Best Video Types for Advertising in 2022

Here’s the thing about advertising since the pandemic began: not much has really changed.

(ok, that’s not completely true, but just stay with me for a second)

When the NBA shutdown started a wave of closures in March 2020, it impacted all of us. We had to make agile moves to new workflows and lean into unique ways of communicating across a dispersed team. Advertisers were immediately impacted–we aren’t made of steel after all! But unlike other industries, the bounce back didn’t take too long.

Why?

Because people–especially small businesses–needed to make revenue so they could keep their physical and digital doors open. That meant investing in new advertisements targeted towards consumers where they were throughout the pandemic: online, and streaming.

Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

But the pandemic did more than just upend the way businesses run. It also sparked a social revolution with a renewed focus on the historical inequities that have propagated through modern society. This revolution has called on brands to draw a line in the sand about what they stand for. This saw advertisements racking focus from strictly selling products to showcasing who the brand is–inside and out–so that a consumer can feel confident that the money they are spending is going towards a brand aligned with what they value.

Due to this evolution in consumer behavior, advertisements are beginning to evolve. Not just in terms of where your ad spots drop–which is especially true in respect to new data privacy restrictions–but in the actual creative elements that go into a commercial. Consumers want to see advertisements that are representative of the whole world, prioritizing diversity and inclusion rather than merely a corporation’s bottom line.

Despite these changes, the types of videos that have historically worked in advertisements haven’t gone up in a digital puff of smoke. To give you a jumpstart on what type of ad creative you should be focusing on in 2022, we’ve put together a list of the ideal video types to utilize for any platform, goal, or use case.

  1. Explainer
  2. Product Spotlight
  3. Customer Testimonials
  4. Case Study Videos
  5. Culture
  6. Educational
  7. How-to
  8. Direct Response Social
  9. Brand Commercial
  10. Mini-Doc

1. Explainer

Explainer videos are exactly what they sound like. They are visual descriptions of what your product is, and how it works. These could be live action shoots with hired talent, or animated marketing videos with on-screen text. You can even feature your own sales or marketing team to establish trustworthiness while driving your narrative. An Explainer video focuses directly on the problem your customer faces, and then deliberately highlights the solution you offer.

Check out these stats on the efficacy of video, and Explainer videos specifically:

  • Video’s ability to engage users is why 68% of consumers prefer watching videos to learn about new products or services, as compared to articles or infographics.
  • 96% of people have watched an Explainer video to learn more about a product or service.

Explainers are one of the more popular B2B video marketing types for brands that offer intangible products, like services, tools, or apps. Depending on what part of the funnel you are trying to target—and what channels your Explainer video will live on—you can get incredibly granular with the type of information you include.

2. Product Spotlight

A Product Spotlight video makes your product the hero of the story. Product Spotlights can introduce a product, grow awareness, or move prospects further down the funnel.

This is probably the most versatile of all of the video types since there are many creative ways to present your product with motion. A motion still is one approach, which can affordably turn a still image into a video giving the viewer a cool, visually-different experience:

A Product Spotlight video can also be educational, taking on a narrative feel that demonstrates your product’s utility. Or, it can be a short eye-catching video that makes your product stand out in a crowded content landscape.

No matter the direction you choose to take with your Product Spotlight video, aim to highlight key value propositions and showcase your product in the best light possible.

Tips for Your Product Spotlight Video

  • Put your product in a familiar, relatable environment
  • Think of how you can use props to make connections for your audience
  • Make sure to capture footage of your product being used
  • Highlight packaging and unboxing for D2C products
  • Use post-production editing techniques to make your product pop

3. Customer Testimonials

Customer Testimonial or Interview videos create a narrative with a single individual or a small group of people talking about their experiences with your product. You can use these types of videos to communicate a story with a people-first narrative, kind of like an explainer video but with customers as the storytellers. Customer Testimonials can be extremely effective to help your audiences visualize the personal benefits of your product offering.

You can strike an instant connection with UGC-Style (User-Generated Content) Testimonials. This format features relatable talent speaking directly to the viewer about your product.

Audiences have become accustomed to seeing friends and influencers speak about brands and products on social media. UGC-Style Testimonials mimic the style of true UGC content, leveraging the familiarity of the format. They are constructed so that it seems like the person shot it themselves, even though a (small) production crew was likely present. 

Regardless of whether you choose to use real customers or actors, cast talent that your target audience(s) will relate to. Have them discuss the problem that your product solves for, the benefits they’ve experienced since starting use, and how other core differentiators led to them abandoning your competitors’ products in favor of yours.

Tips for Your UGC-Style Testimonial Video

  • Use on-screen talent that your target audience(s) will relate to
  • First-person positioning works well (e.g., “I love this!”)
  • Use general talking points rather than a formal script to ensure a conversational tone
  • Set your video ad in an identifiable and familiar setting where it makes sense for your product to appear
  • Don’t forget your CTA

4. Case Study Videos

You know your business best, but social proof can be incredibly influential. That’s where Case Study videos come in. 

