Creative optimization series part three: Video

By John Koetsier July 17, 2018

In this four-part series on creative optimization, we’ll examine some of the trends, tips, and strategies that help marketers get performative creative assets.

Creative optimization series part three: Video

As any user acquisition team knows, the quest to engage new users is a constant battle of combining creativity with proven strategy. However, the video ad format is a more complicated medium for advertisers to optimize because of cost and the fact that there are so many more elements than traditional or static ads. For marketers who are still struggling to make their video ads more effective and engaging, here are a few key design trends that will start you off in the right direction:

Vertical orientation

In a surprising statistic, Google noted that over 80% of video ad views on Google Display Network are in the vertical video format. To capitalize on this trend in ad consumption, Google created the Auto-Flip feature. Auto-Flip dynamically generates portrait versions of horizontal videos in real time, therefore allowing marketers to leverage traditional horizontal video ads in this highly-engaging vertical format. It’s a win-win situation: the audience gets a more optimal viewing experience and the brand sees improved campaign performance.

Clear call-to-action

While leading global sales for App Promotion at Twitter, Dave Egan shared with us that a key factor to success in video ads is to make the call-to-action as clear and concise as possible. He suggested doing so by utilizing a card at the beginning and end of the ad – and including the app name and play store logos to really drive the message home. By extensively testing different call-to-actions, he found that strong visual cues are more effective than audio cues, and that these creative elements make a substantial difference in campaign performance.

Be brief

In an article on Mobile Marketer, Melissa Cramer notes (in a sentiment that was also shared by Egan), that the length for best video ad performance is around and below the 15-second mark. The shorter video strategy has proven effective as outlined on Shutterstock for a few reasons:

  1. Short form video ads are more impactful on younger viewers who tend to view ads across multiple different devices, apps, and social media.
  2. Short form ads can be modified and formatted for cross-platform use on various channels like Snapchat and Instagram, which may have limitations on the length of videos.
  3. As users become less and less tolerant of interruptive ads, short form ads can provide brands with the opportunity to add in suspense and excitement.

The bottom line? Be brief.

Make it interactive

Interactive ad experiences are all the rage, and understandably so. People are becoming weary of traditional ad formats, and thus tend to engage more with outside the box ad experiences. Finding a way to make your audience feel invested with the ad experience will increase your chances of breaking through the noise and engaging them. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that what may work to engage one audience may not work for another.

Case in point – The US currently dominates the global market in video ad spend, but China is quickly catching up. In the interest of better understanding the growing Chinese market, Paul Duena, Interactive Art Director at InMobi, did some testing. He found that when using a short animation or GIF related to the brand/product in the seconds prior to the end-card and call-to-action, there are some strategic geographic differences:

“In China, animated characters drive higher CTRs whereas Western markets prefer portraits or sketches of artists, celebrities and sportspersons.”

Having a clear idea of which creative elements are really giving your campaigns a boost can be the difference between stagnant and success.

The digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving. We’re seeing a rise in the use of dynamic creative, data-driven advertising, and interactive video as marketers become more and more sophisticated with their ad technology. The important thing for advertisers to remember above all is to keep content fresh and get to know what works for your targeted audience – and that means testing, testing!


Stay tuned for part four of our creative optimization blog series, where we’ll focus on campaigns, KPIs, and our recommended ad channels! If you’d like to learn more about Singular’s Creative Optimization capabilities, request a demo here!

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