One thing we can all agree on: the amount of video consumed online has grown at an incredible pace in the last two years, and is set to grow even further.
Here’s the projection: 75% of all mobile data will be video by 2020. And driving this is the huge growth in Facebook users and Facebook’s move to become video-centric.
The world is fast embracing video primarily on mobile devices. This presents an enormous opportunity for savvy marketers. But the old rules don’t apply. What do you need to consider when looking at your Facebook video ads and videos on other platforms?
We’ve put together 6 tips to ensure you produce the best Facebook video ad you can.
- The right length
The correct length for your video ad is going to depend on your campaign objectives and your audience. But in general, more and more video ads are moving towards shorter durations including the much talked about 6-second trend.
It’s not hard to see why.
Your consumers have an enormous amount of content to get through. It has been estimated that people can scroll up to 300 feet of content every day on Facebook. That’s the height of the statue of liberty!
It’s important to think about audience behavior when considering optimum length. On Facebook, for example, you should be aware that around 70% of your target market is ‘on-the-go’ and are looking for short videos, ads in Instagram Stories, snaps, and immediate messages.
This means that 70% of your video ads need to be around 6-seconds in duration.
Around 20% can be classified as having ‘lean-in’ behavior. This audience has more time and is prepared to allocate time to more immersive forms of content, such as 360-degree videos or Facebook live video.
The rest have a ‘lean-back’ mindset, with more time for long-form video content such as behind the scenes video.
Follow the 70:20:10 rule on duration.
Salomon reminded their audience about the concept of ‘Play’ in a visually interesting and mobile-optimized way. Their short video proved to be an ideal length for target consumers who were recognised as being ‘on-the-go’. Its vertical nature utilized the whole screen for optimal viewing, making it the perfect format for deploying within Instagram story ads.
To cater to those with a little more time to spare, Salomon crafted a minute long video ad too. The use of rich imagery and dramatic music formed a much more immersive experience for the viewer.
Salomon then took this campaign one step further, by inviting their target audience to reflect on their own inner child and submit photos of themselves in ‘play’. The brand utilized the power of this authentic user-generated-content by creating a remixed version of their minute-long advert. The end result is a piece of video content tailored to those with a ‘lean-back’ mindset.
You need a lot of video content to address different targets and to avoid ad fatigue. The traditional approach to video adverts was the 30-second TV commercial. Brands would (and still do) seek to target you within linear television channels. One of the key metrics traditionally used is frequency. In other words how many times can I make a person watch my ad? The theory being that the more watches the better.
That system simply does not work in online channels like Facebook. Users want to see fresh content; it is called the ‘newsfeed’ after all! Users now have a significantly greater choice on what they consume. This means brands need to do more to avoid fatigue, as showing the same ad often (like traditional methods) can have a detrimental impact on social media channels.
Brad Jakeman from Pepsi points out that 20 years ago brands created four pieces of content a year, each taking about four months to make, with a budget of $2 million – in other words, big-budget TV spots – was normal. Nowadays, brands are pushing out more like 400 to 4,000 pieces of content a year on a $20,000 budget.
Brands now need to create more content than ever to address these issues. This is a challenge with video because it has traditionally been expensive and time-consuming. Thankfully, there are a number of tech plays that are going to help address this issue covered below.
Ideally, you need a lot of video content to target different audiences and avoid fatigue.
America’s largest travel agency company, Travel Leaders, utilized a stream of fresh video content within their ads to help fight creative fatigue.
One thing that will never change is the ability of creative content to tell a compelling story. It is still possible to tell a story and communicate a message in the new world of the mobile newsfeed, but a different approach is required.
With the move to short video ads it requires more creativity, but as the (now defunct) app Vine showed the world, it is still possible to get the job done in 6 seconds.
The good news is that 6 seconds is indeed a reasonable canvas in which to communicate a story. And if done well it can be very effective.
Brands will need to continue to focus on quality though. This is a challenge given the amount of content required but it’s vital that all video advertising is high quality otherwise it will reflect poorly on the brand.
The folks at Vodafone have done this well, using simple animation to capture the attention of their audience. What’s great about these videos is that they manage to retain utmost quality all within a short viewing time – intensifying the audience’s viewing experience.
Vodafone’s blinking monkey is sure to catch your eye.
KMK Online, who focuses on driving growth for the Emtek Group in the online industry, is another great example. Their use of text overlay and image shots was an easy way to create a high-quality video without the hassle or expense of transitional video production. Their ‘card-flying’ video below is another unique way to capture attention in a quick six ticks.
Never sacrifice on quality.
- Video structure
There are a few things to take into account when it comes to the structure of your Facebook video ads.
Always design for mobile, so vertical or square is better than horizontal video. It costs the same to run a vertical video ad as it does a horizontal one so why not capture the entire screen for better impact?
