Guide to a successful promotional video

Hanh Ha

So you know how important video marketing and video advertising are to your marketing strategies and you are seeking a guide to a successful promotional video right? Well, congratulations! You are on the right page!


Promotional videos nowadays can be in the form of branded content, which more subtly aligns the story to the implied values of the brand, a documentary about the brand or a straight up telling of the features and benefits of using the brand’s products or services. 

So if you invest in video content, does that mean that your video will be successful or even go ‘viral’? I would say potentially, but let’s be honest, have you ever fallen asleep on a first-rate movie because it is too long? Exactly! Whether promotional videos are successful or not depends on the following 5 components:


A successful promotional video is not always a viral one

Huh? Not always a viral one? Am I insane to say it? 

Not at all!

It is true that viral videos are a sweet sweet dream to many people but you know what, they can be a poison to your brand and your strategies. Be calm and let me present these following reasons.

  • Your goals and objectives of your marketing/ digital marketing strategies measure how successful your videos are (In case you want to set up SMART goals for your video marketing, check my article about it here). Not all viral videos will help you achieve your objectives and goals sadly. For example, Pepsi’s ad featuring Kendall went viral but they received negative responses from customers damaging their reputation for a while. A successful promotional video is the one that helps you achieve goals and objectives and which can even sometimes go beyond your expectations in a positive way.
  • Keep in your mind that viral videos can have some huge luck factors behind them. However, for a long-run success you need a proper strategy and you need to invest in content marketing (of which video plays a huge part) as well as the rest of your marketing mix. Don’t rely on one promotional video to go ‘viral’ (whatever that actually means) and try and repeat the formula without any creativity! I’m gonna bet you haven’t watched many of Psy’s (of ‘Gangam style’ fame) other videos have you?


Treat your promotional video like a baby. Raise it and invest in it! 

And don’t be so hard on your video. Don’t expect it to be a genius when it is already a good 

student with high marks.


CATS - Content, Arrangement, Tone and Story

As I mentioned in another article about video advertising, storytelling is vital for many types of video content as it is a way to connect and engage customers with your brand.


With that in mind, you’re not gonna let your customers forget what they have just watched after a few seconds right? That’s why each video should be a story that your brand wants to tell to customers. The stories don’t necessarily always need to be about a happy and attractive girl/guy enjoying your products. Think about intriguing customers through different storylines which helps differentiate your brand and pique the audience’s curiosity. 


Moreover, how you build the story for your videos is based on what goals you are setting for the campaign. Whether it is to increase sales or brand awareness for example. 



However, you don’t necessarily  want your videos to be too arty and abstract for your viewers (some perfume adverts come to mind!). Thus, you need to produce your video(s) based on the goals you set for the campaign mentioned in my article about video marketing


The video can be a little bit ‘teasing’ with an open ending at the end to create expectation in the audience’s mind and tee up the path to the next videos in the series. 


The video tone is another thing to be considered carefully. Insightful analysis of your company, competitors and customers will help you decide which tone you want your videos to go for. Obviously, you can’t bring a luxurious tone to a video for an egg whisk (unless you want to make a fun mickey-taking faux M&S video)


Duration, Script and GIF

When you make a promotional video, video length needs to be taken into careful consideration. Why so? Because of your budget, platforms where you want to promote it and, of course, your goals. You wont want your videos to be too long and inefficient in attracting customers. When you consider the duration of the video, remember that different ‘sub edits’ or ‘snippets can be made of the master video to create a suite of videos in different durations: 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 and 15 seconds can all be made from a two minute video to allow you to get lots of extra mileage out of the content. This can also be done with different versions (customer facing, colleague facing, investor facing for instance) and different call to actions at the end.  Combine this with the downright glut of versions for different platforms and you have quite the challenge on your hands to get everything spot on so it’s optimal as a campaign.

After planning your story and duration, script is another important part. The script is something integral which is worth poring over in minute detail, one thing we’d say is keep it relevant and memorable with a strong call to action at the end.


The last thing in this section you need to pay attention is GIFs. GIFs?! Why GIFs? It’s not something serious or suitable for a promotional video is it? 

Errrrr! Wrong!

Let me just ask you this question.

How many times do you use GIFs to express your feelings instead of emojis and memes?

If you’re of a certain age and background the answer is probably quite a bit. And if you do, then perhaps your audience do too…


People use more GIFs nowadays because they are moving and hence attract the eye and show exactly what they wanna express visually within just a second or so. Why not think about using GIFs as a teaser or even a short ad for your own promotional videos?. Making different GIFs from your videos and uploading them to the same platform as the hero video and all its different versions gives you even more content. Boom! You are getting content in front of a whole bunch more people for the same cost.

All told, I suggest leveraging your videos as much as you can as, eventually, they will repay your investment in time and money and may well go beyond your expectations.


Platform, SEO and Action

For a promotional video, don’t do these three steps:


  • Throw the videos to any platform you present
  • Copy and paste all descriptions and hashtags 
  • Wait for the videos to be successful 


Please, remember, not to do the above steps. They will cause the death of your video and even whole campaigns! So, how can we choose the right platforms for our promotional videos when the more platforms you use the more versions and time it take to do. Here’s some starting points to consider:

  • SEO: different platforms need different SEO tactics so make sure you don’t waste your time and money on platforms that you target customers don’t even use. Moreover, SEO through descriptions and hashtags is important if you wanna have a high ranking and presence to more customers. For example, you may want to consider using hashtags which are used by many people, because it means the hashtags have larger communities. Not all hashtags are created equal across different platforms though and some platforms will have the different rankings for the same keyword, no one said this was gonna be easy! If you keep sharing it and manage to spin it into current trends by seeing what people are talking about in the big wide world then the more viewers your videos are exposed to, the more chances you’ll get higher likes and comments which will lead to more views and on it goes. The video description length is another issue to consider and a great example about the difference in formats. You can add 100 word descriptions on Youtube but only around 20 to 30 words for Instagram to be optimal for both platforms takes a bit of research but you’ll get there in the end.
  • Action: Believe it or not your customers will watch videos on different platforms at different times!. So watch out!. Dates and time are crucial as you always want your videos to be watched as soon as they’re released, ideally. For example, if you are a K-pop fan and you are waiting for your idols to release videos on Youtube, any savvy marketer is going to drop it on or around 6 PM on Friday (KST - Korean Standard Time) which is when they know people finish their work and have the time to spend their weekend supporting their idols through streaming and sales of a new music track, boosting the band’s rankings in the charts. Even more tactical would be releasing the track on the last working day of the month when you know everyone’s just been paid and has the disposable income to chuck at some rocking beats.

That’s a wrap!

When you shoot, edit and distribute a promotional video, it’s well worth getting a team who are experts in this area to make sure there are no unprofessional errors in your videos which will make your brand look bad (and you look bad to your boss!)

Now, you must be thinking: “Hmmmm but Youtubers and Vloggers can shoot a promotional video for brands too!”. True, they can but let’s be honest. Will you use a Youtuber to do a brand film to go on the homepage of your website? Chances are no.


So be sure to check out the professional outfits around and about. Video production agencies now can take care of video projects end-to-end from ideation and development to marketing advertising. Besides, they will help convey your ideas better and faster with their expertise in the area and at the very least be a fresh pair of eyes to give your thoughts the once over.


Here we go with our own call to action! Feel free to give us a ring or an  email, consultations are always free and we don’t bite. 


Hanh Ha
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