Explainer Videos vs. Web/Social Commercials
What’s the difference between two of the most common forms of online media in political ad campaigns: Explainer videos, versus Web or Social Media commercials?
Bringing your comms online to reach as many voters as possible is simply smart campaign management. And while all ads can be broadcast myriad ways through the Internet, not all distributions — or media styles, for that matter — are created equal.
Read on to find out more, but in short, a good benchmark is this: an ad is constructed to maximize time in order to sell, whereas an Explainer can take all the time it needs to get it’s point across.
At their core, Explainer videos are crafted to break down a concept, cause, or candidate into smaller, easy-to-understand points. They are a fantastic tool for doing a “deeper dive” — without getting bogged down by too many finite details — in a way that a typical commercial can’t.
- One of the biggest differences? The viewer chooses to watch an Explainer. An Explainer doesn’t sneak up on you via Pandora in the middle of your workout, show as sponsored content in your social feed, or make you wait before you watch a video of photoshops of Ryan Gosling refusing to eat cereal. The viewer wants to know more about the topic, and sought the video out directly.
- As a result, Explainer videos aren’t “pushy.” They can take their time — between :40 seconds up to 3-5 minutes — to engage and educate the viewer in the concept.
- What does this mean for the voice over? The voice over style is typically much more easy-going than any sort of commercial or ad. Rather than trying to engage with as many viewers as possible at the same time, or sneak slyly in between your YouTube binge, it’s a friendly, warm, one-on-one narration style that pulls no punches.
- Lastly, while they certainly can be used for paid placement, Explainer videos are often strictly “organic reach” — meaning, they typically live on an organization’s website or direct YouTube page, ready for viewers to find them if/when they want to.
As a result, voice over for Explainer videos typically costs less than a Web or Social Media campaign.
Web and Social Commercials
Whereas Explainers are a relatively new concept (at least, they’ve only existed for maybe 10-15 years), Web and Social commercials are far more what viewers are conditioned to from TV and radio… and, in fact, most Web and Social commercials mimic those formats in one way or another.
- Much like traditional TV and broadcast commercials, the viewer rarely chooses directly to engage in the ad. It’s a virtual guarantee that, with any kind of web or social media commercial, you’re interrupting the user experience. Which means, as far as converting the viewer, you’re already a little behind the 8 ball.
- This also means you — the campaign, the organization, the PAC, whatever it may be — has to pay to ensure the campaign reaches viewers. This is called “paid placement,” and for voice over, that also means a higher cost for the voice talent: their work is reaching a wider audience than if it was an “organic” campaign.
- Also in the same vein as TV and radio broadcast, Web and Social commercials rarely exceed :30 seconds. They might, on occasion, but in a world of shortened attention spans and streaming everything, the most common length is between :06 and :15 seconds.
- What does this mean for your voice over? An effective voice over has to cut through the noise. Not only that, but because the viewer didn’t choose the ad experience to begin with, it needs to be engaging, inviting, and direct… in essence, overcoming the interruption in their preferred experience to still leave them with a favorable view of your candidate, organization or initiative. Your “margin for error” is narrowed significantly, which means that choosing the right voice talent to leave the right mark is paramount.
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