In this episode, Deividas sits down with Holly, Sugatan’s video ad director, and they talk about the behind-the-scenes process of creating the winning video ad.
First, Holly talks about her general process for creating video ads, and how sometimes, being real with the audience is the best approach.
She explains that a lot of people in the industry look at their customers as a different form of species. Which isn’t (or shouldn’t) be the case.
When it comes down to it – people want to see relatable and entertaining content. And if you manage to address their objections while being funny, you might have found yourself a winning video ad.
But at the same time, Holly explains that she doesn’t want to bombard the audience with the same type of content.
So, once you’ve found a template that works, you can’t re-use it all the time. Otherwise, people will get bored.
Holly first got her start in video production during college – when she wanted to make music videos and short films.
Once she graduated though, she got into freelancing, and like most people – started with UpWork.
To stand out, she made a personal video for her profile, advertising herself and her skills.
Turns out – this worked! Eventually, Kris came across her video and immediately recognized Holly’s abilities.
From there, things only got better.
Nowadays, Holly explains that to understand what makes a video ad good or bad, she actively does 2 key things:
- She consumes the content – She analyzes other videos, engages with other users, and is involved in social media to be up-to-date with the trends.
- She asks questions – She explains that the videos should be interesting and engaging for everyone, not just the target audience.
After this, they talk scroll-stoppers.
Deividas recalls some of the funniest scroll-stoppers he’s seen for an info product – where they would smash fruits to capture people’s attention.
Holly explains that there has to be a good balance of surprise, and expectations.
People should be surprised, but not so much so that they’re confused and lost in the ad.
She says that the reason some ads might not work is because the viewer might not know what’s going on, or that the video is too boring.
Which is why you should always be testing everything.
Even a tiny ad detail can cause an ad to flop, or for it to go viral.
Deividas explains that sometimes when they find a winning ad, it only works for up to 2 weeks.
It’s hard to rapidly come up with solid angles and copy, edit everything, and pump out everything on a routine basis.
As of now, Holly says they’re doing around 10-30 video ads per week, with variations. To increase the video ads volume, the variations come in handy.
On that note, Holly explains that quality is not as important as most people think.
Rather, quality is an ad that converts. And sometimes – “crap converts”.
To find the balance between quality and quantity – Holly says that they’re constantly increasing different variations and video angles.
For example, with one video ad, they would test a completely different intro, so that the first 5 seconds are entirely different.
When discussing the process behind creating new creatives weekly, Holly explains that first, the ad buyer or the senior eCommerce strategist comes up with an “Epic”.
In other words, they first choose the angle of the ad to focus on.
Then, the video team comes up with micro-angles for that big angle.
For example, if the “Epic” behind the video ad is to be cost-effective, the micro-angles could be comparing it to a more expensive product, focusing on benefits for the value, and so on.
Then, they create the copy and choose their shots.
She hopes to eventually have a giant checklist they could apply for each ad and once everything checks out – the video goes into testing.
When talking about video ads, Holly explains that you shouldn’t feel that the video is an ad. Because people just scroll past them without giving it a thought.
The ad should blend in, but also stand out among the blended in.
Finally, Deividas asks Holly what’s the biggest lesson she’s learned from working with Sugatan and scaling businesses for the past 2 years.
To that, she says it’s the confidence she’s gained. Now, she feels good about not listening to people and not taking advice. Because she knows what makes an ad good.
She explains that people should realize the new-ness behind the video ad science.
And if you ARE in the field, you probably know what’s going on more than other people.
As an expert, she can successfully lead now based on the knowledge she’s gained.
For the listeners, she suggests to scroll through your feed (and other peoples’), to learn from what the current brands are doing.
People are losing their consumer perception. To avoid that, she recommends people look at ads and feel what it’s like to be a customer and a consumer.
As a parting note, Deividas asks her what advice she would give to herself 2 years ago.
To that, Holly answers that her past self knows more than she thinks. As a user of the same platforms, she knows what it takes to produce consistent results and have it down to a science.
PS – looking for more info on highly successful video ads and converting creatives? Check out our new article on Facebook video ads and lessons learned analyzing video ads that generated $10M+ here.
Here’s what we cover during episode #32:
- Holly’s “Aha!” moments
- Being real with the audience
- What makes Holly so irreplaceable?
- What did Holly do to stand out on Upwork and capture Kris’ attention among a sea of freelancers?
- Understanding people and what type of content they resonate with
- 2 main things Holly does to better understand what makes certain videos good or bad
- The best scroll-stoppers Deividas and Holly have seen
- How to get people to stay for your videos
- 2 most important reasons why certain video ads might not work as well
- Want to go viral? Be ready to test everything! Even a tiny detail can cause your ad to flop
- “Crap converts” – Holly. Why is that?
- How Holly manages her team
- What comes first – the video ad or the copy?
- How does Holly screen the people she wants to work with?
- The secret SOPs (standard operating procedures) and workflow process behind creating new creatives weekly
- Missed opportunities on TikTok people are ignoring?
- What does the 1982 film Blade Runner has to do with marketing?
- Biggest lesson learned being with Sugatan and scaling businesses for the past 2 years
- How brands should stop losing their consumer perception
- What advice would Holly give to herself to 2 years ago?
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