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Erik Cornelius

Erik Cornelius VP of Marketing

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Mute the "Voice of God" in Your Video Ads

Yesterday I wrote about the three reasons most dealers fail at online video advertising. Today I'd like to dig more deeply into the first reason:

Most Video Ads Play Muted


Traditionally, dealer advertising has made heavy use of voiceovers to drive the message. In most internet advertising formats that dealers will use, including sidebar ads placed through ad networks and Facebook ads, the ads start out sans sound.

Sound is enabled only after a viewer clicks on the video. Now put yourself in the shoes of your customer. Do you want to click the video and suddenly hear a loud, announcer-like voice in the middle of your office or living room?

Even if the baritone bloviation doesn’t turn your potential customer on his heels, the voiceover is half-finished by the time the click comes. That’s half your message unheard.

How to make better video ads

A better solution is to make your video ads less reliant on the audio track to properly present a message. Instead, provide all of the information with visuals. Images of the autos, special prices, dealer incentives and important specs should all be vividly splashed across the screen.

Sure, go ahead and include (licensed) music in the audio track. Just make sure it isn’t crucial to getting your message across.

Here’s a sample video I created to demonstrate this point.

The YouTube Pre-roll Exception (isn’t really an exception)

YouTube’s TruView pre-roll ads do play with audio from the very beginning, and you can use a voiceover here. But this doesn’t mean you should. The Voice of God works in TV ads because ads are hard to skip, even in the age of the DVR. Go in the kitchen to grab a glass of iced tea and you can still hear the booming voice.

On TV it’s OK to be a little bit annoying. On the internet, you have to be entertaining and informative. Otherwise people will eagerly wait, watching the 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… countdown to skip your video.

Chris Halsey
The best thing would be to integrate both sound and visuals effectively so that you can lose one and still be able to convey the message. It will also be helpful when creating ads for cross platform use. Not everyone is able to create individual ads for the internet and TV. Sometimes they are one and the same for economic reasons.
Erik Cornelius
Spot on, Chris. It's true that the visuals and the audio can work well together. Sometimes, I find it easier to make the point about the importance of visuals in internet advertising by taking an extremist viewpoint. It's easier to let people find the exceptions to the rules on their own, after they understand why the rules work. As to your last point about the cost, I won't go into too much detail because this forum is for sharing insights, not hawking products, but I do work for a company that lets dealers produce high-quality video ads for less than $100 each.
Dennis Galbraith
About 25% of people are primarily auditory learners. That's not to say they only learn by hearing, but it's very important to them when taking in new information. Video is a great way of meeting the information needs of these shoppers. It's best when site, sound, and motion work together. For a segment of any dealer's customer base, the audio portion of that is vital.

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