7 Tips to Craft Winning Short-Form Video Ads for The Super Bowl and Beyond

February 9, 2024
Amanda Batista

For more than 50 years, advertisers have been drawing up game plans to score big in the Super Bowl advertising Hall of Fame. These ads have become a cultural touchdown, with unforgettable moments like Apple's "1984" and Budweiser's Clydesdale horses leaving an indelible mark. Despite the hefty price tag for a 30-second spot, advertisers tackle the challenge head-on, creating a creative blitz to capture the spotlight, setting new standards, and leaving fans cheering for more.

While securing those prized 30-second slots remains a fierce competition, the digital advertising revolution has rewritten the rules. Brands now extract maximum value from their commercials, letting us connect with audiences in fresh and thrilling ways—especially through captivating short-form video ads.

What Are Short-Form Video Ads?

short-form video ads (or ads that last under 60 seconds) offer brands an elegant and immersive approach to connecting with audiences. Perfect for our fast-paced digital world, these ads captivate quickly, from product demos to behind-the-scenes creativity.

Unlock the Potential of Short-Form Video Content
Short-form video ads enable brands to engage their audiences, with consideration for brief attention spans, mobile-friendly appeal, and platform imperatives across social media. They're cost-effective, easily shareable, and creatively thrive within time constraints. Offering instant satisfaction, adapting to global consumer habits, and seamlessly fitting into today's fast-paced lifestyle, short-form video ads have become a go-to strategy for brands seeking engaging connections with audiences in the digital age.

A whopping 73% of consumers lean towards shorter, snappier videos. Among this bunch, 59% seize the attention within 41-80% of the video's length, and an impressive 30% keep the buzz alive, with an average watch rate soaring over 81%. Looking back at 2023, short-form videos stole the spotlight in marketing strategies.

7 Best Practices for Scoring with Short-Form Video Ads
Here are some best practices for crafting compelling short-form video ads:

1. Hook Your Audience
The ideal duration of a short-form video ad is typically less than 60 seconds—sometimes even shorter, around 15 seconds. This ensures that your video truly embraces a bite-sized approach.

Online shoppers have a blink-and-you-miss-it attention span, dropping from 12 seconds to 8.25 seconds in the last two decades. It's a quick-change world, highlighting the crucial need for snappy and engaging video content, especially regarding advertising.

2. Boost Content Versatility
While TV ads may have a shelf life, the lifespan of digital ads can extend significantly longer when strategically planned. This involves crafting different versions of your initial ad. Streamline these variations to extract maximum value from your commercial. If you have an existing library of long-form videos, leverage them! Easily crop the footage to fit a vertical screen and extract clips using a video editing tool.

This method is an excellent way to initiate the release of short-form content while refining your strategy and brainstorming ideas. For instance, a clip could be derived from a more extended video cut into bite-sized segments for sharing on platforms like TikTok, Reels, and Shorts.

The Smartly platform is designed to simplify this process, allowing you to generate numerous variations of an ad in just minutes.

3. Craft Winning Plays through Hyper-Personalized Video Ads
Your Super Bowl TV ad can also be transformed into dynamic short-form videos, allowing brands to maximize their impact. Crafting different versions allows for more personalized and relevant ad experiences, providing brands a valuable opportunity to connect with their audience in diverse and engaging ways.

An illustrative example of this was Uber's campaign when they collaborated with Smartly's Creative Services team, aiming to elevate their branding through testing multiple video ad variations and implementing a continuous optimization strategy.

Using Smartly's Modular Approach, the team created three test hypotheses, focusing on trying different strategies and experimenting with various short-form video ad formats. The final re-engagement test exceeded industry averages, especially the winning test featuring the Instant Experience short-form video ad, which gained a significant 5.3-point lift in consideration for potential drivers. This success emphasized the impact of engaging the target audience through diverse video content and CTAs.

4. Meet Your Customers at Every Step of Their Shopping Journeys  Through Cross-Platform Promotion
In today’s competitive landscape, consumers spend their time on multiple platforms, making shopping journeys more complex than ever. Share your video ads seamlessly across various channels and engage your customers at every step of their journeys. This expands your reach, engages diverse audiences, and keeps your brand consistent. Tailoring content to each platform enhances audience interaction, while a diverse presence builds social proof. Sharing on multiple platforms also gives your content a longer life, letting users discover and engage across channels.

5. Tailor Your Content to Shine on Every Platform
While sharing content across all platforms is a game-changing value add to your brand’s reach, each platform has its imperatives, and it can be time-consuming to optimize each video. Smartly enables users to navigate platform specifications to ensure creative aligns and is optimized for each platform.

6. Strategically Leverage Captions for Impact
In the traditional Super Bowl TV ad world, there's no going back once your meticulously planned commercial airs. Short-form video ads offer a refreshing change, allowing you to lean on the video content and the caption. Though limited, the caption space is a treasure trove for extra context. Use it wisely to add a call to action or share more details not covered in the video. This flexibility gives your content an extra boost, making engaging your audience easier and conveying a more nuanced message.

7. Steer Your Video Ads with Trendy Precision
Identify recurring sound bites or popular songs, as these often signal trends that creators and brands hop on to maximize reach during the Super Bowl frenzy. When viewers recognize a trend in your video during the big game, they're more likely to watch it through.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving
The key benefit of short-form video ads is their lasting impact. This strategy is a continuous gift, as users who miss it on one platform can discover and engage with it on another.


Digital Advertising Trends for 2024: Navigating Challenges and Strategic Shifts

Get the Ebook

Keep Reading

See All