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5 things to know before starting a B2B video ad project

When starting a new project of any kind, unrealistic expectations are the quickest way to guarantee failure. Since many B2B companies are new to creating video ads, this episode will provide the realistic expectations that you should have going into a new video ad project.

Top 5 realistic expectations to have of your B2B video ad project

  1. It can take a while to start working.
  2. It’s expensive.
  3. Producing the ads takes time.
  4. Attribution is difficult.
  5. You need a distribution plan and budget for paid media.

For more on each one, listen to the episode or read the transcript below. Plus: all these expectations sound like a real bummer. Why should you make a B2B video ad anyway?

Listen to part one of this series: 5 realistic expectations to have of your audience


Guy Bauer: I can think of no other medium that can allow your share of voice to explode exponentially. If you come out with something that people enjoy and share and like, your share of voice can instantaneously, overnight scale to heights that were just previously unimaginable. 

Hope Morley: Hello and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice for how to make B2B video ads your prospects actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley

Guy Bauer: I'm first name.

Hope Morley: That's a bad cold outreach email joke.

Guy Bauer: Oh, that's a little, It's a, what it is is a hint. We got a cool spot dropping soon. I'm Guy Bauer. Hello.

Hope Morley: Excited about something that's dropping for us in the next couple weeks. So keep an eye out. Follow us on LinkedIn and YouTube to see our next video drop. If you have a first name, you will appreciate it.

Guy Bauer: Or if you've ever been harassed by cold outreach, anyway, but that's not what we're talking about. What are we talking about today, Hope?

Hope Morley: It's not. So, a couple weeks ago we did an episode that we talked about realistic expectations for the audience watching your video ad that we wanted our clients and potential clients to keep in mind. So today we're actually going to turn that episode around a little bit. Turn the camera from looking at the audience to looking at the video ad itself.

We want to talk about what realistic expectations you should have of your new video ad. We want people to go into new projects with us or with whatever video marketing company they're working with, with realistic expectations of what video can do for their business. So here are the five secrets, the five realistic expectations that we want anyone to go in, you know, fully realistic on what is going to happen.

Guy Bauer: Great. Awesome. What's number one?

Hope Morley: Number one, the first realistic expectation of your video ad that we want people to have is that, It's not gonna work overnight. Releasing a video ad is not a switch that you can flip and you'll suddenly be flooded with leads or MQLs.

Guy Bauer: Correct. Yeah. 95% of the time, you debut your ad and, yeah, nothing will happen. You'll have engagement and stuff like that, but no leads, no MQLs. Immediately, the 5% of the time, if you do hit creative gold or just happenstance or whatever, you could get a viral-ish spot that does throw off leads immediately.

We just had one recently. We do a year of ads strategy, every month we debut an ad, this was our 10th ad, our October ad, our Halloween ad, and it did go viral-ish and we did get leads, but that was an anomaly and we weren't expecting that. It's a happy surprise, but we totally weren't expecting it because video ads, the cool thing about them is they have a very long shelf life, but, where we see video ads being used primarily is in that awareness phase.

And so, B2B Institute likes to say that only 5% of your audience are ever in market for a solution like yours at any given time, which means 95% of the people watching this ad are not in market and maybe not in market for the next two, three years.

So it's a very long term play, but what video does do very well is boost that brand awareness so when they do get to be in market, as long as you have a great video, they'll recall your brand, or at least include you in the consideration set because when they Google, you know, the category of your solution and see your logo or your name, they'll remember that thing that you made three years ago.

So it's a long, long, long term play. 95% of the time.

Hope Morley: Video ads are a long game, but they're highly memorable, so they stick with people. Hopefully, like Guy said, over the next couple years.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. And we can attest to that. Is that the right word? We can attest. We had a lead come in within a few last months and they referenced a spot we put out in 2020 and that, so that was a two year old spot that we really haven't sponsored much. It's the slow motion conference room spot. It's called, Trapped in a Corporate Video if you wanna check it out on YouTube. Yeah, it did not perform that well on paid, but organic, it just kind of works its way around. The internet is still throwing out leads a couple years later.

Hope Morley: All right. Realistic expectation number two to have of your video ad project. It's expensive. That's the expectation we want people to have. You need a good budget if you want something good because we are talking specifically about video ads. The ad piece is really important as part of this conversation, cuz we're not talking about just a quote unquote video.

You know, it's not something that you're going to just call a video production company to show up at your office with a camera and do something quickly. No ads are different. And Guy, can you explain why? Ads are expensive and different.

Guy Bauer: When we say ad, we say something like you would see on TV when you're watching the game or something that stops the scroll. Those ads that you've seen on social media that just look different, sound different, have a high level of creative. Get stuck in the mind of your prospects.

