Many small companies have heard the advice that they should try video marketing on YouTube or Facebook—and lots of them are following it. Among marketers and agency executives, 68% expected to increase their digital video ad spending in the next 12 months, according to a study released in April by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and conducted by research firm Advertiser Perceptions.
But producing videos requires time and money. My company, GlassView, runs a software platform for social video sharing. I have found that many videos aren’t worth making. Either they don’t achieve important marketing goals, like raising brand awareness or attracting sales, or they are poorly executed.
Often, the best way to learn what works and what doesn’t is to take a look at the videos that other marketers are using. Here are some examples of videos made by companies of varying sizes and my feedback on them, to help you improve on your own videos. The first two are from small and midsize companies. The latter two are from big corporations. All hold some valuable lessons if you want to try video marketing.
DYNOMIGHTY’S "Mighty Stash Bag"
As a small business, DYNOMIGHTY does not have an unlimited budget to make its videos but has been successful in creating some videos that have gotten millions of views. This relatively new video on the Mighty Stash Bag has made a strong showing so far, generating more than 132,000 views to date.
Key takeaways: DYNOMIGHTY hasn’t skimped on production quality. The presentation feels professional, almost like an editorial review for a TV magazine. Although the video is less than one minute long, DYNOMIGHTY makes it easy for potential customers to see the merits of the product and to learn how to buy it.
Dollar Shave Club's "Security" Commercial
This video pokes fun at how hard it is for consumers to buy razors, which are kept under lock and key at many stores. I think this sendoff on how razor shoppers are treated like criminals is brilliant: Short, sweet and to the point.
Key takeaway: This video evokes strong emotion in the form of humor, which is possible to do on any size budget. My brother and I watched it together and both of us laughed out loud. It is also “on brand,” a factor that is important if you plan to develop a video series. Dollar Shave Club, a midsize firm, has stayed consistent with the branding it created with earlier viral hits as the company has grown.
Mott's "Passionate Lunchmaking"
I love how this video pokes fun at the modern day pressure to be super parent. The story line is about a mother who gives up on making elaborate lunches for her kids—like little sushi sandwiches—when she realizes they won’t eat them. Her children are happier when she tosses them a Mott’s applesauce. Because this video taps into emotions many parents are feeling today, it doesn’t surprise me that it got millions of views online.
Key takeaway: As additional research conducted by Advertiser Perceptions found, the traditional 15 second or 30 second commercial is not as relevant as it once was. It’s more important to create a “world” for your brand that exists outside of the actual product or service you’re selling. This ad is a good case in point: It is one minute and 20 seconds but it is so funny it would be hard to get bored watching it.
Samsung's "Hearing Hands - Touching" AD
This video to advertise Samsung’s Video Call Center for Hearing Impaired People is a mixed bag. I got emotional when I watched it. But at 2 minutes and 45 seconds, it feels very long. It takes a while before the viewer can understand the connection between the story and Samsung’s technology. Visually, there is a gritty and grainy quality to the video that gives it a low-budget feel. I found that distracting.
Key takeaways: Making the purpose of the video clearer from the start would give the story more impact. A simple fix like an early caption that explains what is happening would make a world of difference. This is a case where investing in better video production quality would result in a big improvement in the viewer’s experience. Advertiser Perceptions’ research indicated that many marketers see video as a tool for viewer engagement—and if a video is hard to watch because of poor production quality, that benefit goes out the window.