What is the CATT formula for creating great social media ads

2nd March 2020 admin

No one’s watching your video ads on social, that maybe because you’re doing it wrong. Try using the CATT formula and see instant results. If your video ads on social media have basically stopped working. You’re not the only one with this problem.

The best way to capture your audience’s attention in video is to tell a story but how do you do that in 2020 for a mobile first use case growing generation that is going to watch for more than three seconds. Anyway, you might notice that the viral video ads that were big trends just a couple years ago like the Dollar Shave Club, Chat Books, haven’t been as popular in the past year or so.

And that’s because the market is saturated. The way that we tell a story through video in 2020, is really different than it was just a few years ago. I’m going to break down to the CAT formula, which is an acronym for very specific elements that your video needs, to tell a story for a mobile first video ad.

So what is the CATT formula?
Well, the C stands for character – The first and most important aspect of our social media video ad is that it needs a main character, a face or a person that we feel like we recognize. This helps us actually concentrate and focus on the video. This is incredibly important for social media, where we’re interacting with people, not products. So if you start your video ad with some sort of product placement, people are not going to pay attention because that’s not what we came to social media to see.

When it comes to mobile video it needs to be very simple and there shouldn’t be a fancy set or lots of people in the scene because it makes it complicated and overwhelming. The more clear it is, the more it will grab our attention. One to two main characters, should be the center of the story.

The A in the CATT formula stands for authenticity – this is really important because customers have become much more savvy in sniffing out ads. Audiences are so used to seeing organic content generated by friends and family members, and as soon as we see something that looks different than what we are expecting to see on social media, the more likely it is to trigger a response in our brain that this is an ad, and I don’t want to watch it now.

I do not mean that you should trick people into thinking it’s not an ad and then try to sell them something at the end, but what I do mean is, that highly produced cinematically shot videos, stand out and not necessarily in a good way. So the more you can avoid having your videos, although they were shot in a studio setup with lighting and cameras and actors, the more likely you are to actually get your audience to pay attention. You’ll notice that nowadays, a lot of ads are actually being run that look like they were just shot on someone’s phone, it’s actually more likely that people will get past the first three seconds. If it doesn’t look highly produced. As a side note, find out how the SA Studios NYC team can create amazing content that looks like it was filmed on a phone.

The T stands for text – On social media we’ve really become visual listeners. We’re not actually even listening with audio, becuase text has actually replaced audio in many cases. Here’s 13 really important facts you should know. The first is that 85% of videos on social media are watched without sound. The second is that 80% of people find it irritating when the company runs an ad with the video sound on autoplay. At the end of the day, most people aren’t listening with sound, and they don’t want to be forced to listen with sound. which is why including text in your video is so important.

More important, you need to be having words appear on the screen as if they were native to the video, the example of a company that’s doing this really well is hotlist.iO. Basically they write out the entire voiceover and very simple text, that actually engages audiences much more because you can hear what people are saying without actually having to listen.

The last T is timing – Let’s be real, no one is watching your video ad for very long. And even if some people are, you shouldn’t be making two minute social media video ads. The more you can pack a punch in the first three seconds and really get out before 15 seconds, the more likely your audience will engage, because they’ll actually stick around to see most of the video. In general, I would suggest keeping your video ad between 15 and 30 seconds, 30 seconds being the maximum. Avoid wasting time on build up or introducing characters or taking us on a journey, just get in, get it over with, and get out dirtier, the more likely they are to watch and engage.

Now let’s look at some examples of companies who are really doing this well and who are actually using this exact formula in their social media video ads. The first one we’re going to look at is Monday.com. Monday.com is basically a task tracking platform. Now they run lots of different types of video ads but the ones that they show on social media are really geared specifically to the platform. You’ll notice that there’s a main character that looks pretty relatable and not like a very polished actress. She takes up most of the scene. Her footage looks very authentic, it’s mostly stop motion and it looks like somebody could have shot it on their phone at the office. I don’t have to watch the sound because there’s very clear text telling me a story, and it’s short 15 seconds, and it was over, and I got the gist and didn’t have to watch a 10 minute video.

Another good example is better health an app that helps you find therapists here you’ll see that there’s an ad that is very clearly having the faces of these characters. It take up the center of the screen, and there’s not a lot going on, like a confusing set. There’s text that’s very clearly telling us what’s happening, it looks like it was shot very simply. There’s even a punch line that you kind of laugh out at the end when you realize that she’s talking to a therapist on a video call and not in real life. But we got to the end because it was so short.

They take one very simple scene that has a person in it, who’s doing something and they kind of tell you a whole story and in just a few words and a short 15 seconds, and it’s over. Now you know why your video ads on social media, aren’t working and what you can do to change that.

So there you have it, let me know in the comments below just how effective these ideas are to your business.
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