Great video ad hero image
Making Your Video Ad

How to make a great video ad, without breaking the bank

You may be asking yourself how to make a video advertisement. Isn’t it too complex? Too costly? And if I shoot a video ad on my phone, will it reflect favorably on my business? Can I really make a polished ad without spending a lot of money?

Yes, you can. You can share the story of your business to potential customers with all the compelling sight, sound and motion that video makes possible. Your video ad is a great opportunity to create a one-to-one communication with potential customers. And we’re going help you do just that.

It’s really pretty simple. There are three stages to making an effective promo video for your business:

As you get started, spend some time thinking about your video marketing strategy and the goals for your video ad. Are you trying to increase awareness of your business? Are you rolling out a new line of products? Whatever your high-level goals are, video advertising can help support your efforts. Let’s go.

Prepping your story, cast and location

First impressions are important. Let’s start with the first building block: concepting.

Concepting

The very first step is deciding what kind of video advertisement you want to create. What do you want the people who see your video to think, feel or do? And why should they believe you? To simplify, we usually suggest one of these two broad types of videos:

  • Business overview: Introduce people to what your business does, makes or sells. Talk about what makes you unique and how people can find you.
  • Showcase of your product or service: Talk about the details of a specific product or service you offer. What are the benefits to those who use it, and what sets it apart?

You can get inspiration from other companies or do something entirely unique.

Storyboarding

Once you have the idea for your promo video, start thinking about exactly how you’ll tell your story. This could include:

  • What you want to say and when
  • Who will be in your video
  • What shots you want to get
  • What props you’ll need

Then, the best thing to do is start writing or sketching out your ideas.

Scripting

It’s tempting to jump right in front of the camera and start talking, but it really helps to plan out what you want to say.

As you write the script for your promo video, read it aloud to yourself or to another person to make sure the language sounds natural, your key messages are clear and your video is about the right length for your choice of format. (A TrueView in-stream ad is typically between 30 seconds and a minute.)

Learn more about video ad formats
Tip

Mention your business’s name in the first five seconds of your video.

Casting

Who’s going to bring your story to life? Once you’ve nailed down the plan and script for your promo video, you’ll want to think about your cast.

For a business overview

If you’re introducing your business, and you’re the owner, then consider casting yourself in the lead role. Potential new customers want to know if you’re credible, and when it’s your business, you’re often the best person to communicate your company’s expertise.

For a product introduction

If you’re introducing a product or a service, it may be the hero of your story. In this case, you’ll likely want someone to do a voice-over, a technique where you provide audio commentary as your video is running.

Tip

Make sure the person you choose to do the voice-over has a clear speaking voice, and that they take their time clearly reading the script.

If you want people to appear in your introduction, consider using someone who knows your product or service well and is comfortable being in a video. This individual doesn’t need to be the product manager, or even one of your employees. The key is that this person is comfortable with communicating the key messages about your offering.

Location

The best place to film your promo video is somewhere authentic and real – so your first choice should be in or around your place of business. Choose a location that has good depth – avoid filming your subjects right against a blank wall.

Shooting your video ad

You’ve concepted. You’ve written a script. You’ve got your cast together, even if it’s just you. Now, you’re ready to make your video ad. And the first thing to consider is what you’re going to use to capture it.

Choosing a video camera

Getting the right equipment for your video ad doesn’t have to be costly. In fact, the best camera is what you already have – it’s what you’re used to, comfortable with and have with you: your smartphone.

Lighting

Another aspect to look for when picking a location indoors is lighting. Choose a room or area with good natural light – ideally, an area with indirect sunlight. You want your subject, especially his or her face, to be evenly lit.

Tip

Never put a window behind someone.

Audio

Even more important than lighting is good audio. If your promo video contains poor sound quality, it won’t be understood and, most importantly, it won’t be remembered.

Tip

Always take a few seconds to listen closely to your surroundings – for example, sometimes sounds, like the hum of an appliance, can be overlooked.

If you can afford it, the best way to get good audio is to use a microphone.

Filming

When you turn on your camera, think about the rule of thirds to help with composition. The rule is a fundamental design principle that helps achieve balance by dividing shots into thirds. This helps potential customers feel your video ad is more natural and compelling.

Tip

Don’t be afraid to get in close or to get a few different angles. The more video you take, the more material you’ll have to edit – which is our next step.

Editing your video ad

You’re in the homestretch now. So let’s talk about how you can finish strong and get your promo video ready for advertising on YouTube.

Editing

If you used a phone or a video camera, you can use an editing tool like YouTube Video Editor to finalize your project.

With your video-editing software, simply follow these steps:

  • Select the sections of video you want to keep (and archive the rest)
  • If you’re using voice-over, upload and integrate audio into your editing program
  • Add titles, including your business name, any key messages and what you want your potential customer to do next
Tip

It’s very important that your video clearly communicates what you want people to do, whether it’s to visit your website, call your business or something else entirely. Call-to-action overlays are an effective way to clearly communicate that next step.

You’re ready to shoot your video ad

That’s it. Now you know how to make a video advertisement. And you can begin attracting new customers with the story of the business you love.

Learn the five steps to setting up a successful video campaign 

Need help setting up your campaign?

A YouTube Advertising expert is available to set your account up. And it’s free (when you spend at least $10 per day).

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*For customers committing to $10 per day or more in ad budget. Phone support operating hours are Mon - Friday, 9am-9pm PST