If you’ve been on social media lately (most likely you have—within the past hour), you’ve probably noticed that paid ads have become more prevalent than ever.

Internet gurus like Niel Patel have been preaching about this trend since 2018, predicting that the social media road-to-fame will transition from an organic process towards a pay-to-play arrangement.

Certain social media trends have only furthered the importance of paid campaigns. For example, Instagram (somewhat) recently discontinued displaying posts in chronological order, shifting instead to a complex algorithm that depends on six factors including relationships. 

Chances are that if you’re running a business, you don’t have much time for relationship building on Instagram—which makes paid campaigns look more appealing.

When it comes to picking what type of ads you want to use for your paid social media campaigns, you’ve got some options. You could rely on images, copywriting, or some combination of the two. But in recent years, more and more businesses are seeing the value of video—not just in the context of organic posts, but also for their paid campaigns.

Why should I use video for my paid campaigns?

Much ink has been spilled on whether video trumps other types of posts in terms of social media algorithms. In part, it depends on a number of factors, including which platform you’re posting on. Yet regardless of what happens in the shadowy backrooms of Silicon Valley, there’s no doubt that video content is simply arresting (but not with handcuffs).

In fact, one study conducted by HubSpot showed that video posts on Facebook got 48% more views than other types of posts, and saw 65% more engagement.

There’s nothing mysterious about these numbers, which strongly indicates the power of video over traditional posts comprised of pictures and copy. Human beings have always gravitated toward the visual mediums of storytelling. If you need proof of that, just look at what happened to the radio once TV came around.

As The Buggles famously sang in 1979: “video killed the radio star.” Will video ads kill the Instagrammers?

Not if they switch to video.

The trend toward video is all-encompassing. In 2016, Facebook executive Nicola Mendelsohn surpassed CEO Mark Zuckerburg’s enthusiasm for video by predicting that Facebook will be all video—and not text—by 2021. What that means for business is that they’ve got to get behind the video trend, or risk getting left behind, both organically and in terms of paid campaigns. 

One of the best parts of social media for businesses and glam seekers alike is that shared content can become viral, and this is especially true for video. People are 12 times more likely to share video content over posts of images or text. Nothing beats free advertising, especially when it’s exponential.

Another reason that businesses should use video for their paid campaigns is that video ads have a better chance of standing out to consumers, who are constantly bombarded with paid ads. It’s far easier to keep on scrolling past static pictures and text than it is to pass up an ad in motion; one study suggests that video ads attract 300% more traffic. 

Do you know of anything else that can get you 300% more positive attention?

5 Types of videos that work really well in paid campaigns—and why they work.

One of the great things about video is that it’s extremely versatile, giving you many options in terms of genre. Depending on what type of business you’re running, you will want to leverage different types of videos. 

Video can also be a great way to get deeper into a conversation with social media users than static posts. While a static post necessitates clicking through to another site, video (which, as mentioned above, has statistically been shown to generate more interaction) provides a more immediate opportunity to present your message.

Let’s take a look at a few types and see how each one can benefit your business in terms of paid campaigns. 

#1: Webinars and Webinar Intros

Personal introductions to a webinar are great if your business involves some sort of service. This can be your place to demonstrate a nugget of expertise before issuing a call to action—but keep in mind that the keyword is nugget. Paid ads are not the place to do a full scale, hour-long webinar. Though certain platforms like Facebook will allow you up to half a minute for most of their paid ad formats, you’ll want to capture some interest within the first 10-15 seconds. Other platforms like YouTube will let you create even longer content, but most likely you will still want to keep your video short, sweet, and to the point.

It can be hard to communicate something useful in that small amount of time, but you can certainly introduce what types of services you offer and pique people’s interest with a professional and/or personal intro (depending on what type of services you offer). Getting signups is difficult to do with copy alone, but when people get a little taste of what you offer in action, it will build more trust and interest in your service. This is especially true with a service-based product, where consumers want to know the person offering the service and see a real live human face.

#2: Customer Testimonials

Given the fact that 84% of consumers polled say they trust online reviews as much as they trust their personal network of friends, product reviews are a great type of video to use in paid campaigns. Even better: you’ll get to pick and choose which reviews are showcased—because no disgruntled customers can take out their ire on your video’s script. Customer testimonials don’t have to be interviews; they can be voiceovers or on-screen text with some action shots of your product or service in action. Customer and client testimonials are incredibly powerful because they leverage human connection to build a sense of trust in your business.

