13 Common Video Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

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There are few mediums more powerful than video. Whether our favorite TikToks, music videos, YouTube gamers, films, or tv shows, video is a part of our day-to-day existence.

It’s unsurprising that brands have jumped on the video bandwagon to stay competitive. But rushing into a new medium can cause video marketing mistakes to creep in and ruin your results, such as having no video optimization.

Whether you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur, this article will help you get to grips with why video marketing can be a powerful tool by offering insight into common mistakes in making marketing videos.

Why Use Video?

Video is a powerful marketing tool because you can use it in so many ways. You can explain your products or the need for them, demonstrate your products, entertain, showcase interviews, review products, and interact with your audience.

Marketing videos are extremely popular. Current content consumption is 15 times the 2017 viewership rates and is so memorable that viewers can remember 95% of a message from a video, as opposed to only 10% when reading the message. 

If you’re tempted to make content that can be used in multiple ways, have a look at the marketing content pyramid method to make things easy.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Don’t forget about the visual and hearing impaired audience. Though they are chronically underserved by most competitors, you can make your video content accessible.

Though marketing videos are a great tool, there are common video marketing mistakes that can backfire. To maximize the impact of your marketing videos, you need to know the biggest mistakes, why they’re bad for your business, and how to do things better.

So what are the biggest video marketing mistakes?

13 Common Video Marketing Mistakes

#1. Not Defining Your Goal

We’ve all clicked on an interesting looking video but within 20 seconds have shouted “WHAT IS YOUR POINT!” at the screen because they’re just yammering away. So we click off and never visit that account again.

If your marketing video lacks a clear point you risk this result. So before anything else, think about what you want to accomplish with the video. Do you want your audience to visit your website? Buy a product? Be more aware of your brand? Or simply be entertained? Knowing this goal will help you shape the video.

#2. Not Including a Call to Action

Audiences need to know what you want them to do once they watch the video. Are they clicking in the bio? Swiping up on a product that appeals to them? Creating user content about using your products?

Give them clear instructions, and remember that these cues can be visual – for example, you could:

  • Point to the link
  • Make gestures
  • Use color to draw their eyes where they need to go

Keep the language of the call to action (CTA) really simple so there’s less chance of misunderstanding (learn how to write a CTA here). Crunchyroll’s Instagram marketing video for the game My Hero Academia: The Strongest Hero has an unmistakable CTA:

crunchyroll video marketing cta example
No one would be confused by Crunchyroll’s CTA – “Download Now” is big, bold, and bright!

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: The best CTAs include a benefit if there’s room for it. For example, if you want them to book a free consultation, make sure you use the word “free” in the CTA.

#3. Not Considering Video Format

The phrase “video format” might sound intimidating, but it’s important. When the format of your marketing video is wrong, your content can be half off the page, cut off the top or bottom, stretched, or get stuck in buffering purgatory.

First consider which platform you want to use for your marketing video. Each platform has different ideal sizes and speeds, which determines the video format you need to shoot in. If you choose the wrong one, you’ll be stuck re-shooting, buying expensive conversion software, or losing your footage during the editing process. Second, ensure the video is sized for desktop and mobile phone, so be certain that your video works well and fast on both types of device.

Learn more about How To Embed Videos In Emails in our full, step-by-step guide.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: If this sounds like a lot, don’t worry. This series talks you through what you need to know about choosing a format. It’s a lifesaver!

#4. Not Considering Video SEO

Your audience will most likely find you through searches using specific words. Search Engine Optimization is simply the process of using and inserting the most common related search words in your marketing video and in its tags, titles, and transcripts. 

Sure, it can be time consuming, but without SEO your audience won’t find you because their search results will be packed with your competitors who did take advantage of SEO. So don’t make this video marketing mistake!

You can start with an SEO search platform that gives you the most popular keywords related to the nature of your video or products. Once you know SEO principles, you can adjust for different platforms. 

#5. Not Researching Your Audience

Of all the common marketing video mistakes, not knowing your audience is probably the biggest time-waster. At best, your audience ignores your marketing video, and at worst you could offend or confuse them.

But if you show your audience you know their needs and who they are, you build long-term relationships with them. A good example is sanitary products company Always created a viral video campaign called “Like a Girl” that tapped into its audience’s universal frustration about that phrase as an insult. 

always video marketing campaign example
Always struck a chord with its audience because it knew and addressed their frustration.

There are lots of approaches to learn about your audience. You can:

  • Pay a marketing agency to provide info on your audience
  • Research the audiences of your competitors
  • Try asking your current customers questions that help you understand them more
  • Have an in-depth look at the industry and who interacts with it
  • Use free tools like Google Analytics

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Google Academy gives you free courses which will not only make your videos more marketable, but make you more marketable as well!

#6. Being Too Salesy

Ever had people spraying perfume in your face pushing a bottle you don’t want to buy? You want to run in the other direction when you see them. It works exactly the same with a marketing video.

The problem with being too salesy is that it feels desperate and pushy. It doesn’t add value for your audience. It doesn’t entertain them either. In fact, it can inspire them to seek out less pushy competition.

So what can you do when you want to sell things? Remember first and foremost you’re here to give value to your audience. Things like before/after comparisons, customer testimonials, showing the audience how to use your products, or going behind the scenes like in this Sipsmith video.

sipsmith distillery video marketing example
Sipsmith lovers are welcomed into the world of something they love – gin!

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Sales is not the same thing as marketing. Marketing is letting people know you exist, and sales is turning them into customers.

#7. Not Making it Exciting

Yes, we’re all having trouble sleeping during these turbulent times. But you don’t want your video to go viral because it helps people snooze. You want your marketing video to surprise, delight, inform, inspire or entertain people – or you’ll lose them immediately.

