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11 Tricks for Creating Engaging Videos, Easily (+ Examples)


Creating an engaging promotional video, either it’s a commercial bumper or a longer social video, is not art. It’s a craft that can be taught and learned.

In this article, we review 11 psychology-based tricks that commercial producers use to create attention-grabbing videos.

This list is applicable to live-action video and animation alike. If you haven’t decided yet on the style for your video, refer to our Animation VS Live Action article.

1) Ask a Question

Have you ever wondered, why so many promotional videos start with a question? See, it already sounds intriguing.

Try asking your audience a short question right at the beginning of your video. It can be deeply philosophical, silly, or so niche that only nuclear physicists will get you (mind your audience, of course).

In the following example, Geico starts their Youtube bumper ad with such a casual and vague question, that you can’t help but continue watching.

And here is an example of a serious and clearly practical question, aimed to spark interest in a specific audience.

2) Add Some Action

Studies done by the University of Sydney show that motion attracts attention and influences decision making.

Just remember to orchestrate your shots in a cohesive sequence. Otherwise, showing too many disconnected, fast scenes can result in motion sickness (no one wants that, right?).

Time lapse is also one of the popular and very attractive video techniques to consider. ESPN’s example below masterfully combines time lapse with a lens-effect called tilt-shift.

3) Add Humor

“Across the board — whether we were looking for a lift in brand metrics or how long the viewer watched — humor took the cake.” — The YouTube Insights Team

Humorous ads generate greater lifts in ad recall and brand awareness. They also get shared the most, which makes videos with humor a perfect choice for social media advertising.


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4) Add Suspense

When humor doesn’t fit the emotional tone of your message, consider adding suspense or a drama to the mix.

Google’s study shows that these types of emotional tones also generate higher ad recall.

5) Break the Fourth Wall

All of the tricks presented here attempt to surprise the viewer, but no other is so effective at this as breaking the fourth wall.

The term “fourth wall” derives from stage acting where the audience is invisible to the characters, divided from them by an invisible wall. Addressing them means “breaking” that wall.

6) Focus on People

Studies also show that 67% of the most successful video ads feature people. And the people don’t even have to be real — animated characters can work too, as long as your video gets the right message across.

7) Add a Title Card

Explicitly stating the topic of your video from the start can also be helpful. Not all of the viewers read titles, let alone video descriptions, so if your title is really catchy even of itself, consider putting it on the forefront.

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8) Increase Contrast

Contrasts and extremes provide context. They can be visual or sonic (related to sounds) and are very powerful at grabbing and keeping attention.

9) Add an Appropriate Disclaimer

When a video starts with a provocative disclaimer (e.g., “don’t try this at home”) and then delivers on the promise of something epic, you can be sure it’s going to make a blast.

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10) Make it Credible

Putting a famous expert on your list of actors is one of the best (and most expensive, for that matter) tricks to pull out when creating an engaging video.

In this example, Volvo has invited not one, but two experts to ensure that their already grand challenge turns into an even more grasping video.

11) Present a Surprising Perspective

Finally, when nothing seems to work, you can always take and turn everything on its head.

The examples below use a bunch of the tricks we’ve already discussed, but the unique visual perspective is what really makes them stand apart.

And that’s not all!

There are countless ways to engage your viewer, depending on who your audience is, what your business goals are, and what strategy you employ to achieve them.

Let us learn more about your company and we will help you find the unique video marketing blend that will work specifically for your case — Quick contact.

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