pre-production (scripting, casting, location scouting, and storyboarding) ourselves.
  • We featured Bench employees in our videos. This helped us to convey authenticity and avoid the cost of hiring actors.
  • We filmed in our office and worked almost exclusively with natural light during the shoot.

All of this was supported by the great working relationship we share with Paper Crane Creative. They were happy to let us be extremely hands on with the project from start to finish, and they worked with us to proactively find ways to keep production costs to a minimum.

Keeping costs low allowed us to treat the process as an experiment and the videos as disposable if they didn’t end up working out (which, thankfully, they did).

Make the First Five Seconds Count

Viewers are bombarded with videos on Youtube and Facebook. We knew that the first five seconds of our videos needed to be really exciting. To do this, we placed a compelling hook right at the beginning of each video.

What users hear in the first five seconds of Jen’s video: “Every entrepreneur has such a different story, but they all need to deal with bookkeeping.”

What users hear in the first five seconds of Luke’s video: “Bookkeeping is inevitable. Allowing Bench to handle it for you will enable you to focus…”

These hooks speak directly to the pain points of our target audience.

The takeaway? Create a gripping intro sequence to get viewers invested up front.

Venture Off Script

People will often deliver their best lines on camera when they’re not working from a script. We knew this, but we also needed our interview subjects, Jen and Luke, to deliver key messages about Bench.

To get the best out of our interviewees during the shoot, we developed a list of interview questions and scripted the answers we wanted Jen and Luke to deliver. During the first few takes we recorded everything using the script and made sure that we’d caught each of the scripted lines we wanted to have on hand during the edit.

Then, we asked Jen and Luke to answer the same interview questions using their own words.

Some of the best, most authentic delivery came from the moments we ventured off script. They spoke candidly, they answered from the heart, and it produced a greater sense of authenticity and connection with the camera and, ultimately, the viewer.

The Results

It’s still too early for us to make definite conclusions, but two weeks into the campaign this is what we’ve seen so far:

  • The cost of acquiring a new client is 28% cheaper
  • New sign ups to Bench have increased by 33%

Needless to say, we’re thrilled with the results and we’re investing in scaling this area of our marketing.

Distribution

We shared the finished videos on Facebook and Youtube. So far, most of the new signups have come from Facebook, while the majority of views have happened on YouTube.

Youtube seems to be a better medium for awareness and branding. Facebook has allowed us to connect with our audience through a different medium, making it a better platform for converting viewers directly into customers.

User Feedback

As a side note, we had some fun reactions from some of our more vocal followers on social media.

For example, someone on Facebook mentioned that Jen was too good looking to be a believable employee.


To prove that Jen truly is a Bench employee, we took a photo of her holding Zoe (our office dog). Both of them are wearing Bench t-shirts.

 

We hope these insights have given you some ideas and the confidence to produce video ads for your business. We’re still experimenting with the medium, but if you have any questions or advice on the process, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

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