Even if your products are “boring” there are always ways to make them fun by thinking out-of-the-box. This Squatty Potty advertisement has 40 million views promoting stools that help people go to the bathroom. Gross thing to think about, but this ad’s fairy tale and a unicorn was a hilarious and memorable way to entertain and market an off-putting product.

squatty potty video marketing example
Squatty Potty’s marketing video made something gross into something funny and shareable.

#8. Focusing on Your Needs, Not The Audiences’

Ever have a conversation with someone who only talked about themselves? Now imagine them asking you to buy something. It’s really off-putting. Social media has unfortunately encouraged people to talk about nothing but themselves, and this can turn off an audience.

On the other hand, think about how great it feels when someone’s interested in you. The most effective brands hold up a mirror to their audience. Shift the focus to your audience’s loves, needs, and problems, and you’ll instantly grab their attention. They’ll be more open to what you’ve got to offer.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: If you aren’t sure what your audience’s needs are, have a look at forums like Reddit and industry websites and social media to find complaints and unmet needs. Look at comments on your competitors’ marketing videos too.

#9. Not Considering Your Thumbnail

Thumbnails are one of the most overlooked but important tools in a marketing video. They help us decide whether to click on a bit of content or skip it. YouTube has revealed that 90% of its top-performing videos use custom thumbnails.

Beware of common thumbnail mistakes like a blurry photo, the wrong size, no context, and inaccurate or click-batey. Some of the best elements include a human face, an emotive expression, good lighting and colors, consistent style, and an obvious logo.

Charismatic YouTube gamer CoryXKenshin’s thumbnails make content appealing and clear to the audience.

cory kenshin video marketing thumbnail example
You know exactly what you’re going to get with Cory Kenshin’s thumbnails.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Thumbnails need to be sized differently on different platforms, so be certain to check before formatting.

#10. Not Creating Separate Videos for Separate Goals

Different types of content can showcase different goals – a swipe up on Instagram is great for getting a recipe from a restaurant. A slow-burn behind the scenes is a way for an audience to get to know the workers.

But smashing multiple goals into the same marketing video can confuse the audience.

This mistake is common in webinars. Webinars are meant to inform or showcase a product/service. But some webinars link to other content, break to show a huge variety of products at different price points, incorporate smaller advert videos, etc. The viewer can lose track of the original mission of the content.

If you keep things streamlined and stick with one goal, your audience will know what you want from them.

#11. Making Videos That Are Too Long

Does anyone want to watch a marketing video that’s as long as Titanic? Probably not. Length is important, but the jury’s out on the ideal length for a marketing video. Even audiences can’t agree – have a look at these hilarious comments on a three-minute Old Spice marketing video.

old spice video length example
Old Spice discovered sometimes even the audience can’t agree what length works best.

73% of videos are two minutes or less in length. but sometimes, especially on specialist brand channels, popular videos can be up to 30 and 60 minutes. You might have to experiment to find what works best for your audience.

But always consider the ideal content length for the platform you want to use. TikTok is 15 seconds, Instagram two minutes, YouTube is 15 minutes, and LinkedIn is up to 10 minutes (unless a live stream). That’s a great place to start.

#12. Making Videos That are Too Short

Short may be sweet, but it is possible to not put enough into a marketing video. Unless you’re making a teaser campaign, the video must give the audience the information they need.

And if you want them to feel a particular emotion while watching your video, give it the time it needs to get a full emotional reaction out of the audience.

This popular marketing video from Google took its time and used a series of search engine questions to show someone’s journey of visiting France and falling in love. 

vieo marketing mistakes google ad good example
Google’s charming ad took its audience on a familiar emotional journey

Whether your video is too short can be determined by the platform too. A 10-second video that would absolutely kill on TikTok will seem too abrupt for LinkedIn – in fact the video might be finished by the time someone scrolls it to the top of the page!

#13. Not Measuring Video Performance

It can be unbearable to look at stats on how your marketing video performed, especially if it flopped. You worked so hard on that content and you’re protective of it. But performance metrics show you what your audience likes (and dislikes!) so that you can pivot to better serve them.

Important metrics include:

  • Audience
  • Viewing time
  • Where in the content they abandon
  • Whether it drives people to your website
  • Whether it grows your subscriber list
  • Whether people engage with and share the content
  • Whether it brings conversions.

That’s a lot of information to help you go forward. Without it you’ll be stabbing in the dark every single time you make a video.

Advice from the Experts

Top Tip: Metrics will also let you know when it’s not the marketing video that’s at fault. It can be the CTA, the website, or another point in the funnel that needs to be fixed.


Video is a powerful marketing tool for business owners and entrepreneurs. Though there are common marketing video mistakes to avoid, as long as you are aware of them and know how to avoid them, the sky’s the limit for your marketing videos. Have fun experimenting and see what works best for you!

More information


A: Absolutely. Videos make up 82% of consumer internet traffic, and that’s only going to grow. It’s best to learn to make marketing videos, because your competition certainly is.

A: Website Builder Expert’s got your back. This jargon-free article on video marketing strategy will help you get a strong foundation.

Written by:
Smiling headshot of Amanda Graham
I started writing for Website Builder Expert in 2022. I love copywriting for ecommerce, website, automation, and website brands and I’ve ghostwritten and content strategised for some of the largest multinational brands in the world. I have years of writing experience for the BBC, including documentaries, scripts, and Twitter campaigns. With such a wealth of experience to draw on, some of my best work on Website Builder Expert focuses on topics such as ecommerce strategies, marketing tips, and small business advice. I hope you enjoy my articles!

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