How to make video ads

9 steps on controlling and improving the quality of video ads production
The production of video ads consists of pre-analytics, production, and post-hoc analysis. Through time and experience, we’ve come to realize how important each of these components are, and now we’re happy to share this information with you. This tutorial will explain in detail how to make mobile app ads on Facebook, Snapchat, and other platforms.

For now, let’s not focus on communication or other aspects not directly related to video ads production.

Here's what the whole process consists of:

1. Analytics for mobile game creatives

Why does quality management start with analytics? Because we can't just use “good/bad” or “like/dislike” criteria. The basis of mobile app marketing is numbers and market statistics.

What can analytics be used for?

  • to select appropriate mechanics;
  • to select a plot;
  • to select the environment;
  • to select the colors;
  • to select individual elements (vehicles, weapons, equipment, etc.);
  • to select any element of any second of the video (depending on the specific task).

Analytics help us better understand the product and where it fits in the market. After this stage, we have a much better understanding of how to position the game and reach the target audience.

The right combination of elements allows you to achieve a predictable result. In some cases, we analyze creatives that are currently popular on the market, in other cases, client data. We can also use our experience with similar verticals.

Here’s an example of how we apply analytics:

When we were preparing a pack of creatives for a game in the “farming” genre, we turned to market analysis. We examined large projects and looked at what approaches they were using.
Our task was to find patterns - something that a large number of competitors successfully use. We were also looking for unique approaches that competitors use to hook the audience. Techniques (colors, transitions, or other details) were also important to us. Next, the team that contributed to the idea generation for this project reviewed the findings of the analysis.

It’s important to understand that an analysis on its own isn’t worth much if you don’t have expertise in similar projects or similar verticals. A combination of market analysis, experience, and expertise in media buying allows us to draw the necessary conclusions.

Right from the beginning of the brainstorm, we had a clear understanding of what ideas could be successful. We also determined what we expected in terms of technical performance - a standard that’s set by the market. We knew where to start.

You can read more about these analytics in this article:
https://adsidemedia.com/farming-genre-top-7-approaches-for-creatives

2. Once we’ve got the numbers, we move on to brainstorming

What do we start from when generating ideas?

  • market analytics;
  • target audience of the product;
  • goals for the entire pack of creatives;
  • product promotion stage;
  • asset availability and other technical limitations;
  • budget.
Let's take a moment to talk about the stage of product promotion and why it is important when generating ideas. First of all, we talk about the use of fake/misleading ads. At the initial stages of product promotion, we recommend that our clients avoid fake/misleading ads, as this affects retention, which can be critical for a growing game.

On the other hand, when a product already has a core audience, it’s necessary to attract a new audience with creatives that are a bit more bold. In this case, other approaches can be appropriate, including fake/misleading ads.
Experienced designers, creative producers, project managers, media buyers, analysts, and marketers all participate in the brainstorm. Sometimes we invite a specialist who can explain the rules or features of the game to us. This was the case when we made creatives for poker or for chess games.

Brainstorming is a creative process, but at the same time it has a rigid framework. First, we study input data and analytics, then we discuss ideas. After we have 30-40 ideas, we move on to voting. We select the best ideas and lay them out in more detail - this is a collaborative step, so everyone is welcome to contribute.
For the project “Nitro Nation”, we made several hundred creatives over three years. This is a good example of a complete product promotion cycle. We tested static banners to understand which color of car resonated best with the target audience. Using the same tests, we determined the best car to use for creatives, and so on. Therefore, we had a baseline. A lot of wild ideas were brought up during brainstorming.

For the video on the right, we chose a plot with a reference to the game “Grand Theft Auto”. Recognizable imagery usually work well as long as it organically fits into the story of the game.
AdSide Media for Nitro Nation. Unreal Engine, After Effects

3. Determining the terms of reference

After the end of the brainstorm, the creative producer reviews the best ideas and decides on strict technical specifications for them. The producer has a lot of vision and understands what details should be emphasized when writing a script for a video.

At this stage, it’s important to once again check all the inputs. Here's what you need to pay attention to when writing the terms of reference:

  • the plot of the creative is based on the hypothesis that we are testing;
  • the first three seconds of the creative is exciting and interesting (in other words, a catchy hook at the beginning of the creative);
  • the terms of reference takes into account introductory analytics;
  • the creative has a clear and understandable CTA;
  • the necessary hooks have been added throughout;
  • we complete the terms of reference (detailed script, video format, aspect ratio, timing, and a link to a detailed guideline).

