Video Ads in 2021 – How to make an impact in the ad world

Social media and technology are evolving rapidly.  In a hyperactive marketing landscape, it’s getting increasingly difficult to attract customers’ attention. From Instagram Reels and TikTok to the original video giant YouTube, there are tons of opportunities to grow your audience and boost your engagement with video content. That’s why many brands are starting to focus their creative process on this medium. A good video ad can deliver to the audience everything you need them to know about your brand in a couple of seconds. Why do they have a good chance of delivering better results than other formats? Keep reading, and you’ll find out.

Why do video ads work

They can convey a lot of info

In a matter of seconds, you can present your product, add a text or audio that briefly explains it, even build a short narrative. The key is to intrigue viewers to find out more without ever boring them with too many details.

They come at the right time

Every internet user has, by now, probably experienced the” mindless scrolling” symptom: wasting time on a social media platform in the hope that something interesting will pop up. Well, why shouldn’t it be your video ad that excites people and gives them some new, useful information?

A study conducted by Statista and Zenith showed that, in Central and Eastern Europe, in 2020, people spent approximately 2 hours per day on their cellphones [1], so there’s plenty of time to make your ads show up in feeds.

They’re made up of moving images

In the age of short attention spans, it’s easy to scroll past a long block of text or a random image. However, a video that starts rolling has considerably more potential to stop people in their tracks. Using the dynamics of the moving image, you can add the same text you would’ve added in a post description and make it catchy enough that potential customers will read it.

How to make an impact in the video ad world

The importance of ethical ads

Chris Erthel, the co-founder of Meller, an 8-figure e-commerce fashion brand, talked about this extensively in his conference during the 2021 Ad World Event.

According to him,” We have to think about the fact that we’re showing a message to millions of people and the impact that message will have on the viewers. 97% of them are not going to buy your product. But [if your ad is unethical], you’re going to leave them feeling worse than they were before seeing your ad. You have to think about the people who see your ad, but they don’t buy your product. How do you make them feel?” [2]

At the end of the day, it’s not just your customers that matter. Your brand will benefit greatly from having a positive impact overall. Take Nike, for example. How many people you know actually have more than maybe one or two Nike products? But how many of them would agree that Nike is a great sports brand?

The main point is to avoid making people feel frustrated, stressed, or inferior, especially by promoting unrealistic standards. Nike focuses on uplifting, encouraging commercials that leave people feeling like they can do it, even if they’re not professional athletes or don’t fit a specific pattern.

Less ads, better content

Once you get the hang of video ads, you might be tempted to overdo it, but you should resist it. Chris Erthel, in the same Ad World talk, suggests to use a maximum of 7 ads per campaign and focusing a lot on setting the target audience so that the algorithm will function at its best.

There’s no need to spend a lot of money and effort on countless ads if the ones you make are good enough to make an impact and they reach the right people.

Short and to the point

A social media video ad needs to be short. Keep it between 15 and 30 seconds and, whenever possible, use the” heartbeat method”: change the frame every 1.5 seconds or less.

This way, you will convey just enough information to create a meaningful ad about your product while also avoiding boring viewers. It’s easy to overshare information, but keep in mind that the right moment to end an ad is just as they’re telling themselves,” I’d like to know more about this.”, not when they already feel they know enough and it’s time to move on.

Get personal

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a big budget to make a great ad. All you need is creativity and a personal touch. When it comes to video ads, people respond very well to those that don’t look like a brand is presenting something to them but a real person. This is a modern-day adaptation of word-of-mouth advertising, a very efficient type of advertising: people are more likely to buy products that others have already tried and are recommending.

You can get an outsider, such as an influencer (go for the nano or micro ones, if your budget is tight), to film themselves while testing your product. Or, you can even present the product yourself, in front of the camera. Don’t worry much about the image, you can even film this on your phone. The more “amateurish” it looks, the more personal people will consider it to be.

Another good way to get a personal video ad is through interviews with the founders. Get the founders of the brand you want to promote to briefly explain, in front of the camera, why they started their business, why do they like it, how did they make it work. Simply seeing their passion will be an excellent motivation for potential customers.

Triple vertical – more information in one ad

Triple vertical video ads mean adding 3 videos in the same screen, one below the other. It’s a format that works great on 4:5 or 9:6 ratio (so great for social media feeds and stories) and it’s a cheaper, better way of conveying more info, in just one go.

The three videos should present your product from different perspectives, at the same time: in the middle you could have a basic commercial, above you can add a product presentation – just the product in the foreground – and below you can add a text explaining your product, or even some testimonials from happy clients.

Use humor and surprise

According to a study conducted by Lumen Research[2], people spend at most 2 seconds looking at a video ad before scrolling by. This doesn’t mean you should make your ads have under 2 seconds, but rather that you have a bit over 1.5 seconds to catch their attention so that they’ll be interested enough to watch the rest of it.

A good way of doing this is combining surprise and humor, like Geico Insurance does with this ad. It provides the element of surprise right away, keeps it fun until the end, and, most importantly, focuses on being intriguing, not on providing lots of information. Hook people, and let them come to you for more information.

Bold statements and questions

Look at how this ad from Pepsi starts off with a question and turns, in less than one minute, in a statement about the brand. It’s quick, fun, bold enough to imply that Pepsi is possibly the best choice one could ever make, but aware enough to use some self-irony as well, so as not to appear obnoxious.

Use all the possibilities of video

A mistake that many beginners make when it comes to video ads is just using the visual capabilities they have. While this might work sometimes, it’s definitely worth paying attention to the other qualities that a video has. The right sound can give rhythm and life to images that would otherwise appear dull, easy to scroll by.

If you have a voice-over, you can also opt for subtitles to make sure it reaches people who might prefer just to watch the ad. However, even the subtitles can be part of the visual dynamics of the image. You can make them move around and pop up. Be creative with every element your video ad has.

End with a call to action

Last but not least, whenever you can, end with a call to action. Add the brand’s website, let people know what they need to do to find out more about the products you’ve just presented.

Use immediate calls, such as “Check out the website now for a surprise”, “Buy the products now and you benefit from a discount”. It’s important to create a sense of urgency that will determine people not to postpone checking out your brand.


Now that you know all there is to know about video ads, the only thing left to do is start making them. Remember to be bold, try to make an impact, and, most importantly, make people feel good. If you’re likable, they will follow your brand and, eventually, use your products.


[1] Statista. Average daily time spent using the internet per capita in Central and Eastern Europe from 2011 to 2021, by device.  Published by D. Elagina. December 7, 2020. Available at (last visited on 18.05.2021)

[2] Lumen. Mary Meeker: Time Spent ≠ Attention. Lumen Research. June 13, 2019. Available at (last visited on 18.05.2021)