How to Make YouTube Ads People Will Actually Watch (4 Tips)

It seems that for every innovative new method marketers devise to reach customers, savvy consumers come up with new ways to avoid said advertising. It’s like a ping-pong game where the prize, figuratively speaking, is eyeballs. Online video ads—short “commercials” that play before, during, or sometimes, after online content—are one of many ways marketers attempt to capture the consumers’ eye.

One very popular platform for video advertising is YouTube, which consistently vies with Facebook for the title of “most popular social media platform int he world.” But alas, according to Hootsuite, 76% of YouTube viewers automatically skip ads.

So, how can you make YouTube ads that people will actually watch? Here are our top four tips.

1. The literal method: Opt for 15 second (or less) non-skippable ads.

The first tip we have on how to make YouTube ads people will actually watch is to make it literally impossible for them to skip said ad.

Non-skippable ads can be between six- and 15 seconds long and are purchased on a CPM basis. They’re most appropriate for helping drive general brand awareness and making a quick impression. If you’re trying to convey a complex offer or idea, this ad type probably isn’t the best option.

2. Make them laugh.

Have you heard the saying “laughter is the best medicine?” Well, laughter is also the best sales person—at least for most products and services. If you want to know how to make YouTube ads that people will watch, the answer is humor.

A study conducted by Google found that across several verticals and countries, humor kept people watching an ad longer. Humor will also make the ad sticky (memorable) and more likely to go viral.

So, if a little laughter fits your brand and target audience, don’t be afraid show off your brand’s sense of humor.

Pro-tip: Is using humor in advertising outside of your brand’s comfort zone? At St. Gregory, we know that venturing outside of the box can be an anxiety-provoking experience. Contact us to see how we can help you identify your target audience and understand if cracking a joke will make or break you.

3. Forget the tissues.

A lot of marketers (and brands) think that tugging at those heartstrings is how to make YouTube ads people watch, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

Yes, if a video ad evokes emotion—laughter, joy, disgust, sadness—individuals will likely keep watching, at least in comparison to an ad that make them feel nothing. However, you don’t just want to make YouTube ads people watch, right? You want to make YouTube ads people remember, share with others, and talk about!

A study in the Harvard Business Review found that the videos that get shared the most evoke positive emotions (like joy and excitement), not negative emotions (like sadness).

However, just making potential consumers feel good about your brand, products, or services isn’t enough. You want that YouTube ad to evoke positive activating emotions, emotions that make the viewer want to do something. Examples would be content that excites and inspires.

4. Create an interactive or personalized experience.

Our fourth tip for how to make YouTube ads that people will actually watch is to make the ad interactive or personalized in some way. Here are a few examples:

The Australian Federal Police created The Missing Persons Pre-Roll, a geo-targeted campaign in which the YouTube “skip” button was changed to say “Yes I have” or “No I haven’t” seen the person in question. In five days, 238 clicked the “Yes I have” button to offer new information on missing person cases.

NAIL Communications acknowledged the “skip” button and the viewer’s power to click it in this video. In addition, the video sought to alleviate the viewer’s frustration about having to contend with ads before their desired content by congratulating the viewer on costing them money (by sitting through the ad).

When it comes to personalization, Burger King is quite possible the king. They created 64 versions of a pre-roll ad tailored to various keyword searches.

Are you ready to make YouTube ads that people actually watch? We can help! Contact St. Gregory for a consultation today.