How Do Successful Startups Make Their Video Ads?

creative a video for facebook

“Video, video, video…” that’s all the algorithm ever talks about! But truly, it’s because video (more than any other type of ad creative) has the power to do three amazing things:

  1. Simplify complicated concepts
  2. Make a personal connection 
  3. Snag the attention of overstimulated scrollers

So, as a startup marketing agency, we’re constantly trying to unlock new, powerful, and simple ways to get more video content. We’re also on a mission to empower more startup founders, scaleups, and everyone in between to get their hands dirty and make their own (ESPECIALLY if they’re strapped for cash).

Ultimately, if there’s one major takeaway from this article, it’s that creative doesn’t have to be a production. If you hang around here long enough you might start a drinking game centered on the number of times you’ll hear that phrase. But it’s true! We believe that creative should always be beholden to data. And if it can’t prove itself in the face of Facebook Business Manager—or better yet, Google Analytics—then it probably should be kicked to the curb…even if you did shell out for that $20k brand video. (It’s okay, there’s still a great place for that on your “about” page!).

The following 3 tactics for making video ads have become staples around our creative team. And you’ll find evidence of all three tucked into our Creative Portfolio. What’s more, is that all three video types have proven themselves on the battlefield. And are consistently generating lower CPCs and higher CVRs, indicating that they’re at once attention-grabbing and fueled with enough information to make for a smooth path towards conversion once a user hits the site. Winning.

1. Make TikTok Videos

Cost = $0

Wipe those sweaty palms on your jeans and plop yourself in front of the camera. No, really! It’s MUCH more cost effective to test out your messaging and explore with the format when you whip up a video yourself than shelling out thousands for an influencer’s time. 

We take the same approach. Before we reach out to influencers or professional creators, we’ll map out our 2-3 best “storylines” and create a TikTok video that corresponds to each. Then, after we’ve run that creative for a few weeks in our campaigns, we’ll be armed with tons of great information that will help us get exactly what we need from creators. 

Tips for trying your hand at your own TikTok videos:

  • Skim through this video (skip to 1:30)
  • Take some time to scroll through TikTok to get a feel for trends
  • Make sure you pick a “commercially licensed sound” 
  • Don’t hesitate to delete it and start over approximately 600 times while you’re getting the hang of it 
  • Even if its not perfect, that’s okay! 

Here’s an example of TikTok creative we’ve made in house.

2. Record a Zoom Conversation

Cost = $150 for editing/resizing

Testimonial videos are a super powerful tool for building trust and allowing prospective customers to hear from actual people. But hiring a production company to make them or asking your customers to record themselves is simply hard to achieve.

So, we’ve started asking our partners’ power users to sit down with us in a simple, conversational, 20-minute Zoom call. Whether they’re taking the call from their phone or hanging out in their office, being able to see their face and have a casual chat about why they enjoy the ways your company has improved their lives makes AMAZING ad creative.

Then, we’ll tap a video editor to splice together the best soundbites, resize it to fit our various ad placements, and voila!

Tips for having a successful recorded Zoom:

  • Help prep them/give them some background information. (The more context you can provide, the better they’ll tailor their answers).
  • Take a moment to small talk and help them relax before you hit record.
  • Get personal! Ask them about concrete ways their lives are better because of what you do. 

Here’s an example of ad creative we’ve made from a Zoom call.

3. Hire a Motion Designer

Cost = $1000 for motion design 

When done right, motion design can become powerful ad creative as well as a strong conversion tool on your website. But, it takes the right contractor to capture your vision and create something that can straddle that fence. 

This is where it helps to have a dialed-in vision and a rock solid brief. Check out this brief we made when we originally tapped a video editor to make us a motion graphic for our partners, AKKO.

video storyboard example

It’s important to note that I am NO designer—I just have tons of ideas and a deep understanding of AKKO’s most important value props! So, if this looks intimidating, first write out the “script” or on-screen text. Then imagine how to best bring this to life with animation. A google search for “animated brand videos” or “animated explainer videos” can really help here.

Then, comb through UpWork, our favorite place to find creative talent. The more you can bring to your brief in UpWork, the better, more detailed responses you will get (and the more accurate the estimates!).

Here’s an example of motion graphic ad creative.

Above all, don’t overthink, just start! It’s so easy to get stuck on the starting line with ad creative. TikTok can feel intimidating, asking people for their valuable time is tough, finding the right motion designer can feel scary, but the great thing is that ad creative is ephemeral. This is all about test, test, and test again. Then test some more. Be ruthless about throwing out creative that’s not converting and making more of what is! Need a little boost in this department? Let’s talk.