Breaking Down the Components of an Effective B2B Video

April 2, 2018

LinkedIn Video Ads

Editor's note: We're dedicating the entire week to publishing content that will help marketers create effective b2b video. Stay tuned for more examples of effective video on LinkedIn, how the LinkedIn marketing team does video, objective-based video planning and more!

Back in the days of video rental stores being an actual thing (ah, the nostalgia), one could wander the aisles and peruse hundreds of distinctly different films and TV shows. Today, the same is true of a scroll through your Netflix library.

While each selection might be unique in its own way, there are some common elements that reliably tie together the most-rented, most-viewed, and most cherished classics. Whether a big-budget blockbuster or a modest indy flick, regardless of genre, you will almost always find certain universal qualities that make them a hit with audiences.

The same is true of B2B video marketing. Although there are many different types of B2B video, effective productions of any kind tend to adhere to a basic set of guidelines.

As you begin to explore LinkedIn video ads and other forms of video content, how can you be confident your campaigns will meet their goals? Start by making sure to include these essential components.

Reel Deal: 5 Characteristics of Compelling B2B Video

Communicates a Singular Idea, Solution, or Goal

It’s difficult to read an article that jumps around aimlessly and tries to convey too much information. That’s also true for video. The last thing you want to do is confuse your viewers, or make it difficult for them to follow along. Identify a clear purpose and ensure that it’s central to your entire narrative. That purpose should be very clear from the title, and should always tie to an underlying marketing objective — be it brand awareness, thought leadership, or lead generation.

When someone grabs The Hunger Games (the No. 1 most-rented Redbox movie ever), they know what they’re getting. The entire story is framed around the fictional competition in its name.

As an example from the business realm, the video below via Freshbooks is titled “Accounting for the Non-Accountant” and lays out the benefits of its product from a specific perspective and to a specific audience:

Lighting and Sound Quality Up to Par

You don’t need a Hollywood set for professional lighting and sound — only the right equipment and proper preparation. Jason Miller recently offered up some inexpensive video accessories like a smartphone tripod, mobile microphone, and LED lights, which will help ensure that everything on-screen is visible and audible.

A well-considered setting is crucial for your video. Make sure you’re accounting for things like shadows, bright windows, and background noise. Vivid surroundings can have a hugely positive impact on aesthetic appeal.

Squarespace’s collaboration with Jeff Bridges exhibits the immersive power of lighting and audio when done well:

Thoughtful and Engaging Script

Good visuals will capture a viewer’s eyeballs. But a good script is what will engage them and communicate the message you’re trying to get across. Give this step in the process the attention it deserves. If the video features dialogue, make sure it’s conversational and authentic. If there’s narration, make sure it’s riveting and alluring. Run the copy past multiple editors. Give your subjects plenty of time to get familiar with the script and ensure their lines feel natural.

To ensure your message gets across as intended, consider including captions, as a large percentage of on-the-go viewers will watch with no sound.

Of course, not every video will be scripted. Off-the-cuff discussions or stream-of-consciousness live broadcasts can certainly be effective. Just be certain the speakers have a distinct idea of what they’re going to talk about. Outlines and cues can be helpful. A bunch of “ums” and “uhs” will not play well.

The well crafted narration in this cinematic production from GE serves as a strong example of quality script guiding viewers through a B2B video experience:

Eloquent, gripping, and even poetic. Script-writing is among the 10 B2B video courses we recommend brushing up on.

Just the Right Length

There is no universally optimal length for a B2B video. It really does vary on a case-by-case basis. We generally say that two minutes is the maximum advisable runtime for LinkedIn’s audience, with around one minute being ideal, but there will be instances where it makes sense to go longer. You might consider creating shortened versions of a video for different social platforms, with a link back to the full-length original.

There’s nothing wrong with shooting a bunch of footage and then editing down afterward. Just as a movie watcher may be turned off by a three-hour runtime in a film, a busy professional seeking out video content will often skip anything longer than a couple minutes.

This amusing ad from Zendesk packs its entire message into one minute:

Clear and Measurable CTA

Here’s the big differentiator between strategic video marketing and the titles available for rental or streaming: The existence of a goal, beyond simply entertaining and satisfying the audience. Even if the objective is simply to raise brand awareness, you want to include an action you can measure by encouraging the viewer to take a next step, whether it’s visiting your website or following your company on LinkedIn or reaching out to learn more. Include a trackable shortlink to the desired destination and you’ll be able to easily measure how much traffic your video is driving.

This example from Dissolve demonstrates the company’s stock footage library by editing together an entire video from it, then finishes with a simple link inviting viewers to explore for themselves:

Now, Create Your Masterpiece

With all five of these components accounted for, it’s pretty hard to go wrong. The beauty of B2B video is in its almost limitless possibilities for creative and unique content. Enjoy the flexibility, but make sure you’re adhering to the principles of simplicity, technical quality, script clarity, concise length, and actionable next steps.

For more information go to linkedin.com/videoads. To learn more about best practices we’ve compiled from the more than 300 million video impressions and 7,500 ad campaigns, visit our video ad tips page.

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