4. Choosing a designer

One of the advantages of having a large team is the ability to choose who we want to work on a project. Here is what we expect from a motion designer when we give them a task:

  • the product is already familiar to them, or they’re prepared to get familiar with it. This is especially important. A designer who’s interested in the game will make videos with zeal and passion, and will also be able to sprinkle in those hooks that no one else would think about;
  • the designer has experience in creating videos for similar products;
  • the designer is available and free from other tasks;
  • the designer is able to meet deadlines.
Inside the team, our designers are split into junior, middle, and senior ranks. Some tasks we assign only to senior designers. This allows you to get a high-quality video in a predictable time frame. This approach allows us to manage quality and at the same time stay within the budget of the project.




In this video we have some examples of the work of our senior designers. These are both cinematics for existing clients and concepts.
Cinematics

5. Create static iterations

First we create static images. At this stage, the initial construction of the scene is already underway, such as frame composition and selection of colors.

This is where we determine if there are any issues with the client’s source materials. We also look for any necessary assets in stock resources, or we create them from scratch.

Searching for assets in stock resources often takes a long time. It’s important to choose ones that fit the style. In some cases, we take an element from stocks and customize it. For some tasks, we involve a full-time illustrator who works in tandem with the designer. This is especially the case when it comes to drawing the emotions of characters.

Static iterations are a very important step. Here we can control the quality within the team, as well as discuss the necessary details with the customer.
Static iterations for the project “Dawn of Zombies”. Pay attention to the work that was done with the lighting.

6. Designing animations

After the static images are in order, they have to be animated. Here are the stages of animation:

  • animate characters and environments;
  • add a pointer (hand), animate the movement, add pressing and responses. This allows the viewer to immediately understand that they’re seeing a game (an advertisement of a game);
  • we animate the work of UI elements;
  • we add transitions between scenes — effective transitions increase viewer retention;
  • we take the time to direct the camera movement throughout;
  • we create accents and enhance key points with colorful visual effects. This is done in order to clearly present the plot and try to catch the viewer’s attention even more;
  • we select sound effects for what is happening and add music. This aspect is important for creating a certain mood.

7. Quality control through discussion within the team

Designer work in conjunction with the creative producer. The designer takes care of the quality execution of the technical part, and the producer takes care of the conceptual part.

To take into account the maximum number of details, we often involve other specialists. Then, after the animation is ready, the producer shows the video to the team.

In a private chat, we discuss what can be improved. A team of senior designers, producers, and marketers evaluates the technical execution, placement of accents, whether the creative is catchy, and most importantly, whether the main idea of the creative is clear.

Positive feedback is also important. It’s encouraging to understand if the work was done well and only needs a little polishing.

The essence of this stage is also that the creative is seen by people who are not familiar with either the product or the terms of reference. That way we can be objectively sure that the creative won’t be misinterpreted when launching an advertising campaign.

8. Making edits


At the penultimate stage, the designer makes changes based on the feedback that was received. After internal confirmation, the video is sent to the client.

The client receives the video, discusses it within their team, and gives feedback on any edits or changes that need to be made.

The editing process can take a lot of resources. To prevent this from happening, we do as much as we can to coordinate at the stages of writing the terms of reference and creating static iterations.

The use of programs with real-time rendering technologies also simplifies the work on edits.

After all rounds of edits, we need to make resizes. This completes the video, but this is not the end.

9. Post-hoc analysis

There was a time when we stopped at the previous point. But about a year ago, we introduced the practice of post-hoc analyses.

Here we study the numbers from the test results of the client. Based on the numbers, we can see which creatives worked and which didn’t. We analyze the data and try to understand what we can improve in the next pack.

We summarize all the conclusions of the work and share this analysis with clients. This becomes the basis for the next stage of cooperation.


Every month we make hundreds of creatives for both mobile games and non-gaming projects. This intensity allows us to constantly build our expertise and improve the quality of production. Leave a request on the site to discuss your product, or contact us via e-mail info@adsidemedia.com


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