That's not an explainer video. That's not a testimonial video, That's not a video with your CEO talking in the conference room. I'm talking about those things that stick with you for the rest of your life. And in some cases, some ads have changed my life. The imported from Detroit spot, when that came out in 2011, I was just starting this business and I remember that spot came out and it like motivated me, like I was gonna give up on this thing and it motivated me to continue.

That's what we mean by ads. And so when you buy a video ad. Yes. So our ads start at $50,000. If you want one Umault video ad, it's just a one off, it's 50,000 bucks. And when you say, Well, wait a second, I can go get a video done for 8,000, and yes, you can, you can get a video done for 2000, go on Fivrr, or you can get a video done for 20 bucks.

Hope Morley: You can do it for free on your iPhone.

Guy Bauer: You could do it for free on your iPhone. So video, a lot of people get caught in the procurement of the medium of video. Well, $50,000 is just, we've never spent that much on video. You, the way you gotta think of it is, yes, the ad is delivered in the medium of video, but what you're really buying is the ad.

And if we were to do a cost breakdown of that $50,000, Not much of it is being spent on the actual video portion. A lot of it is being spent on the thinking portion and all the expertise and all the know-how to formulate an idea that does get stuck in the mind of your prospect for two to three years because again, that's what it's gonna take.

So two to three years from now, when the leads start coming in, because your prospects started to move in market, the caliber of the ad creative will have direct correlation to those leads, two to three and again, two to three, to five to 10 to 20 years later. So, it's expensive. It's super valuable because it can scale infinitely.

There's a little story that I heard where this guy was buying an Aston Martin and he said, You know, I've been, I've been dreaming about owning an Aston Martin ever since I saw your commercial and the guy was like, Well, we're Aston Martin. We don't run commercials. He's like, No, no, no, you did when I was five and I remembered it.

And that's the power of a creative video ad. Video is the medium, the ad is the thing you're buying. And to write a great ad requires not just like a good script. It requires thinking. There's stuff in the subconscious and the subliminal that are coming across.

There's themes and there's a lot of alchemy to borrow a phrase from Rory Sutherland that gets put into the brew of an ad. And that's what you're paying for. 50 grand for a video for a 60 second video. Are you kidding? That's crazy. Right? But that 50 grand isn't being paid just on the video.

It's being paid for the creative behind the ad. 

Hope Morley: And like we touched on before with the long shelf life that a good video ad can bring to you. If you think about the investment in this piece, if you want something that's going to last for years and years and years and continue to bring you value, constantly, you have to invest in that. 

All right. Realistic expectation number three, related to being expensive is that it takes time. We want people to go into making a video ad with the expectation that it's gonna take a while to get it right. And Guy touched on this, talking about scripting and the thinking up front before you actually make the video ad.

But getting a proper video ad is not like a testimonial or something with your CEO in the conference room that you can turn it around in three weeks. There's a lot of steps before you get to the actual video production that takes time to do right.

Guy Bauer: If you scroll down and look at our previous episode, the one that came out right before this, we go in depth on all the stuff that is done before you make the actual video before you hit record. A lot of times we get folks that call, it's, you know, October one and we're like, When, when do you wanna be in market?

They're like, Oh, the end of this month. You can procure a video in that amount of time. But if you want an effective video ad, there's just, there needs to be time to think. And, at least half of our process is just thinking. It's just stuff on paper. I would say two thirds of our process is all done on paper.

You know, and not paper digital files, but, um, yeah. 

Hope Morley: Yeah, strategy, research, writing, all these pieces that you can do with a notepad or Google Docs.

Guy Bauer: Yep. Mm-hmm. And we like to say, think of it as a quarter. It's about a full quarter, a full three months from start to finish. That's what you should have in mind.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm. Realistic expectation number four. We want people to expect coming into a video ad project that once it's released, attribution is going to be difficult. It can be really hard to determine the exact number ROI of a specific video ad, and that is, it is a brand awareness play, and it is a long game.

So getting out in front of someone, they'll see your ad on LinkedIn a couple months later. They're Googling you. They come through, even if your salesperson asks. Once that lead comes through, Hey, how'd you hear about us? They possibly don't remember, or they don't even think that the last touch was this video ad that they saw, or it's definitely not the last touch, but it's not why they potentially will say that they reached out.

But it's building that base and that flow of information for somebody. So when they get to the point where they're looking for a solution, they are reaching out to your sales team.

Guy Bauer: Attribution is like really, really, really hard even when you use the UTMs and all that stuff because as you know, the journey nowadays is just insane. We have all these funnels, but like zero 1% of folks actually follow the funnel. Most people are just finding their own way. What we like to do though, because you will be brought into, you know, held to account for this spend, make sure you benchmark like where you are now.

