Since our video ads announcement and the subsequent feature release, we've received a lot of requests for video ad creation tips and best practices. So, over the next few weeks, Bismarck from the Video Ads team is taking to the street to talk to the people who are creating and finding success with video ads. This week, he caught up with Todd Tracey, one of our first video ad customers, and the Senior VP at TurnHere Incorporated (a company specializing in video production), to get a few tips. Here's what he had to say:

Bismarck: Why is video such a compelling advertising medium?

Todd: With video, you tug at people's emotions and this provides for a higher recall rate than a static image or a text ad.

Bismarck: Can video work online?

Todd: The Internet gives everybody a voice. Small advertisers are able to get the same level of engagement and reach that the large companies, such as Nike, have been getting on broadcast TV for decades, and, at a fraction of the cost. With regard to cost per individual user reached, there is nothing out there that performs better.

Bismarck: Are video ads for everyone?

Todd: Videos are as integral to a company's presence as is their website.

Bismarck: Now for the best practices. What should advertisers look for when creating a starter image?

Todd: Consider the goal of the starter image - it is to entice the user to hit play, so you want to make sure that the starter image grabs the user's attention, but remains relevant to the actual video ad. Use bold, vibrant colors and try to limit text to a minimum.

Bismarck: What kind of content should be included in the video ad?

Todd: Again, make sure to keep the user's attention. Try to tell a story - and stay clear of the product-based infomercial. Use people - owners, customers and the like to tell their story with the product.

Bismarck: How about animation? Does it work?

Todd: We use animation when we're trying to explain a complex idea, but whenever possible, we try to use real people.

Bismarck: Is there an ideal length for an ad?

Todd: Most ads will be watched for less than 30 seconds, so make sure that even if you make your ad longer than 30 seconds, that you front-load your important messages. Movie trailers or short films are obviously watched longer, but even they start to see a drop off at around 90 seconds.

Bismarck: Anything else you would like to share with our advertisers?

Todd: One more thing - avoid using scripts unless you're hiring actors to help you shoot the ad. You want your users or potential customers to believe you and scripting comes off as phony in many instances.

Bismarck: Thank you for your time.

Todd: My pleasure.

We hope you've found this helpful. If you have any video ad tips of your own that you'd like to share, please let us know.