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The Different Types of Marketing Video and Their Uses

Should your brand be making marketing videos for online distribution? If you believe in giving people the content they want, the answer is a resounding yes. Video is hugely popular. YouTube is the second most visited site in the world – ya, the world. TikTok, a video-only social app, has 100 million monthly active users in the United States. 

What type of video should your brand be making? That’s a bit more complicated. It all depends on your business goals, budget, and how you want video to fit into your marketing strategy. You do have a marketing strategy, don’t you? The quick and oversimplified answer is that you want to make a video designed to reach your customers and potential customers on their preferred platform in a style they like while aligning with your business goals. 

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of two things you need to consider – the length of the video and the style of video.

Size matters

When it comes to video, size matters, and shorter is better since people tend not to watch the entire video. On YouTube, people tend only to watch half the video, regardless of the topic. 

Length aside, grabbing the viewer’s attention within the first few seconds is vital if you want them to stop scrolling. 


Length: 15 seconds or less

TikTok has proven the popularity of micro video. The platform offers options for 15 and 60-second videos, with the shorter being the most popular. 

Micro video can also be useful for advertising videos, where people are most likely to skip the video after 5 seconds, anyway. 


Length: 15 seconds to 120 seconds

This is the sweet spot for a lot of videos. Short enough to watch all the way through and long enough to deliver a message. This length is also very shareable. 


Length: Two minutes or more

When you have a great story to tell, two minutes often isn’t enough time. The same goes for getting across a teachable moment, such as a tutorial or how-to video. In these cases, a longer video is usually the answer. For a guideline of length, the average YouTube video runs about four and a half minutes. 

Types of marketing video

There are many types of video, and this isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list. Instead, we’ve selected the most popular types of marketing videos to talk about. 


Marketing videos of all sorts aim to sell a product or service. But what sets an advertising video apart is that it’s blatantly selling something. The most obvious examples of these are pre-roll ads on YouTube. Done well, they can be amazing, especially when big budgets come into play. Advertising videos tend to be short, from 5 seconds for the we-know-you’re-going-to-skip-this YouTube pre-roll to a max of usually about 30 seconds. The 30-second mark is mostly a holdover from television, especially with big-budget brands who make an ad for TV then repurpose it for online use. 

You can think of an advertising video as a video with a paid distribution budget that is inserted into a person’s online experience. Promoted posts and ads on Facebook, or Instagram, Pre-roll ads on YouTube, and commercials on TV all have the same effect on viewers – they tend to want to skip past them. You need to grab their attention in the first second or two if you want people to watch your ad. 

Product explainer

A product explainer video is a great way to introduce your product, service, and company to people. The best product explainer videos are informative, clear, and last two minutes or less. Because they are meant to introduce a product and raise awareness, they’re an ideal top of funnel tactic. 

The best product explainer videos follow a formula that introduces the problem addressed by the product, followed by the solution. Then go into what makes it special and how it works. Finally, end with a strong call to action, and you’ll see results. 

Like most videos, the success of your final video directly relates to the work you put into preparing it; the script is fundamental. It’s not enough to just follow the above formula — it needs to pop. You need to grab the viewer’s attention then keep it for the entire video. This will be much easier to do when you have a thorough understanding of both the product and what you want to say about it. 

Sizzle reel

The sizzle reel is your first impression and your grand entrance. You want to introduce yourself, let people know what you’re all about, impress them, and make them curious enough to want to know more, all while looking good doing it. And you want to do all this in under 90 seconds. 

The sizzle reel is meant to get the attention of people who don’t know about you yet. And, as that old saying goes, you’re selling the sizzle – it should be exciting, interesting, and high energy. 

Because you’re looking to make a great first impression, these videos tend to have a higher production value standard. Interesting camera movements, motivated and dynamic lighting, and careful attention to composition will help to make your video really sizzle. 

A sizzle reel can be useful for a wide range of brands and goals. For restaurants, it can be a great way to introduce the space and menu while giving a feel for the venue’s vibe. For brands, it’s an opportunity to offer a more stylized and artful approach than is typically found in other types of videos. Done well, they can also be used to raise funds for larger projects. 


