A glance back into the past, and it suddenly seems that Ancient Egyptians as well as our cave-residing predecessors would have made brilliant marketers – by utilizing rich imagery with stories, they have created an entire legacy of storytelling practices we are now translating into the digital realm. As creatures madly in love with storytelling combined with all things visual, it makes perfect sense that our content preferences are evolving towards more video-based forms.
Most importantly, this has become an overwhelmingly dominant trend on social networks, turning this form of branding into a more social experience, which is where Facebook’s latest changes steal the spotlight.
Video ads are nothing new in marketing, but they have been used relatively scarcely until now outside of networks which have been specifically designed to promote video content (enter: YouTube). Now, every active user of Facebook, over two billion of us, has noticed a surge in video content on their newsfeed.
It’s by far the most engaging format online for brands to utilize to connect with their audience, and its short form makes it an appealing alternative to simple posts or sticking only to written content. So, if you have yet to navigate the rising waters of Facebook video ads, read on to take your own marketing strategy to the next level of amazing.
1. Size does matter
Strictly speaking, Facebook does offer a generous amount of time for your video escapades, as much as 120 minutes to be precise, but your users are highly unlikely to watch such a lengthy video on their Facebook feed. Simply put, shorter is better when it comes to creating the most appealing video ad, as it should be attention-grabbing, and easy to watch on the go.
What does this mean for your brand? Your goal should be to say as much as possible in the least possible time, and to use other accompanying elements such as a funky font, rich color contrasts, music and other sound effects to amplify the experience. This is the beauty of video, it’s not just visual, but it also enables people to connect on a deeper level, to comment as they watch, to read others’ reactions, and to share it with others. Keep it short and sweet, and you’ll get their attention.
2. Make it worth watching without the sound
The golden rule is that Facebook keeps the videos mute until the users ask for sound, which is perfectly natural, since many Facebook users tend to spend time scrolling around their feed in waiting rooms, or even in exceptionally dull meetings (you know who you are). While the sound is a valuable addition to your video, make sure that the ad works well even without it.
If there’s plenty of spoken material, use captions to narrate your story for the viewers who are adamant to stick to the mute option, even if they have their earphones close by. You want to get your point across, and videos can be perfectly adapted to do so even without sound.
3. Know thy audience
On the one hand, you want to create video ads that present your brand in an appealing way, but on the other, you are not creating the ad for yourself or your CEO, but the people who are meant to be inspired to choose your brand. Every ad has its own purpose, whether it’s to get more engagement on Facebook through conversations, to effectively increase website traffic coming from social media, or to get more conversions from each viewer and website visitor. What matters is to find the best methods that suit those goals and that your audience will love.
When do they stop by their Facebook feed? How much time do they spend on Facebook? What kind of content do they prefer? Their age, gender, education and general interests are also great pointers as to the kind of content they’d gladly watch, and more importantly, what kind of content would get them to visit your website and try your product. Use your customer data, and make sure you know what sort of video content gets the best results in your own industry.
4. Keep an eye on your ads
Once you create a video that is designed to deliver specific results, it’s not enough to just let it run its course. Use this initial momentum to see if you’re getting enough traction from day one, who in your audience responds the most, and if you can pinpoint the parts of your video content that are earning you that attention.
Conducting A/B testing on your video ads is always an excellent idea, but the analysis shouldn’t end there. Collect the most useful data from both of your video campaigns and keep following the level of engagement of your final video version. This is not just for the sake of monitoring your current results, but also as a lesson for future videos and improving their quality.
5. Less is more
Once again, the amount of information used in your videos should be kept to those bare necessities, and your ads serve to spike some interest and get that initial twinkle in their eye to learn more about your brand. However, no matter how brief, whimsical, or clever your ad may be, if it lacks a final call to action, you have missed your opportunity – some will naturally choose to google your offers, while others will simply keep scrolling in search for puppy-eating-watermelon videos.
Simple and to-the-point call to action ideas such as “learn more”, or “get started” often lead to better results compared to their more elaborate and more formal varieties. Present value, offer something your audience can relate to, and you’ll get their attention to truly not end their engagement when the video wraps up.
On a final note
The old but gold cliché that content is king still rings true, and if you’re not making the most of the latest trends, especially on social media, you’re missing out on valuable opportunities not just to turn a profit, but to build relationships. Social networks are striving to be more personal, engaging, and live up to their original purpose of being social, hence the tendency to increase video content on these platforms in general.
While there will never be a one-size-fits-all rulebook for all things social, you can use these essential guidelines to turn your videos into a truly branded experience that will deliver the results you need.