In my past blog posts, I stated the reasons why companies should rethink making their YouTube commercial stream before popular videos can be viewed.  I believe that video marketing can be a very effective tool.  However, like other social media, it can also backfire when done incorrectly.  In order to avoid the ‘hard sell’ on viewers’ ‘me time’, there are some guidelines you should follow:

Four tips on how to have a not-so-awful YouTube commercial:

1)   Make the ad enjoyable. If you are going to try to bring business into the social space, then avoid the hard sell.  You want to make sure that the video is, at least, mildly entertaining. Humor can turn your video from a sales pitch to entertainment, making it something people may actually watch.  If you can’t make the ad funny, at least be creative with it.

2)   Allow your audience to skip the ad after the first few seconds.  If you’re spending money on the ad, you don’t want people to leave halfway through—you want people to watch it! But the longer you keep the viewer waiting to see their intended video, the more intolerant they will become of your ad and message.  Give them the option to skip the ad should your product or service be of no interest to them. If your product or service is relevant and they are willing to watch the full ad the first time it plays, they would already know what you have to say, and would not want to watch it again.

The optimal time your ad should run before you give them the choice to stop watching is five seconds. By then, you should have already established who you are and what you offer.  If they aren’t interested in that time, you’ve already lost them. Alternatively, you can give the viewer the option to skip your ad as soon as it pops up. However, most viewers will not mind a few seconds and you have a better chance of getting your message across if you set the skip option at 5 seconds.

3)   Keep it concise. YouTube is not a place for long-winded infomercials, unless you put them on your own channel. As I mentioned in #2, if someone isn’t interested in your YouTube commercial within the first five seconds, they won’t change their minds after thirty. To be successful, your ad must immediately grip the viewer and make them curious. Keeping your YouTube commercial short will ensure you don’t annoy those who are not presently interested in your message.

To get a viewer hooked, bring your message across quickly and clearly. Have a call to action – to visit your YouTube channel, your Facebook, your twitter, your website – whichever space you are promoting.  If they are interested in your message, they will click through for more information.  Once they are on your turf, you can offer the longer commercials.

4)   Choose your music carefully.   Remember that your ad could be viewed several times by the same viewer. If your video begins to play and you have a song that sounds unprofessional or unpleasant, it will become increasingly annoying the more they are forced to listen to it. Choose a popular song or an instrumental version in the music genre that best suits your target demographic, or keep the soundtrack neutral. After all, no one’s ever complained about elevator music.

With these tips, you can advertise to YouTube audiences more effectively—without driving potential customers away.