Similar to a B2C Customer Testimonial video, Case Study videos allow your clients to give first-hand accounts of the success they achieved working with your brand.

In essence, Case Study videos use your audience to sell for you. These videos validate your product and brand with real client opinions. You can effortlessly showcase the confidence others have in your product, all by using your clients’ positive experience.

Case Study videos establish a level of credibility with audiences you are trying to target while communicating your brand’s value. Your clients become both the storyteller and the story, so choosing figures from your target demos is key. 

If you service companies across multiple verticals, make sure that you have unique Case Study videos that can speak to each of these audiences. With a relatable and believable “star,” a Case Study video can be incredibly successful at driving a prospect to convert. 

5. Culture Videos

Culture videos can be an impressive way to highlight your brand’s values by focusing on your employees. This video type can be used for marketing purposes like employee recruitment, or internal purposes like building out your brand culture.

These types of videos are a unique way to excite potential customers and partners to join your team, but they’ve also become the perfect avenue to express your brand’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This video–created with QuickFrame by Cruise–racks focus on their internship program. Cruise is able to seamlessly convey their commitment to an inclusive culture, without expressly discussing DEI topics, simply by showing the diverse talent pool that makes up their brand’s DNA.

From an audience’s perspective, looking at the business culture from the inside-out automatically makes the brand feel more honest, trustworthy, and accessible. Cruise humanizes their brand by focusing on the people that make their business run.

6. Educational

Educational video content can allow you to express a point of view on a topic and build authority while promoting your brand. This is ideal when you’re aiming to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry. 

The educational video for Sparknotes study resources below features illustrative images and text accompanied by a voiceover. While educational content can be for any audience, this video targets school-aged kids. 

Demographics are important to get right with educational videos — here, the tone of voice and video effects are spot-on for the target audience. The length of the video is one minute and 15 seconds, long enough to send the message but short enough to keep students’ attention.

7. How-To

 A How-To video is a great tool to provide your audience with step-by-step instructions on how to use your product. Consider producing a How-To video to increase consideration, especially if your product’s utility is difficult to get across in another type of video. You can also use How-To videos to address common customer questions about your offering.

A close cousin of How-To videos is the Recipe video. These are just like how-to videos but for a food and beverage product, specifically. We’re all used to seeing Recipe videos in our feeds and they can be a great way to get across different use cases for your product.

8. Direct Response Social

Direct Response Social videos are conceptualized specifically for social media video marketing and are often produced with specific platforms and performance marketing plans in mind. They offer a clear CTA to spur action and are designed to get your audiences to act, directly driving business results.

These types of videos are made to look like native videos to specific social media platforms so they are often less polished than a brand commercial to blend in with a viewer’s feed, and they usually cost less to produce. Most are primarily designed for a sound-off experience, so you’ll notice a heavy use of text on screen.

9. Brand Commercial

The Brand Commercial is the most traditional type of marketing video and dates back all the way to July 1, 1941 when Bulova aired the first TV commercial ever—it was just 10 seconds long and cost $9 to run.

Today, brand commercials obviously look much more elevated, can run on so many different platforms beyond TV, and definitely cost more to produce and run. Commercials are great for shining a spotlight on your brand. You can express the value you offer the world and they are great for growing awareness and increasing favorability. Of all the types of video, Brand Commercials are often the most polished and will probably cost you the most to produce.

But depending on the length of the commercial and the platforms where you choose to run yours, you might be surprised by how affordable it can be to get one made.

Achieve an authentic or aspirational environment with a Lifestyle video. This format features on-screen talent interacting with your product in a familiar environment. Unlike in UGC-Style Testimonials, talent does not directly address the camera—instead, on-screen text and/or voiceover is often used to deliver messaging.

Think about all of the places your product can be featured or used and test them all: indoors vs. outdoors, bathroom vs. bedroom, kitchen vs. living area, etc. The Lifestyle format works best when it’s supplemented with other formats in the same ad. Pair Lifestyle shots with UGC-Style Testimonials to communicate authenticity and demonstrate how your product is actually used in everyday life.

Tips for Your Lifestyle Video

  • Set the scene in a familiar, relatable environment—the viewer has to be able to see themselves in this setting
  • Think about all of the activities your product may be associated with
  • Aim for a specific feeling that you want your viewers to have
  • Consider your target audience(s) and cast relatable talent

10. Minidoc

The last—and perhaps most ambitious—type of video for marketing is the Mini-Doc. The Mini-Doc is exactly what it sounds like—a mini-documentary that combines interviews and b-roll footage to tell an engaging story. This is a more subtle way to tell a people-first narrative and is less explicitly conversion-focused than a Customer Testimonial/Interview.

A mini-doc can be a really sleek way of sharing your brand values while building awareness through content that is particularly shareable, especially if the topic is something particularly hot in the zeitgeist.

This Mini-Doc—created with QuickFrame and featured on ABC’s Good Morning America—relies solely on animation and repurposed assets to tell a compelling narrative about a Civil Rights leader their audience may be unfamiliar with, Dorothy Height. It’s the perfect example of how your video content can be used to establish the historical significance of a continuing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion

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