Social video is one of the most powerful online advertising formats; nothing can quite match the combination of audio and visual stimuli.
Whether it’s emotive, comical or thought provoking, there have been many standout examples of videos that have created a ‘wow’ and have reached the heralded status of viral – like Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches, Fiat’s Rapping Mum or Evian’s Roller Babies.
The challenge for brands is that there is now an incredible amount of online video (and other social content) for consumers to digest, be it from other brands, from media owners, or consumers themselves, delivered via platforms such as Vine, Instagram or YouTube.
Whilst more video than ever is being produced and shared, video as a proportion of total social content shares has actually diminished; the rule of thumb now is that images and short text are likely to achieve greater social travel. This means that in video, great original content and a robust seeding strategy are vital – and that clip length is crucial in dealing with the trend towards short-form, most notably seen in Vine’s six-second vignettes.
Facebook has stepped into this complex arena with the launch of Facebook Premium Video Advertising, a 15-second HD format which has a degree of user control (clips launch without sound and close if they’re scrolled past; users must tap to play them in full and with sound).
The format has been in trials since December and is now in beta use amongst a small group of invited advertisers; pricing is as yet unknown. As such, it’s tricky to assess the format and its impact objectively – but the following may be some pros and cons from the point of view of both users and advertisers.
- The format could be considered interruptive as it’s autoplay on personal pages and therefore risks skipping, turning users off brands that overuse it, or don’t reward user attention with great content; or turning users off Facebook altogether
- Well-created, highly-targeted, directly relevant clips that engage and entertain could reward users for time spent with the brand; however, this is entirely dependent on the creative and targeting – and how well-disposed the user is to the brand’s activities on other channels.
- Facebook promises a pricing mechanism – ‘Targeted Gross Rating Points’ – that’s based on the way in which TV advertising is traded. Marketers who rely largely on TV spends may therefore find it easier to include Facebook on media schedules and to assess ROI in the same fashion
- The ad format is mobile-optimised and will play anywhere, but will only download from wi-fi (in order not to compromise users’ data plans) meaning an opportunity to reach the (up to 50%) of Facebook users connecting via mobile. However, this does mean that those who don’t routinely connect to wi-fi on their mobile will be excluded
- Facebook offers sophisticated targeting opportunities (age, gender, location, likes, tastes, interests, fans of complementary or competitive brands) and this may mean a new era in video targeting which has hitherto been based largely on search – the YouTube model
- Similarly, if the new ads are subject to Facebook’s retargeting capabilities, this could deliver new levels of ROI against broadcast-style ads (retargeting often giving a return of 4-5x higher than base)
- Users may nevertheless resist a format that’s perceived as interruptive – it may be TV-like, but Facebook is NOT television (incidentally in itself a medium that’s now subject to record levels of ad skipping thanks to Sky+ and Virgin Tivo)
- Targeting and creativity are everything: it’s far less of a leap of faith to see users willingly lapping up video ads from entertainment distributors or brands that behave like media owners, such as Red Bull, than it is those from banks or utilities.
As with any paid content placement, marketers will need to experiment across multiple platforms to ensure that they are reaching their intended audience and reaching them on the basis of mutuality: my time for your originality!
Head of Digital
A version of this article first appeared on Marketing Magazine’s website on 31 MarchComments(0)