How to Create the Most Clickable Video Content, According to AI

photo of friends in a cafe

Which colors work best on screen? How many people should you cast? The answers are as much about science as they are about art.


Shooting a brilliant video takes a fair amount of vision and instinct, no doubt. But, it can also take a lot of guesswork. How can you ever really know what will resonate with an audience, after all?

Well, that used to be the question. Now, artificial intelligence is here to help catch rising video trends.

Using Shutterstock.AI, we gathered data-driven insights into what key creative components are most likely to boost click-through rates (CTRs) for video ads. The technology analyzed 49,000 visual dimensions of every video in its data set to discover trends in:

  • Colors: Which hues encourage interaction?
  • Casting: How many people should appear on screen? What should they be doing and wearing?
  • Setting: Is a video better off taking place outside or inside?
  • Editing Tips: How long should your video be? Should it include your logo?

Here’s what AI found . . .

Turquoise and Rust Are the Most Engaging Colors

Colors convey a lot of information. They represent your brand’s voice and support your actors’ emotions. On a whole, the color choices marketers make will deeply impact their campaign’s performance. So, what hues to go with?

Right now, the color palettes driving the most clicks are shades of blue and turquoise, and rusty and dusty reds. The specific hex codes with the highest CTRs are:

  • Pastel turquoise #C0FFFF
  • Turquoise  #40C0C0
  • Deep blue #004080
  • Rusty pink #C08080
  • Deep rusty red #804040
  • Pastel pink #FFC0C0

Consider featuring red autumn leaves against a bright blue sky, or a brick building near water. Even neon red signs in the navy blue night could drive clicks for your brand.

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

The More People, the Merrier (To a Point)

Videos without people have decent CTRs, but videos that include people are becoming increasingly more engaging. What’s that perfect head count for your cast?

The sweet spot is to include six people. In fact, videos with six people have:

  • a 709% higher CTR than videos with seven people
  • a 72% higher CTR than videos with no people

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

Costuming can also impact a video’s performance. Videos featuring people wearing coats currently have the best CTR, up 29% from this time last year.

Sweaters and scarves have also surged in clickability, with CTRs up 150% and 33%, respectively. (Perhaps that’s because, in certain parts of the world, consumers are starting to prepare for cooler weather.)

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

As far as what people should be doing in videos, AI says that sitting currently has the highest engagement rate of any activity (its CTR has gone up 117% since this time last year).

Eating is also popular. The CTR of videos featuring meals has spiked 136% since summer 2020.

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

The Outdoors Are Great, Indeed

When it comes to clickability, outdoor settings outrank indoor ones. In fact, videos tagged as having a nature setting show a 15% higher CTR than their nature-free counterparts.

Example video clips:

Planning to shoot indoors anyway? By selecting clips with the best props, you can optimize your video’s performance. Specifically, AI tells us that computers, plants, posters, and photographs all have rising CTRs.

Example video clips Shutterstock:

And, of course, seasonal settings are always in vogue. Classrooms have a 72% higher CTR this August compared to last, perhaps because some school systems are going back to in-person learning.

Car dealerships are also an August stand-out, with a 38% higher CTR than they had last year. (It may help that auto manufacturing has rebounded this summer and vehicles are in high demand.)

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

Timing Is Everything

You can make the best creative selections, but if you don’t edit your video to the right specifications, it can tank anyway. Fortunately, AI has the editing cheat codes to grow clicks.

According to Shutterstock.AI, videos that are 50-55 seconds long have the highest CTRs (they’re 158% clickier than videos at the worst-performing lengths, 0-5 seconds and 15-20 seconds).

Example video clips on Shutterstock:

Obviously, keeping audiences engaged for a full minute means you have to hook them right away. The creative choices detailed above will help on that front, but other editing choices can increase clickability, as well.

For example, including on-screen text within ads is rapidly increasing in CTR. (Need ideas for what to say? Data tells us that “15% off” has the highest CTR for any on-screen text within the Shutterstock.AI image and video data set.)

Finally, data can help you decide whether or not to end your video with a shot of your brand’s logo. Advertisers are currently opting not to do so—videos without logos are 199% more likely to be used by marketers—but data shows that videos with logos have a 7% higher CTR.

Consider using transitions like these on Shutterstock (below) that include CTR-boosting colors to segue to your logo:

Go ahead, end your campaign with a shoutout to your brand. Shutterstock.AI (wink) would approve.

For more AI-inspired info, take a look at these articles on Shutterstock:

Cover image via G-Stock Studio.

About the Bridget Johnston

Bridget is an Indianapolis-based Shutterstock staffer with a background in journalism, education, marketing and artificial intelligence. Her work was featured in museums around the world before she led marketing for Pattern89’s AI, which was acquired by Shutterstock. She has written content for C-SPAN and The Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, and she has created educational content in conjunction with NASA, National Geographic, Disney and Nickelodeon.