5 video storytelling formulas to boost engagement in 2023

January 17, 2023

"Humans think in stories, and try to make sense of the world by telling stories"

Yuval Noah Harari

As Harari observes, storytelling remains powerful and timeless, but let's face it, the way we consume stories has changed a bit since the days of sitting around a campfire. That's why we've put together this guide to help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media storytelling. We'll take a look at the old and the new ways of crafting a storyline and give you some tips on how to make your story more engaging. We'll even reveal the different types of storylines and when to use them for maximum impact.

So, sit back and read on to elevate your storytelling game to new heights.

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Traditional story arc vs. new story arc

The traditional story arc still works well for organic social media videos on Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok, where the audience is willing to take a bit more time to view the content. But for pre-roll on Youtube a slightly different approach is required: the problem with the traditional story arc is that you can lose the attention of the viewers early. This is why the "New Story Arc" emphasizes the importance of grabbing your audience's attention very fast and early on. The new story arc may not be a groundbreaking innovation, however, only a few marketers seem to truly focus on it. With the new story arc, the marketer no longer has 5 seconds for the lead in, but rather 2 seconds to start high, grab people's attention and immediately create a reason for people to continue watching and stay for the offer, which also means that the timing of your ad is more crucial than its duration.

How to create hooks that convert?

We've learnt that its important to lead in fast, especially when it come to pre-roll YouTube ads. But how to lead in successfully? Here are a couple of hook strategies with examples to get your viewers' curiosity from the start: 

  1. Start with a question that the audience can relate to and make them want to find out more.

"Are you tired of trying every XYZ deodorant on the market, only to be left disappointed with the results?"

  1. Start with a personal story or anecdote to make the ad more relatable and create an emotional connection with the audience. 

"I used to be just like you, constantly searching for the perfect deodorant. I tried every brand and every type, but nothing seemed to work for me."

  1. Start with a joke or a humorous situation to grab attention and put the audience in a positive mood.

"Sick of being known as the smelly one? Ditch the funk and embrace the freshness with XYZ deodorant."

  1. Start with a bold statement to capture the audience's attention.

"It can be frustrating to go through countless products, only to find that none of them truly keep you feeling fresh and confident."

  1. Start with a teaser or a hint about the main message to create anticipation.

"Can a deodorant be life changing?"

Hooks are important, but to create successful campaign, Jacques Spitzer, the CEO of Raindrop Agency summarizes 4 additional key aspects to make your video ads stand out in a sea of noise:

  1. Tell a story that captivates your audience and makes them want to learn more.
  2. Respect your audience's time and attention by keeping your ads short and to the point.
  3. Give them something in return, like valuable information or a special offer.
  4. Use bold colors and interesting visuals, such as animations. We recommend Motionshift’s pre-animated video templates and Motionshift’s video asset library.

To give you further inspiration here is a list of effective visual hooks that have higher thumb stop rates:

Green screen effect

Split Screen

3D animation

Drop, reverse, snapping

What are the different storyline types?

Effective storytelling does not rely solely on one formula, there are various story arcs that can be successful. Other examples of effective story arcs are the explainer, the product demo and the straight offer

The explainer: This classic approach relies on a strong problem to set up the product as the solution and explain its benefits. 

The product demo: No need for a problem statement—this approach makes you want it by showing off the product heroically from the start. 

The straight offer: This approach is all about the offer. The product doesn't need much introduction—make people click with a compelling offer/deal. A good example for the straight offer is the 3 reasons why type—Giving your audience a clear reason why they should use, purchase, download your product. This ad highlights directly the value proposition.

How to choose the right storyline type for your campaign?

The different storylines also correlate with different funnel stages.

For the top of the funnel (TOFU), the explainer is usually a good idea because your ads should focus on raising awareness about your product or service. Use language that is general and informative, and avoid using too much jargon. Your CTA should be simple, such as "Learn More" or "Discover More."

For the middle of the funnel (MOFU) the product demo works wellyour ads should focus on building interest and consideration. Use language that highlights the unique features and benefits of your product or service. Your CTA should encourage the user to take the next step, such as "See the Features" or "Book a Demo."

For the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), the straight offer is a interesting option because it focuses directly on conversion. Use language that emphasizes the value and urgency of your product or service. Your CTA should be clear and direct, such as "Buy Now" or "Sign Up."

It's also important to keep in mind that the same user might see different ads in different funnel stages. So make sure that your ad format and your creatives are different from each funnel stage to keep the audience engaged.

Motionshift can help you become faster and better at creating videos for different funnel stages. It provides a free-flowing design space for real-time collaboration, but also plenty of helpful templates to add some structure and order to all of your video marketing campaigns. Use Motionshift to improve the way you work together and boost you video engagement rates to keep your campaigns on track in pursuit of your 2023 goals!

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