If you have like a brand awareness or brand monitoring service. I know there's a few websites out there. Or come up with your own metrics for brand awareness. It could be number of followers on your key social channel. It could be branded search terms. 

Like it could be overall web traffic. And what we do is we kind of mash those three metrics together and that's how we have our brand awareness score. The video ad should be one piece of a holistic marketing strategy.

Right? But, measure it on the macro. One thing that Apple did was they, I'm not sure if they do it anymore, but they don't really P&L individual marketing channels. And again, I don't know if this is still accurate, but they don't really, like I said, they don't do line items for each individual marketing channel.

They blend them together into one big number. Cuz their whole idea is that they understand that there's stuff that's done, that isn't always gonna be able to be attributed. So they see it as like this whole kind of ecosystem. The other thing to do is also find metrics that you can account for, you know.

Hope Morley: Yeah, so I was gonna say, I would recommend going into a video project that you have multiple key results or multiple key metrics that you're looking at. So Guy was getting at this blended approach. So it's not quite as easy as go to an event, get 10 leads, right? Looking at your project, have several key results or several key metrics that you're looking at that you can bullet point through, and you can see throughout those, you know, there might be one.

It is, yeah, bring in five direct leads that specifically point at this video ad in the next 30 days. But then after that, it's get more followers on social, get more web traffic coming through, increase your branded search, which is, can be, an indication of brand awareness and looking at those as a whole.

When you're going to report your results to the higher ups who are making your budget decisions for next year. You can point at all these things. And so, even though you could have somebody say, Well, we only got five direct leads off this video. But you can say, Yeah, but after it was released, look at these other metrics that improved and going from there, you can argue for the budget and show that this did actually work.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. The other thing too that great video ads will do is there's tons of psychological reinforcement that it's working. So, people coming up to you in booths or just trade events going, Oh, I love your ads that you put out. There's tons of that anecdotal stuff that happens and make sure you keep track of that.

Make sure, you know, make sure the higher ups are aware of what people in the market are saying. Otherwise, Geico wouldn't spend billions and billions, I don't know, millions and millions on their ads. You know? But what you gotta do is find the metrics where you can show that they're working.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm.

All right. Our last realistic expectation, number five is you cannot just make a video ad and call it a day. You must have a distribution plan and you must have a budget for paid media. Video ads need to be sponsored. There needs to be money on the back end because a video ad is not an organic play on its own.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, a lot of folks think that they spent 50 grand on this video. All right, now just throw it on YouTube goes viral and leads come in. And unfortunately, maybe 10 years ago, that was semi the case. And everyone likes to point to Dollar Shave Club. But Dollar Shave Club is now almost 10 years old.

Squatty Potty, same thing. It's like eight, seven or eight years old. The competition for attention is just fierce. So the way I like to think of it is, so there's a certain level of creative needed to make your ad, and I would argue that there's a same level of different kind of creative, but of different kind of alchemy to actually come up with a strategy for the paid media. It's almost like its own, like you, you have to think as creatively on the paid media side as you did in making the ad. Without a good paid strategy, it's just not gonna work. The ad's just not gonna work. We've had ads that we've run for ourselves where the performance is pretty bad, and then we change the audience up, maybe change up the campaign goal keywords, whatever, and then it's the best ad.

And it's effective. So like it just shows you, there's so many levers to pull on the paid side and it requires the same amount of creative, a different kind of creative, but the same amount of creative energy as in making the actual ad. So make sure you have a paid plan in place, before you go into, you know, making your ad.

Hope Morley: Yeah, a video ad's not a magic bullet. It's not something that you just release and you get tons of leads, and it just like goes around the internet. The way the internet works now, I think we all know that it's all about. Like push content, you have to serve content to people. They're not really seeking you out quite in the same way that they used to, especially when you're talking to a colder audience through ads.

So you need to be prepared to get your video ad in front of people, and that costs money, unfortunately.

Guy Bauer: It does, but could we talk about the good parts now? Now we sufficiently scared everyone.

Hope Morley: Now that we scared everybody off, so why? Why do this? Okay. Right. So here, let me run through the realistic expectations and then we'll talk about why you should do this. So the expectations you should have. One, it's not going to work overnight. It's a long game. Two, it's expensive. Three time, you should count on a couple months to get it done right.

Four attribution is going to be difficult, and five, you can't just make a video ad. You need to also have a distribution plan and a budget for paid media. So all that said, why do it?

