Skip to main content

What Apple’s “Study With Me” Video Can Teach Small Businesses About Advertising

By January 19, 2024No Comments

If you haven’t seen it yet, you might be surprised to learn that the most-viewed ad of 2023 was a simple, low-key video of actress Storm Reid studying with her MacBook Air for an hour and a half.

Yes, you read that right: an hour and a half.

The video was part of Apple’s campaign to promote its products as essential tools for studying and productivity. It racked up over 18 million views in just three months.

When compared to previous years’ top YouTube ads, this is a bit of an anomaly:

There are a few things that made this video so successful, some of which can actually be applied to a small business’s marketing strategy. Here are some key takeaways and how you can apply them to your own small business ads in 2024.

4 Things Apple’s “Study With Me” Video Can Teach Small Business Owners About Advertising

1. Think Outside the Box: Nontraditional Forms of Advertising Are In

One of the reasons why Apple’s video stood out was that it broke the mold of traditional advertising. Instead of a short, catchy, and flashy ad, it was a long, calm, and minimalist video. It didn’t try to sell anything directly but rather it showed how Apple’s products could enhance one’s life and work.

This is a great testament to the idea that you don’t have to follow a specific formula to create engaging ads. You can experiment with different formats, lengths, and styles to find what works best for your audience and brand.

The key is to be creative and authentic, and to offer value to your viewers. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different, as long as it aligns with your brand identity and your marketing goals.

2. Leverage the Comfort of Parasocial Relationships

Another reason why Apple’s video resonated with viewers was that it created a sense of connection and intimacy with Storm Reid. The video is not just an ad, but a study session with a friend. It invites viewers to join Reid in her personal space, to see how she uses Apple’s products to study effectively, and to learn from her tips and tricks.

Small businesses can similarly benefit from building parasocial relationships with their customers. These are the one-sided bonds that people form with media personalities, celebrities, or influencers. They can make viewers feel like they know and trust the person they are watching, and by extension, the brand they are representing.

There’s data to support this trend too: this year, 68% of Gen Z viewers admitted they go to YouTube for the creators, not the brands.

To create parasocial relationships with your customers, you need to put a human face on your brand. You can do this by featuring yourself, your employees, your customers, or your partners in your small business ads. You can also collaborate with influencers or creators who share your values and your target audience.

The key is to be relatable and personable, and to show your viewers that you care about their needs. Don’t just tell them what your products or services can do, but show them how they can improve their lives and solve their problems.

3. Offer Free Resources and Education

A third reason why Apple’s video appealed to viewers was that it provided free resources and education to help them study better. The video taught viewers how to use the Pomodoro technique, a time management method that involves breaking down work into short intervals with breaks.

Small businesses can apply this same idea and attract new customers by offering free resources that are relevant and useful. By doing this, you can demonstrate your expertise, authority, and credibility in your field while encouraging loyalty among your customers.

Plus, by offering free resources:

4. Don’t Underestimate Brand Awareness, Even When It’s Subtle

Apple’s Study With Me Video also worked well because it boosted brand awareness and recognition. Even though the video did not explicitly mention or promote Apple’s products, it subtly showcased them throughout the video.

One common pushback we get from clients is, “Won’t people just scroll past the ads I’m running? Why should I waste money on this?” However, this mindset doesn’t acknowledge the importance of brand awareness.

Brand awareness and recognition are important because they can influence people’s perceptions, preferences, and decisions when it comes to buying products or services. The more people know and recognize your brand, the more likely they are to trust it, choose it, and recommend it to others.

This ad is an example of the idea that even if people aren’t directly learning about Apple’s products or services, they’re still forming a positive connection with their brand.

In order to get more eyes on your small business, it’s best practice to engage in some sort of advertising. Don’t let the fear of people scrolling past your ads stop you – brand awareness can still make a powerful difference compared to not advertising at all. Run those ads, optimize them for your audience, and consistently keep your brand in front of people.

Ready to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level?

If you’re feeling inspired by Apple’s Study With Me video, you can easily apply some of these techniques to your own small business ads.

How to get started:

  1. Designate & Set Up a Process – Make it very clear who on your team is in charge of recording new content, editing it, and putting it in front of the public. That way there’s no confusion about who is supposed to oversee each part of the process.
  2. Take Advantage of Free Tools – There are several easy-to-use tools you can get started with, all of which can help you turn text and images into videos:
  3. Repurpose Your Content – It’s hard to find the time to work on projects like these, especially for small business owners. Once you’re able to record content, make sure you repurpose it so you can make the most of the time spent.

If this feels overwhelming, our team is available to assist you. We can help you optimize your ads for your target audience, target specific keywords, and set measurable goals.

Contact us today to set up a free consultation. We’ll be happy to work with you and take your small business ads to the next level in 2024!