Creating YouTube Ads That Viewers Don’t Want to Skip

“Hey you, with the face, looking at your computer screen. I see you reading this post.  I know what you’re here for. You want to learn how to hook your audience so they will stop skipping your YouTube Ads.  Well that is what I am teaching you right now.”  I hooked you by directing my comments to you. And if you’re still reading, it worked.

This is a giant problem most people have when writing their script and filming the ad.  They do not have a hook that will grab attention and create an engaged the audience.  Lets face it, if you are not hooking your audience you ad is worthless.  Putting money into an ad with a crappy hook is like putting money into a TV ad.  People are just going to fast forward it.

Your Hook Is Like Your Underwear… 

People are on YouTube to watch the video they chose, not your ads. You have 5 seconds to steal their attention. If the audience does not see how this ad is relevant to them, they do not care to watch it. Their mouse is already hovering over the “Skip Now” button, chomping at the bit to get the annoying YouTube Ad off their screen.  Your job is to make them choose your video in that crucial first 5 seconds.

These Geico Ads are great examples of hooking the audience.  They get their message across before the audience gets a chance to skip.


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The Elements Of A Good Hook That Nobody Knows About

Be upfront with you audience. Tell them why you are there and what value you are going to bring to them.The people who are interested will listen to what you have to say. This will segment your audience into your potential customers and those who are not interested.  The skip button then actually becomes your ally, because you only want to spend your ad dollars on people who are potential customers anyway. Everyone else can go ahead and skip.

call out

Call Out Your Target Audience

One way that we often segment our target market is to call them out.  This will catch the attention of everyone we actually want listening to our message, and get the others to skip. We get a relevant audience watching our ad and stretch our ad dollar in the process.  In our video ads we would say…

“We only want to talk to serious marketers. If you are not a marketer or business owner, skip this ad because we don’t want to talk to you.”

Address Their Fears or Desires

The two most powerful things in the world are fears and desires.  When someone is afraid of something they will do anything to prevent it from happening.  The same goes for a desire.  A person will go to many lengths to get what they desire. If you can address a fear or desire of your customer, they will listen.

Say you were targeting businesses and entrepreneurs, a good phrase that would insight the fears or desires would be…

“Are you scared that you will be trapped in a cubicle for the rest of your life? Do you have aspirations to own your time?”

Look People In The Eye

Something that we have noticed is that your ad should have an actual person talking. This is especially the case in the first 5 seconds. People are more inclined to listen to you if they can see you.  A voice over is easily tuned out when you are trying to skip an ad, but when you can look a person in the eye it does two things

  • Lets the person see who you are.
  • People begin to trust you are more inclined to listen to the words coming out of your mouth.

Almost every ad we run has someone talking to the camera at some point during the ad, especially at the beginning. When you can look someone in the eye and are confident in your message, that is powerful.

This is one of our Ads  that nails all three…

Geico’s Missed Opportunity

Let’s return to the Geico ad that we saw above.  From my perspective Geico nailed the hook.  Beautiful work on that front.  However, they missed a huge opportunity.  The one thing Geico failed to do with the unskippable ad was a Call To Action.  They would have thrown a CTA in at the end that drove a ton of potenial customers to their website.  Instead the great hook was wasted, and the ad became a passive experience. This is how you should feel Geico…

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This article first appeared on the Video Power Marketing Blog.

About the Author

jake-larsen-roundJake Larsen grew up with a camera in his hand. His passion for video making lead him to TV Advertising in LA, where he worked behind the scenes with FOX Entertainment on TV shows like 24, American Idol and House. When Google asked him to be a YouTube Marketing Ambassador, Jake quit his job to start Video Power Marketing — a video production/advertising agency that helps companies capture attention, drive traffic, and increase sales using YouTube videos and advertising.

Jake has grown channels up to 24 million views and increased online sales by 65% for multi-million dollar companies. His video strategy not only guarantees views, but cuts through the competition to capture and direct viewers’ attention.

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