Guy Bauer: I don't know. We just gotta close up shop, just end this podcast. No, no. So there's so many reasons why to do it, but this is something that I was just thinking of is that I can think of no other medium that can allow your share of voice to explode exponentially in the marketplace. If you come out with something that people enjoy and share and like, and all that stuff, your share of voice can instantaneously, overnight scale to heights that were just previously unimaginable. I mean, I guess you can do that with a blog. I don't know, like, but when was the last time a blog went viral? I think the chances for things working through your target audience are so high. When it's a video ad, and we've seen that happen with our own ads that we run for our agency.

It's crazy. The last spot we did, Marketergeist, Ads of the World put it out in their email as one of the top three Halloween ads, and there were like hundreds of Halloween ads, but we were in the, we were one of three that they featured in their email newsletter. And so we were next to like Burger King and some other huge brand, Heinz?

Hope Morley: Heinz ketchup. Yeah.

Guy Bauer: So we had complete share of voice.

There were no other agencies on that list. So for that one, you know, for that one email, like we went out to their email list and had 100% share of voice in the agency category. And if you have a plan that is working all year round like that, just think if you, you know, if you keep pinging that share of voice meter, even if it goes up and down like an RPM thing in your car, you know, it's not always gonna be a hundred percent share of voice, but like if you can keep pinging the market and keep pinging and pinging with creative work, that is going to boost overall brand awareness.

Hope Morley: There's a war for brand right now, right? Brand awareness is going to be the new frontier for a lot of B2B brands.

Releasing a video ad is the quickest way to make a brand impact, but also a long term way to continue making a brand impact. So you've got this video ad out there both working through sponsored channels through your distribution plan, but it can also have a long life as an organic piece of content on your YouTube channel.

It can live on your LinkedIn, wherever you've got it. You can pin videos to the top of your page, and it's a way that you can continue to build this brand affinity. Continue to build brand awareness so that when this person comes into market for your solution, you have gotten yourself onto that short list of brands to consider.

Guy Bauer: Yep. Right now that's the core thing that we're seeing is that B2B is a monster that has woken up. And there's many organizations that have never really done branding before. They haven't had to because everything was, you know, the sales people had relationships and there were so few competitors.

There were no brands entering the space. 

Hope Morley: Barriers of entry were higher. Now it's lower. It's easy for a new competitor to come in. It's easier for a new competitor to come in, spend some money on, for example, a video ad, and a great distribution plan, and suddenly they've gotten themselves in front of all your clients.

Guy Bauer: Yep, Yep. And so I think it's absolutely critical that video ads, again, video ads, we're sure you're already doing videos, testimonials and explainers and all that stuff, but I think it's, it's video ads. 

They're the primary, I think, or one of the primary tools in the war for brand video ads.

Hope Morley: At this point, we're getting to the end of 2022. B2B companies are not new to video anymore. Video. They've all done video to some extent. Like you said, testimonials, CEO videos, the explainer animations. Every, pretty much every B2B brand has dipped their toes into video. The next frontier, looking at 2023 and looking at how to be really effective with video as a tactic, is to get into video ads, and that's really where you're going to build brand affinity and you can really move the needle on brand awareness is by using video ads effectively.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, well said.

Yeah, that's exactly right. Yeah. Couldn't have said it better myself. So hopefully we didn't scare everyone away from video ads, but they are their own beast and that's why we wanted to put this out because you know, It's important you understand. It's, it's just a different thing you're procuring. It's not a video.

Video is just the medium. The fundamental thing you're buying is an ad or as my six year old daughter calls it, a commercial. And the other day, I smiled, I was watching football and she heard the commercials come on and she ran into the room to watch the commercials. And then once they were over, she left. Once football started again, she left. And I was like, What, what did you do? She's like, Well, I only watched the commercial, the commercials, they're the only parts that are good.

I'm like, Hey, family business, That was a nice moment. 

Hope Morley: We're always happy to talk to any listeners who, you know, you're getting into video ads for the first time. You're not really sure how to pitch this to your higher ups. You really don't know where to start. We are here for you. We're happy to talk to any listeners of this show. You can always email the show at hello@umault.com.

That's hello at u m a u l t.com. Say you're a listener of the show and we're happy to chat about getting started with video ads.

Guy Bauer: Yeah.

Hope Morley: And if you wanna find us on other channels, you can find us, across all the social media channels at Umault. Again, that's, U M A U L T. We're biggest on LinkedIn. That's why we're so popular.

Follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, we're also on Twitter and Facebook if you're still hanging out in those places.

Guy Bauer: Cool.

Hope Morley: Thanks for listening today.

Guy Bauer: You're welcome.

Guy Bauer: Without tragedy, like no comic just goes like, Hey, isn't it, isn't it funny when you go out and it's a really nice day? Like, no, there's, there's nothing funny about that.

Hope Morley: Yeah, it has to come from pain.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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