Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

By Kevin Elliott

Video is playing an increasing role in our lives. That’s good news for we video producers. 

That said, roughly a bazillion videos go online every day. If you want people to see yours, you have to think hard about your target audience. 

Who watches this stuff anyway?

Never think “everyone” will like your videos. It doesn’t work like that. Before scripting a video, think hard about who you want to watch it (in addition to answering the most important question in project management). Describe your ideal viewer. Give her a name. Itemize her favorite social channels. Anything that will help you understand her better. 

In marketing this is called a buyer persona. Never heard of buyer personas? No worries, Hubspot’s buyer persona template is a good place to start. 

Defining a clear buyer persona will help you make smart video decisions including voice over, music track, shot choice, everything. 

Clear audiences = effective videos

Examples are good. Here are my two favorite commercials, one from Google and the other from the incomparable Rhett & Link

These videos could not be more different, but that is the point. One was a Super Bowl commercial and the other was for a local drug store in Corydon, Indiana. But they are equally effective because they both have a laser target on a specific buyer persona. 

Google sells a love story

The first is my favorite ad of all time, Google’s Parisian Love. Watch it and, after wiping your tears, try to picture what kind of person it is targeted toward.

You might say, “Google wants everyone to use their browser.” Agreed, but even Google knows that is impossible. Who do you think they were really after with this ad? And remember, this was a Super Bowl spot from 2010. 

Here’s what I think. Their buyer persona was: 

  • Young. It’s clearly a love story between two younger people (baby at the end).
  • Skewed male. It is a Super Bowl ad after all. And the hero meets a woman online. Yes, it could be a homosexual couple, but Google probably knew this ad would show mostly to guys.
  • Professional and tech savvy. The story has our hero using Google to book flights and find a job in Paris. In 2010, Google Flights was not a thing yet. Tracking flights, learning French words, and finding jobs online was still pretty cutting edge stuff a decade ago.
  • Location agnostic. Google can be used anywhere, so the hero could be anywhere at the beginning of the story.

Doesn’t that sound about right? In 2010, Google was still an up and comer. They needed to get young, tech savvy people hooked on their search engine.

Butt Drugs sells, well, just watch

This is on my favorite ads list for many of the same reasons. Rhett & Link, other than producing one of their hilarious local commercials, did a super job of audience targeting in this classic ad named for a little pharmacy in Indiana.

Have a look and, after you stop snort laughing, tell me who their target was.

To my mind, the persona was: 

  • Middle age to older. They are more likely to need prescriptions filled and want a cup of coffee while they wait. Also, the people in the ad, folks who just happened to be in the store when they shot the ad, are in that age range.
  • Interested in “local” service. Walmart and CVS fill prescriptions too, but they don’t have that local touch. “There’s a cry across the heartland, a yearning for the days gone by …”
  • In Corydon, Indiana. Obviously. This is a hyper-local ad aimed at people close to Butt Drugs.

Start with audience and work out from there

Google’s ad is slick and heartfelt. The one for Butt Drugs is campy and catchy. And both are tailored to their audiences. To prove it, imagine if you switched the styles of the ads. Neither would work. 

You should not make your videos for everyone and don’t try to copy someone else’s style just because it works for their audiences.

Make your videos for your audiences. 

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