Don’t tell the world how great you are – let your customers do it for you. That, in a nutshell, is what testimonial videos are all about. If you’re looking to convert viewers into customers, this is a powerful tool. It works in part because it’s a third-party endorsement – somebody else is saying how good your product or service is, which makes it seem more trustworthy. This is the video version of a user review, which people tend to trust when deciding whether or not to purchase an item. 

Testimonials from genuine, engaging customers who come across as honest on camera are great, but you’ll have even more success with a recognizable or well-known face. It doesn’t need to be a celebrity. In a local market, it can be someone well known and generally liked. For a geographically diverse online audience, influencers are an option, as long as they genuinely believe in the product. 

When planning a series of videos to guide people from awareness to consideration to purchase – a process known as the sales funnel or customer journey – the testimonial is a persuasive tool in the decision-making stage. To gently guide your viewer and to give structure to your video, you’ll want a list of questions for your subject to answer. Having answers to multiple questions will also give you variety and options in the editing stage. 

When filming, you can have the customer look directly at the camera, which social media self-filmed video has normalized, or you can use a more traditional approach of having their gaze pointed off camera. The simplest way to do this is to put yourself beside the camera at the same level as your subject (stand if they’re standing or sit if they’re sitting). Then, when the person is talking, get them to look at you. 

Social media

Technically, any video placed on social media is, well, social media video. But we’re talking about videos made for organic reach on social media. These videos have many reasons to exist: awareness, engagement, education, a call to action, or simply to entertain your followers (which can help build likeability and loyalty). 

The style or type of video you make will depend largely on the platform you’re posting it on. A video that goes over well with your TikTok audience may fall flat with your Facebook audience, for example. Finding out which videos work best for you will likely take some time and trial and error. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot. The good thing about social media videos is that quick, low-effort videos can do as well, or better, than more time-consuming and expensive videos. 

In some cases, such as Story videos on Instagram, handheld phone video is the preferred option. In these cases, it’s about authenticity, making this a great way to show behind the scenes and informal videos. And because Story videos expire after 24 hours, it’s OK if you don’t get it quite right. Just try again tomorrow. 

Live videos are a great way to engage with an audience on social media, as the platform allows viewers to ask questions through the comments section, which you can then answer on-screen. 


Video is a great tool for marketing your event. Of brands who used video to market an event, 95% found it effective. The question, then, becomes how to use video to make it work for your brand’s event. In the pre-event stage, you can introduce speakers through interviews or highlight reels to build excitement. You can also create a teaser video or sizzle reel to build anticipation. 

During the event, live streams are a great way to share your event with a larger audience. Short social media clips of interesting things or updates can be an effective way to build excitement about the event and encourage people to attend. This is especially useful for multi-day events. 

After the event, you can make a highlight reel or a thank you video to wrap things up. This is also the time to review all your footage and edit it into a more polished video that can be used to promote other upcoming events. 

Motion graphics

Motion graphics, or animated text videos, have multiple uses. They are especially useful for explainer videos where you need to illustrate an idea or concept that is hard to accomplish through live video. Motion graphics is more than animation, though. Motion graphics utilized effectively can incorporate additional information into your video in a compelling format. Title sequences also fall into this category, but you can do so much more with motion graphics than just add titles. 

Using a program like Adobe After Effects, you can create dynamic, moving text and graphic designs. When it comes to what’s possible, you’re really only limited by your imagination and software skills. The catch is that it takes a significant time investment to make motion graphics and a certain skill level to do it well.  

That’s a wrap

There’s no need to get hung up on sticking to any one format now that you have an idea of the different types of video. As you’ve seen, there’s a fair bit of overlap. An explainer video can be used to promote an event and placed on social media. It’s best to think of these as techniques to get your message across. Because, really, that’s the main purpose of video – getting your message out to your audience in an engaging, entertaining manner that they’ll actually want to watch. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter so much what type of video you’ve made, so long as it achieves your goals and gets watched. 

At Dream It Reel, making videos that get watched and align with your marketing and business goals is what we’re all about. Get in touch to talk about how we can make your ideas into videos.