Sound off. Facebook is currently trialling sound on by default. So you may get sound in some of your campaigns however the user is easily able to turn off the sound. Therefore you need to include subtitles in most of your video ads.
Short video ads need to be thumb stopping, so the first second needs movement that will capture attention.
Brands also need to consider having their brand and messaging up front, rather than the traditional punchline, which is common in the ads of yesteryear.
A final consideration is to look at your target audience’s ability to access wifi or fast data service. This is especially important for video advertising in developing countries.
Leading online lifestyle/fashion brand, Yoox, ran a vertical video Instagram campaign to raise awareness for its brand in Italy. The video ticks many boxes by revealing their logo within the first 2-seconds and maximizing the vertical screen with a unique split-screen technique.
Always design for mobile first; new rules apply.
- Calls to action
Facebook allows for an easy and immediate action to be taken. A call to action can be placed below the video ad (eg. learn more) or be placed as a headline into the video itself (like click below for more information).
The first thing to remember is that all great video ads contain a call to action. This is easily done with facebook. The next thing is to consider a compelling reason to take the action.
Brands also need to embed the Facebook pixel on their website to ensure that all spending is tracked back to the objectives set at the start of the campaign. This is relevant for tracking click-throughs and CTAs’.
Have a compelling CTA (unless you are running campaigns for awareness only).
In this example, Cartier seamlessly integrated their CTA within the ad format to inspire lovers with its Valentine’s Day line of fine jewelry. The creative utilized Facebook’s ‘Collection format’ by combining their engaging video with four product-related images below it. Viewers are compelled to ‘View the Selection’ and are presented with an easy means to purchase the collection pieces in a few clicks.
- Test and Update
There is no perfect recipe for creative treatment. If you get the above ‘ingredients’ in play you are a long way ahead of the market, so it’s a good start. But even with the basic ingredients in place, it’s still possible to cook up something that does not taste good.
That’s why you will need to keep testing, refining, changing, updating, tracking… rinse and repeat. You get the idea.
A lot of creativity is subjective and many brands have made huge mistakes when it comes to creative advertising. The beauty with facebook is that it’s easily remedied and changed.
Medical apparel retailer, Jaanuu, transformed their static imagery into short-form video animation. After testing the two creatives against each other (static and video), the video creative emerged as a clear winner – delivering a 32% increase in Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) for the brand.
There is no perfect recipe so keep testing and refining.
How do you adopt these six tips?
So what are some of the approaches that brands are taking to ensure their video ads address the above trends and requirements?
Here are some options to consider:
Clearly, it’s going to come down to a number of resources being available, but one option is to take the production of video advertising in-house. This could take a number of routes depending on the size of the organization.
Many organizations lack the in-house expertise and budget to build up a video production team. But with the massive advances in smartphone cameras and easy apps to edit, add music and produce, this has become a more reasonable option for many companies.
Lightweight tools like Ripl (which is a do it yourself editing tool) can allow in-house marketing teams to produce reasonably good video content. Effectively it’s taking the design in-house. This could be relevant for small business.
You can also consider the facebook tools themselves. Canvas from Facebook, allows you to design and build quality video adverts in-house.
Canvas examples where viewers are encouraged to engage with the photos and videos.
The traditional approach is to use an agency (or freelancer). This advantage is that you will normally have an existing relationship and the agency will have access to your branded assets, guidelines and communications systems.
The major downside is cost, especially given the amount of content required going forward. In addition, some agencies have been slow to adapt and change their approach to video ads with systems and approaches built on traditional video ads.
Facebook’s Creative Shop has been working on changing this approach. They have been working with brands and agencies to create ‘PockeTVCs’ from their existing assets. Essentially this means taking existing 30 or 60-second TVCs and ‘slicing and dicing’ them into snackable content.
In the above example, Bose transforms their minute-long commercial into a 10-second snippet, perfect for mobile optimization.
A number of platforms have sprung up in recent years to enable brands to talk directly to a large network of video ad creators. Companies like 90 seconds and Genero allow you to upload a brief which can then be viewed by thousands of freelancers.
Depending on the platform you are then able to select your preferred option. This is more appropriate for longer form content, but in theory, it would be possible to create shorter video ads using this system.
Smart tech approach
One very innovative way to deal with video ad challenges is to create Instant Videos from your photos. Shuttlerock takes jpeg photos and turns them into short 6 second MP4 videos for your Facebook ads.
This approach answers the important issues of being high quality, a snack-able length, and structured to perfectly fit into mobile screens.
And most importantly this system is scalable at reasonable costs.
The system also helps source relevant content from a range of sources including customers (user-generated content) and employees/advocates using a native app.
One thing is for sure, brands need to adjust their marketing plans to take into account their customers’ behavior. Video advertising represents a unique opportunity for brands to get ahead of their competitors by doing it right the first time.
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