Updated: Oct 7
The algorithms are broken, the data is gone, and it's never been more expensive to run ads on Facebook and YouTube.
But, of course, it's not as if everyone can afford to stop running ads, especially if you're spending upwards of $20-30K per month. Social advertising is probably the key to your entire customer acquisition strategy.
As we go into Q4, eyeballs are only getting more expensive, and smart business owners are thinking creatively about how they can battle rising ad costs with stronger creative. Why? Largely because when you have better ad creative (particularly video because the algorithm favors it) you can drive down your CPM's (cost per thousand impressions) because of the organic traction that content can get.
It's a puzzling situation, though, because it can be difficult to make creative that sells effectively that also drives more organic engagement. A video like that is often thought of as something of a "golden goose" in the industry. Folks like the Harmon Brothers, for example, figured this out a long time ago and they make incredible videos that have viral potential. But they are also extremely expensive productions, so businesses take a big risk there because if the video doesn't "work" then it's near impossible to recover the ROI.
I've been making viral videos myself for nearly a decade, first in publishing leadership at places like Business Insider, NowThis, and New York Magazine, and now for my company, Guide Social. I have known and been convinced for years that you don't need big budgets to get big engagement. But how do you marry engagement with sales?
The answer is what I call "Centerpiece Videos," a format I created and have been testing for about a year with stellar results.
What's a "Centerpiece Video" Ad Anyways?
Centerpiece videos are the perfect manifestation of what I call "Magnetic Storytelling."
They feature one single protagonist (usually) who speaks directly to the camera using a very intentionally written script from the perspective of a buyer and their typical customer journey (in the case of a personal brand, there is an iteration of this script from the "CEO" perspective that works).
The magnetism comes directly from the empathy we build with our prospective customers. Our protagonist in the ad has the same problems, emotional state, and life situation as our prospective customer. That empathy draws our ideal customers to us like a magnet. People want to see themselves in the content they consume, and we give them that connection.
The script does a few very important things that allow it to work so well as an advertisement:
It mirrors the customer journey
It doesn't "Sell"
It tells a clear story with a clear beginning, middle, and end
It is generally shot well to demonstrate value with high-quality B-Roll
It has a personality, and usually humor (this is not to say it's a 'comedy video' but it's almost always funny, because humor builds rapport)
Here's what these look like. The example below we created for a company called Curiosity Box, who sells craft boxes for children and parents to do at home:
And here's another example for a water filter company called Hydroviv:
Notice how in both cases the protagonist is very clearly empathizing with the prospective customer pain point and then goes on a clear journey to reclaim a small piece of their life by becoming the customer. These videos overcome objections, allow empathy, and tell stories in a way that is so powerful, the only way you can describe them is "Magnetic."
The Impact of Having These Videos
The video above has made that company about $5 million or so to cold audiences (audiences who have no idea who you are or what you do). Obviously, success will vary based on how much you're spending and your market, etc. But these videos tend to be the highest performers for customer acquisition in almost every ad account they have touched. With the privacy changes that have swept the industry in the past year, creative is more important and more powerful than ever before.
But the real bonus here is the high level of "Halo" effect they produce. You'll find these videos tend to really stick with consumers and they'll start Googling you on off hours or going to Amazon to buy products from you. It also boosts word of mouth because the video emotionally resonates with people deeply.
You can certainly deconstruct this format and put it into play for yourself, or you can work with me and my team directly to create this content.
I'd like to offer you the opportunity to have a free video consultation with me or one of the content experts on my team. This isn't a high pressure strategy session, sales call, or anything like that.
It's a 30-minute chat where we'll help you get super clear on what your "magnetic story" is and how that could take shape in a centerpiece ad.
If it's something we feel like we can help with we'll tell you how much it costs, what we need to move forward, etc. Or you can take the information you get and source the video yourself. Click here to pick a time that works for us to chat (Again, these videos work best if you're spending at least 10k per month on ads so they can optimize).