Videos are the best way to advertise your products and services, especially on social media, where there are billions of videos viewed daily. The problem is, without mastering the skillful art of scriptwriting, your videos can be a total flop.
What’s the Optimum Length For a Video Ad?
The first thing you should understand about script writing for ads is the optimum length for engagement. Wistia recently conducted a study on the optimal video length for modern viewers based on 564,710 videos and more than 1.3 billion plays. The survey found videos between 30 seconds and two minutes got a ton of engagement. After that, every second started to decrease the engagement rate, until about 7 minutes. Until 13 minutes, there seemed to be a sweet spot where viewers stayed engaged. After this, though, the rate of people dropping off increased by the moment.
Now, keep in mind that a large portion of screen time will be taken up with visual storytelling. Your text should account for only part of of the overall video length of two minutes or less. Compress what you need to say to fit within these limits whenever possible. This will ensure the highest engagement levels.
Two Options for Writing
Now, what do you do if you are skillful enough in making videos, but still not confident in your writing? You could hire a professional writer using services like Fiverr, Essay Writer Pro or Upwork. Or you could do everything by yourself using the tips below.
Have You Heard of This Little Writing Trick?
In writing, we have this trick we like to use called “frontloading.” This is when you place the most important part of your text at the beginning. It’s great for e-mail, blog headers, other marketing content, and works especially well in scriptwriting for video ads. Here’s why: In video advertising, you need to have a strong call to action (CTA). Since engagement rates will drop as time goes on, it is a good idea to make mention of your CTA before the end of your video – ideally within the first 10 seconds. You don’t have to execute your final CTA at the beginning, but verbally or visually mention what it will be for those viewers that just don’t want to watch the entire video. This way, if those people want to take you up on your offer, they can figure it out for themselves.
This Apple Music video on Youtube shows Taylor Swift accessing the app from her iPhone at the five-second mark. They’ve even got a little pop-up displaying the CTA at the bottom of the screen. If a viewer moves away here, they still know what they can do. At the end of the video we see the final CTA, “Get three free months now,” for a second time. This is an excellent example of well-executed frontloading in a video.
This is What to Remember When Constructing Your Message
As you begin to write your script, you need to write as if you’re having a conversation with one person: the viewer of your video. From this perspective, you will leave out mentioning your company and services as much as possible. Write about the value that following your CTA will create.
The current consumer market expects personalization; it’s what consumers crave. Personalization gives people a sense of control over their experience of the Internet and the world around them. So, rather than say, “Brand ABC offers X to their customers,” you should say, “Experience the benefits of X.” As soon as you can integrate a personalized experience to viewers through your video text, you will have mastered the foundation of great scriptwriting.
People Hate Advertising – Here’s What They Love
Another thing you need to understand about consumers today is that they absolutely despise advertising. The fact that, in just five years, the amount of people using ad blocking software increased by 177 million users can attest to that. Don’t let this scare you off, though. There’s something they love that you can leverage in your videos to make up for the fact that you’re advertising.
People love storytelling. So, rather than get in their face with spammy advertisements, you should consider telling a story that touches on your target audience’s pain points. The Harvard Business Review posted a great article that explains how people are motivated by stories. According to their research, we even produce chemical reactions (oxytocin production) that can lead us to take action when viewing a compelling video.
Be in Alignment With Your Brand Persona
When writing for videos, you can use anything from humor to educational content, and anything in between, as long as you are in alignment with your brand. The reason for this is that you are building a relationship with your audience, and they learn to expect a certain persona to show up. Martha Stewart’s fans wouldn’t feel right if Will Ferrel’s persona came pouring through her one day out of nowhere. Being in alignment with your brand will help make your videos more believable.
How to Leverage Emotional Language for Shares and Sales
People engage when they feel something. What is the purpose of your video ad? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Do you want to sell something? The emotions you trigger will play a huge part in how your viewers convert.
When increasing brand awareness, your CTA will probably be to “share” your video. So, which emotions make people want to share? According to Jonah Berger, a social psychologist/ researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, there are specific emotions that will trigger social sharing more than others. This is his breakdown: awe, excitement, amusement (humor), anger, and anxiety will make us more likely to share something, while contentment and sadness will make us somewhat likely to share.
When selling, you’re likely going to ask viewers to shop. The emotions triggered when you want shares are going to be completely different than the emotions triggered when you want sales. Torok.com says that there are five emotional triggers that make people want to buy. They are love, pride, guilt, fear and greed.
Use the chart above as a point of reference when you are creating videos with the goal of shares or sales, and write with the intention of triggering the correlating feelings. Only use one emotion at a time, unless you want viewers to be confused instead, which won’t increase any type of conversion.
When scripting your video ads, keep your dialogue brief, and frontload the most important part of your message in the very first part of your videos. Write as if you’re speaking to one person as you craft engaging storylines. Be in alignment with your brand persona, and make use of emotional language to trigger your viewers.
Janice Kersh is a freelance writer, who’s constantly searching for the new ways to enhance her writing. She has recently started a blog of her own – Janice Writing – where she likes to share some of her writing secrets. Apart from that, Janice loves traveling, reading, cooking and surfing the Internet.
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