3 common mistakes businesses make with video advertising

I was talking with my brother the other day about the concept of “trash can purchases.” These are things that people buy which hold no long-term value and exist almost exclusively to give the owner a false sense of fulfillment or superiority.

You know what I’m talking about – big TVs, fancy cars, expensive dinners – items that, when bought, mean you’ll never see that money again. You’ll experience a fleeting moment of joy, convinced that this is the thing that will bring you satisfaction before the feeling fades and you’re looking for the next shiny object to fill that void. A lack of impulse control in your personal life can quickly spell disaster and, if you’re not careful, this inclination can rear its ugly little head in your business as well.

For well over a decade now, I’ve worked with CEOs and department heads who will be so quick to drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on a “magic pill” solution for their respective businesses. High-level coaching, do-it-for-you software, and destination training summits all come to mind. They stack up these luxury purchases as an increasingly unstable Jenga tower, yet labor over the tiniest bit of money to properly nurture this thing that they’ve built.

This brings me to video advertising, which just so happens to be one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses today. Though, the problem with the rise of social media and video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Instagram is that the impatient will hammer their wallets with sponsorships, boosts, and paid placement without fully understanding what it is that they’re buying. It’s a shame because businesses of all sizes have more opportunities than ever to reach their target audiences through video ads, but some discount the projected impact of these types of short films simply because they haven’t cracked the equation.

Succinctly put, if the aforementioned would simply invest in people with know-how and the necessary accoutrement to get it done, they’d be surprised how well video advertising will work for their businesses.

Compared to other forms of advertising, video has the potential to capture people’s attention quickly and convey a message within a short amount of time. Marketing videos can be engaging, entertaining, and informative, making them an effective tool for brand storytelling. However, there are some common mistakes that professionals new to this type of marketing make with video advertising that can hinder their success. In this blog post, we’ll explore three of these missteps and how you can avoid them.

1. Failing To Target The Right Audience

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make with video advertising is failing to target the right audience. It’s essential to understand your target audience and what they’re interested in seeing before creating a video ad. If your advertisement doesn’t resonate with them, they’re unlikely to engage with it or take the desired action. Playing to the target audience is so important because, as the saying goes, “if you can’t sell to your mom, who can you sell to?”.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to research your audience thoroughly. Draw comparisons between your last 10-20 clients. Understand their interests, pain points, and needs. Use this information to create videos that speak directly to them and address their specific challenges or desires. When it comes time for distribution, the targeting options on social media and video-sharing platforms will ensure that your ad reaches the right people.

2. Creating Overly Promotional Content

Another common mistake that businesses make with video advertising is creating overly promotional content. While it’s essential to promote your products or services, your video should also provide value or entertainment. If what you’ve made is too promotional or salesy, it’s likely to turn off viewers and, in turn, cause them to turn you off – or, at the very least, scroll away.

To avoid this mistake, focus on creating content that they would seek out themselves had it not been served to them on an algorithmic platter. For example, you could create a how-to video that demonstrates how to use your product or service or a behind-the-scenes video that shows your company’s culture and values. By providing value to your them, you’ll build trust and credibility, which can lead to increased conversions and brand loyalty.

3. Ignoring Mobile Optimization

Finally, many businesses make the mistake of ignoring the power that phones, tablets, and other mobile devices hold. With more web traffic occurring here than the conventional laptop or desktop computer, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your video is optimized for mobile viewing. As a baseline, if it doesn’t even display correctly, viewers may struggle to engage with it.

To avoid this mistake, it means creating a video that is easily viewable on smaller screens, ensuring that any text is large enough to read and the resolution of the content is oriented to fit properly in your hand.


Video advertising can be a powerful tool for businesses, but it’s essential to avoid common mistakes that can hinder your success. By targeting the right audience, creating valuable content, and optimizing for mobile, you can create video ads that resonate with your target audience and drive results for your business. Remember to continually test and refine your video advertising strategy to ensure that it continues to deliver the best possible results. By focusing on these key areas, you’ll make videos that are not only effective but also memorable and shareable.

If you’re looking to get started on a project, Votary has a passion for telling compelling stories through the art of filmmaking. We specialize in producing brand stories, creative commercials, and documentary series. If that sounds to you like we might be a fit, then let’s talk. Start a Conversation.


Jed Burdick
Jed Burdick

Father, Husband, Entrepreneur, Storyteller.