Compelling video ads and how to make them

3 min read

How to make compelling video ads is knowledge no business owner can be without today — love ‘em or hate ‘em, video ads are everywhere. Some are tripe and some are treacle, but they’re inescapable.

In fact, there’s so much marketing, so much content, that we can easily find ourselves diving into our own distractions like music or videos to escape the noise, and focus on what we like.

But chances are, where’er you take refuge from the era of information, there are still ads to be found.

If you’re the average consumer, c’est la vie. We’ve grown accustomed to this and we’re finding ways to adapt to this lifestyle.

But for the entrepreneur, for the business owner, for the marketing team, it poses a challenge. With so many ads and so much content, how does anyone make an ad that’s compelling?

You know, an ad that renders your heart vulnerable, an ad that stays in the mind and drives action, an ad worth spending $5 million on during the Super Bowl?

Believe it or not, the answer is in longer video ads. We’ll break it down here in this post, but before that, a quick message from our sponsor:

Compelling video ads: image of a giraffe's face
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

Just kidding.

Longer, not shorter?

It’s common thinking that given the busy-ness of online spaces, your ads have to be short, succinct, and right to the point.

It had to be so because if your ad wasn’t grabbing attention as fast as it could, the audience’s attention would go out the window sooner than you can say “Alexa, what’s the weather?”, because attention spans are shrinking.

As it is now, all of video content has moved towards shorter videos. In the link, HuffPost calls people the speed daters of storytelling. We’ve become accustomed to shorter videos and faster consumption.

But it looks like things are changing. Given that the short-video market is so heavily saturated, people are looking for more meaningful content. And that’s often taking form in longer videos, which allow for deeper storytelling.

But longer videos aren’t something anybody can switch to all willy-nilly. The type of compelling video content people are looking for has to be of incredibly quality, and have incredible storytelling.


Compelling video ads: image of man dancing in front of a video camera
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

The crux of any good message. Do you remember that story about that math equation? No? Well that’s because math doesn’t tell a story — it’s usually as boring as can be. Unless you’re a mathematician, in which case, rock on.

Instead, you can probably remember the stories of Peter Pan, or the Lion King, or Florida Man does whatever in 2020. Don’t click that link, we’ll lose you…

The point is, storytelling has always been the root of effective advertising. Here’s a good example of how longer formats allow for good storytelling.

“I have a question for you. What would you do for the person you love the most? And what would you do for a complete stranger?”

Wow. What a way to open a 40-minute, heartwarming, generosity-filled… ad.

It’s an ad! Don’t get us wrong, it’s a marvelous story about a man who died before he could go on his final hike. As requested by the widow, strangers took the late man’s boots that he would polish up until his final days, and hike them up the mountain in his place.

That’s a compelling story, presented by REI. REI is a consumer’s co-op that sells sporting goods. 

Now, REI didn’t sell anything in that video. It was pure storytelling. But what it did was magnify its brand presence a thousand-fold. Anybody who watches that video and is thinking about buying their next family tent is going to remember REI and their emotional story.

Compelling video ads start with a story, and stick to the story. It’s more so an investment in brand presence than selling any product. So when making your compelling video ad, think about storytelling more than marketing your product.


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Your compelling ad doesn’t have to be an amazing documentary. It could be something like General Electric’s powering of 1 million homes in Germany. It’s about 8 minutes long.

As for how to make the compelling video? Well that takes a content production team, a film crew, professional equipment —  just know it can be a serious project. It actually takes a lot to build a long video brick by brick, and we won’t be able to cover its scope in an article like this.

But we can say more about getting a professional voice over for your compelling video ad.

If you’re running a long video ad, there might be a need for narration. If it’s a documentary, you can be sure there’ll be a need. And that’s when you’ll have to opt for a professional voice over.

It’s a must, because content this long, of this quality, needs to be matched with exceptional audio. If it isn’t there, the viewer, who likely chose this piece of content because it seemed interesting, is likely going to migrate to other content that’s easier on the ears.

A professional voice over will also add to, and blend in with storytelling. Voice actors are trained to tell stories with their voice, and can add great depth to long-form ads.

When you’ve finished your storyboarding and drafting up your video, it’s a good time to think about what kind of voice is going to power your compelling video ads into the future.

A long form video can be a hefty project to tackle. But we’re wishing you the best, and we’re always ready to share Voice123’s talented roster of professional voice actors for your voice over needs!