Video advertising has become an increasingly common marketing strategy in the last couple decades. This is due to the rise of the internet, which has provided an extra outlet beyond TV, allowing even small companies to take advantage of video.
The problem with online video advertising is that you often don’t have long to make an impression compared to traditional TV advertising. Youtube adverts can often be skipped after 5 seconds. Meanwhile, many social media users will scroll past an advert if it doesn’t grab them in the first 2 seconds.
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So just how do you create a video intro that is certain to hook viewers? There are a few strategies used by video marketers that could be worth considering. Below are 10 video opener ideas.
Start with a motion shot
A motion shot is a great way to grab people’s attention as our eye is naturally drawn to movement. This could be anything from a fast zoom to a slow pan.
To help you experiment with motion shots, you’ll likely need to invest in the right equipment. Gimbals can help when it comes to creating all kinds of motion shots. You can also use camera dollies (or even create your own improvised dollies using skateboards and trolleys). Then of course there are drones for shooting stunning motion shots from the sky – you can learn more about drones here.
Start with a facial expression close-up
A close-up of someone smiling, frowning, screwing up their face or gasping is likely to immediately grab viewers too. This is a way of immediately creating an emotional connection – most viewers are likely to be curious as to why that person is pulling that expression and will be compelled to keep watching to find out.
Depending on the context of your advert, you could use an actor or a real person. If you’re going for a light-hearted tone, you could consider an exaggerated expression. If you want to keep the tone serious, try to keep any facial expression as genuine as possible.
Ask an interesting question
Another way to grab viewers immediately is to open your video with a question. This needs to be an interesting question that will get people thinking and encourage people to watch your video for an answer.
An example could be ‘is your sleeping position healthy?’ or ‘what would you do with $1000 extra each month?’. The latter is a good example of a question that demands two answers: what would you do with that money and how can I save that amount of money each month? By prolonging the answer, you can get them to watch longer.
Tell a quick joke
Opening with a joke can be risky. After all, humour is very subjective. There are two ways to make a joke work in marketing. It either needs to be very clever and very funny, or it needs to be so bad that it equally becomes humorous. Try to avoid stealing jokes from comedians.
State a mind-blowing fact
A mind-blowing fact can also hook people and make your advert more memorable. This needs to be something related to your product or service that you can then springboard the rest of your advert off.
Avoid using misinformation by always researching facts and quoting them correctly. You don’t want to end up using a false fact in your advert – if people are able to prove you wrong, it could cause a huge amount of damage to your reputation.
Promise to solve a problem
Identifying a problem and showing that your product can solve that problem is a classic way to market a product. Instead of just raising the problem at the beginning of the video, consider promising to solve it from the start. A statement such as ‘It’s time to cut down those energy bills’ will get people who are struggling to pay their energy bills to listen.
Introduce a character
Many successful video adverts involve telling a story. Stories are a great way to not just reel people in but keep people engaged until the end. This could be an inspiring story of how you overcame obstacles to launch your business. Alternatively, it could be a story of a customer who solves a problem by buying your product or paying for your service.
When it comes to the latter type of story, you’ll want to create a character. Introduce this character in the first few seconds to immediately engage viewers with the story. Successful advertising characters can be key to the memorability of a brand and could even be turned into brand mascots.
Tease an exciting moment later in the video
When it comes to longer marketing videos, you could consider teasing an exciting part later on the video at the beginning. This is a great way to draw in viewers by cutting straight to the action – you can cut away just before it gets to the most thrilling part and then spend your time introducing and building up the video until the video reaches this part again.
Do something wacky and unexpected
Too many video adverts try to follow a formula. Sometimes doing something completely bizarre or surprising is the best strategy for grabbing people. Think about ways you may be able to subvert video marketing trends or simply throw in some weird visuals at the beginning. Take the time to study other video adverts and think about how you can go against the grain while still promoting your product effectively.
Don’t rely on sound/music
Sound effects and music can help an advert to be more dramatic and memorable, but you shouldn’t rely on it to convey your message. Auto-play videos – including videos on social media and auto-play ads on websites – are automatically muted on iOS, Safari, Chrome and Android. Consequently, a loud sound effect or popular song isn’t going to grab someone’s attention.
Of course, when it comes to YouTube ads and TV ads, such ads are not automatically muted and so you can experiment with sound effects and music as a way of grabbing people.