Another reason that testimonials are so powerful on social media is that they blend very well into a platform that is dedicated to sharing personal stories through posts, pictures, and videos. You could deep dive (as deep as you can go in half a minute) into one customer’s journey, or you could make a compilation of reviews. Either way, the short video you use in your paid ad campaign could bring browsers to a longer video, if you feel that yet another round of testimonials will set up a higher conversion rate for your product or service.

#3: Product Videos

If you’re selling a product, a simple video showcasing your product from various angles and possibly in use or being worn can do wonders. This type of video is nothing new; it’s been used by businesses since the first commercials appeared on TV. The difference today is that you don’t need a studio in New York or L.A. to create quality product videos; in fact, you can do it with your iPhone—and if you really want that sterile white background around your product, you can get a lightbox.

Consumers scrolling through their feeds are not yet familiar with your product, and showing them a picture and some copy can still leave a lot of questions unanswered, such as what the product looks like from different angles, what’s inside the product, and how the product works. With video, you can even add some extra dimensions of product details that are not possible in standard picture posts. For example, if you’re selling some type of food product, your video can capture some people eating or drinking it—communicating that it has a good taste (which would be hard to impress on consumers in writing).

#4: Live Streams

This strategy may seem a little risky. After all, who would be interested in taking a behind-the-scenes look at a business they’ve never interacted with before? But as it turns out, consumers love live streams. They’re real, they’re raw, and they don’t allow for any sugar-coating of a product or service. Ever since the advent of reality TV a few decades ago, and then the explosion of social media influencers, it’s become readily apparent that people want real video content. 

In fact, one estimate suggests that live streams are outpacing other types of video by 113%. Google and Facebook have certainly recognized this trend and made it possible to live stream videos as ads, rolling out this format in 2018 and 2019. Live streams are great for building excitement around your product or service, and if you have any doubts, you can ask Target, Home Depot, Kohls, and Royal Caribbean.

Live streams are not only great for showcasing what your own business has to offer, but for collaborative efforts that can be targeted to the target demographics of both parties. There’s just something exciting about live stream, with 45% of internet users even willing to pay for live content.

#5: Creative Content

Fewer companies have a more gimmicky approach than Oscar Mayer, which features an enormous hot dog-shaped vehicle as part of its marketing campaign. But when the Wienermobile rolled all the way up to Alaska in the dead of Winter to deliver packaged meats to Whittier, you can bet that people seeing this ad on YouTube were intrigued. And while not every platform allows ads beyond 30 seconds as YouTube does, a small video commercial is still a great place to present some narrative material. Today, companies from Royal Caribbean to Nike to Volkswagen are using storytelling in their ads…and so can you, especially if your business has a touching personal story or has positively impacted others.

Nothing beats emotionally charged advertising, whether that involves melting hearts or inducing a laugh.

For decades, commercials were pretty bland. At some point within the last few decades, certain companies began to experiment with using humor, in a move that some pundits have dubbed as oddvertising. Burger King, Old Spice, Skittles, and Emerald Nuts were some of the first companies to add quirkiness to their advertising style. But these days, it’s pretty commonplace; even more staid businesses like Farmers Insurance and Bank of America have added a touch of quirky to their commercial presence. In the same way, you can add a dimension of strange to your paid video ad content—but make sure you have a competent screenwriter handling this; sometimes humor does not cross geopolitical lines.

A final word about video in paid social media campaigns

Whether your advertising goals for a specific campaign are long term (such as brand building) or immediate (getting email subscribers), you need to be using video. A paid social ad campaign is one of the best ways to give your brand exposure, because social media is increasingly becoming a pay-to-play platform, and paying to play helps you cut through the difficulty of navigating the algorithm and competing with the noise.

Without leveraging video ads, you are leaving a huge amount on the table, especially as more consumers shop and browse on their phones; consumption of mobile video is up 100% every year. Our culture is increasingly bite-sized and on the go, and one of the only ways to really grab the attention of a potential customer is through video.

Video sure circumvents the need for other types of extensive and expensive marketing efforts; for example, some estimates suggest that even one minute of video is equivalent to 1.8 million words to your potential customers.

They always said a picture paints a thousand words. As it turns out, video can paint a whole lot more than that. Looking for help with your eCommerce paid social media campaigns, drop us a line!