In this digital age, short-form advertising is a versatile tool. However, finding a way to tell a compelling marketing message with limited characters can be challenging. Fortunately, there are a few engagement strategies that you can use to create a captivating narrative within limited space.
In this article, we’ll discuss why storytelling can be effective in advertising. Then we’ll take you through three ways to apply this approach to short-form mediums. Let’s get started!
Why Effective Storytelling in Ads Can Help Your Brand
A recent study found that 76% of consumers prefer to spend money on an experience rather than a product. Therefore, appealing to the feelings associated with your items can be a strong marketing strategy.
This approach can help you invoke emotions as well. Humans are naturally empathetic, to the point where young children will try to help inanimate objects. By creating a narrative in your ads, you’re providing infrastructure for your viewers to relate to your brand.
Storytelling can also work towards your brand identity. Producing ads that follow similar plotlines can give your audience a recognizable signature to associate with your products.
However, it bears mentioning that storytelling can take many forms. Your organization might choose to tell a story through a memorable character or a relatable anecdote. As long as your viewers can understand and empathize with your ads, you have a lot of creative freedom in how you accomplish this technique.
How to Apply Effective Storytelling to Short-Form Advertising (3 Key Ways)
Sharing an interesting story can be tough when you’re short on words. However, there are a few powerful ways to create rich yet brief fiction. Let’s take a look at three.
1. Make Your Viewer the Main Character
Your ads are likely targeting a specific audience. When you’re telling a story, try to keep this demographic in sharp focus by making them the main character. Doing so can help orient viewers within your narrative, as well as make them more invested.
One tactic is to make the ad relatable. If your audience can see themselves in your story, they’ll be more likely to empathize with your message. You can consider the following Spotify ad as an example of this approach:
Spotify humorously taps into a universal reluctance to work out. The story is simple, yet instantly forges a connection with the audience. The concept of physical fitness is also generic enough to apply to a large number of people.
If you’re looking to try this approach, you may want to consider using targeted ads. These can help you reach more specific demographics, and in turn provide more particular fictions. You might find other popular marketing technologies helpful in targeting as well.
2. Use Impactful Language
The nature of short-form advertising means that you have few words to work with. As such, you might want to focus on descriptive language. This can lend maximum meaning while taking up minimal space.
For example, let’s say you’re writing an ad that describes your product as a “very good” choice. Instead, consider describing it with a word such as “excellent” or “champion.” These options have a similar character count, but have a more complex and evocative connotation.
Alternatively, you could use language as a visual storytelling tool, which is unexpected and can attract more attention. J&B Whiskey released a holiday ad that exemplifies this approach:
In under 10 words, J&B Whiskey piques viewer interest with an altered Christmas carol. The unique use of typical words makes its message eye-catching. It also tells a simple story of a holiday that’s incomplete without its product.
This ad may not be the most traditional example of effective storytelling. Nevertheless, it accomplishes its goal in a fun and clever way. If you’re looking for opportunities to think outside the linguistic box, we recommend staying on top of emerging language trends.
3. Link Separate Ads With an Overarching Theme
The specific plot of your ads will likely vary between campaigns and target audiences. However, you may want to consider linking them in some subtle way to help prime your viewers to expect the story your brand typically tells.
One way to accomplish this is through a powerful brand identity. While rebranding is occasionally necessary, it’s hard to overstate the strength of a familiar reputation. You can consider the fast-food giant McDonald’s as an example:
The narrative is straightforward: McDonald’s transforms potatoes into delicious fries. One of the reasons this short story is so effective is the branding. The combination of red and yellow is a ubiquitous signal of the golden arches. As such, the recognizable restaurant needs fewer words to imply what viewers already assume.
While your brand might not have the same universal level of recognition, you can still similarly leverage your identity. Try to stick with words that are closely related to your brand. If your audience understands your organization’s overall story, they’re more likely to connect it with your marketing.
Effective storytelling through ads can be difficult. Add to this the obstacle of a small space, and sharing a convincing narrative becomes a daunting task. Fortunately, you can make it a little easier by using creative strategies to engage your audience.
How do you tell a compelling story when your word count is limited? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.
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