5 steps to creating successful branded video content

5 steps to creating successful branded video content

Over the last few years, branded content has surged in popularity. And more and more clients are asking us to help them create better content – and in particular, video content – for their brand. So, following our recent studies, we’ve rounded up our five key learnings on how to make successful branded videos, alongside some of our favorite branded content examples. Use these to inspire and guide your next branded content idea.

5 things your branded content should do

Let’s start by exploring what branded content should do to be considered successful in the first place. Marketers often only evaluate the performance of videos on total views and view-through rates. While this gives you some indication of performance, it does not tell you the whole story. Therefore, based on extensive investigation, we’ve developed our own set of performance criteria – the five things your branded content should do to be successful:

  1. Be selected: the content should grab attention and make people choose to engage with it
  2. Retain attention: the viewer should want to watch the video in full
  3. Spotlight the brand: the brand should stick in the viewer’s mind
  4. Gratify: the viewer should find the content fitting and engaging (drive an emotional response)
  5. Lead to action: the viewer should take further action after viewing the content

Now that we’ve established what your branded content needs to do to be successful, let’s look at how you can create successful videos. We’ve broken down our key learnings into the following five steps:

Step 1. Generate intrigue to grab the audience’s attention
Step 2. Deliver the story in the time you need
Step 3. Make it authentic and relatable
Step 4. Entertain or inform
Step 5. Integrate your brand in a credible way

Step 1. Generate intrigue to grab the audience’s attention

There’s so much content out there competing for viewers’ time and attention. So, the first step to creating successful branded video content is to ensure people notice and select your content. It’s all very well to make content that people love to watch, but what if it isn’t noticed in the first place? It’s the same concept with advertising: in today’s crowded world, the biggest challenge is to create an ad that manages to break through the clutter.


Source: Buzzfeed.com

  • We found that the main reason why people select a specific branded content is curiosity and intrigue. So, start by choosing a topic or an angle that triggers such feelings.
  • Interest and relevance are also important drivers. As always, it pays off to tailor your content to your audience’s interests.
  • Meanwhile, more functional aspects like video length and number of views play a less important role in the selection process.

Step 2. Deliver the story in the time you need

People are usually prepared to spend more time consuming branded content than they would an advert. So, you can afford to make your branded content longer than your typical ad. But you must still strive to ensure that your viewer doesn’t skip or drop off part way through your video, and miss your key message.

  • We found that branded videos that are shorter than 4 minutes get better view-through rates, as well as a higher chance of selection.
  • But, if more time is needed to tell the story, longer content can still generate strong levels of attention. Indeed, long-form branded video content is a growing trend in marketing. The LEGO Movie is a highly successful – if rather unique – example of such long-form content!

The Lego Movie: Official main trailer

Step 3. Make it authentic and relatable

Relatable, credible and authentic content helps engage the audience, and creates the most impact.

  • Videos about real people and real experiences in a realistic context resonate well with audiences. They perceive it as more personally relevant and credible.
  • Inclusive, relatable content helps bring the viewer into the experience. While one-way storytelling tends to alienate them. One way to make your content inclusive is to show your audience something they can also do with friends or peers.

Step 4. Entertain or inform

To keep the viewer engaged and interested throughout the video, you need to create a compelling story.

  • We found that informative, intriguing and fun or funny branded videos generate the most interest.
  • Underlying humor helps to keep the audience entertained and engaged.
  • Exciting viewing experiences, especially using cool or glamorous subject matters, keep levels of attention high.
  • We also found that informative content evokes a strong sense of enjoyment, interest and relevance.

Benfica Safety Video | Emirates Airline

Step 5. Integrate your brand in a credible way

Ultimately, the goal of your branded content is to increase brand appeal, product interest and/or purchase intent. It is therefore important to connect your brand to your story.

  • You should find a natural and credible way to integrate your brand into the content. This helps your audience understand and accept the connection between your brand and the story.
  • If you are using your branded content to showcase how your brand is making a difference, you must again do so in a credible way. Action points that support the brand’s claim help make the content more believable.

Dove Real beauty sketches: You are more beautiful than you think
The above five steps are broad guidelines based on our analyses of high-performing and low-performing branded video content. Although these give you an indication of how to create successful videos, best practices for your branded content also depend on your brand category and objectives. It is only by testing your content that you can get a full understanding of its effectiveness, and uncover ways to improve its performance.

Our Branded Content Test

At MetrixLab, we’ve designed a rigorous, yet cost-effective branded content market research solution. Our Branded Content Test was developed in line with our leading digital ad testing solution, and can be applied to both branded video and written content. The solution helps you understand the in-market potential of your content, and answer questions such as:

  • Will people select your branded content in a competitive context? Why or why not?
  • Will they engage with it, and watch or read it in full?
  • Will they be able to recall the brand and message?
  • What is the content’s impact on your brand?
  • What is your strongest piece of branded content? Can it be further optimized?

Test, select and optimize your strongest piece of branded content with our Branded Content Test.

Contact us to get started

You can also find out more about our advertising and brand research solutions, or read more of our latest research and best practices.

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