Social media has already revolutionised the way brands are advertising and engaging and connecting with their target consumers. The advertising and consumer landscape has dictated that brands don’t just need to adapt to the digital revolution, but also to the mobile and social revolutions. The relationship between brand and consumer has already become a two-way, interactive and constant stream of conversation through creative posts, imagery, copy, comments, likes, loves, shares – the list goes on. But there has been a huge paradigm shift even within the digital world of social media – video.
Of course, in the world of advertising, video is nothing new. TV ads are now considered an old-school, traditional marketing channel and social media has allowed brands to post videos for a while, too. But the number of brands who have latched onto the compelling data that tells us video is by far the most engaging media, has created, and rightly so, an influx of videos on our social feeds.
So, if all brands are creating and posting video content, how can your brand stand out in the crowd? It’s not good enough to have good creative elements: a compelling story, catchy copy, exciting visuals. Nor is it simply down to ticking the technical boxes: high quality resolution, responsive, good sound quality. Yes, those things are all important for a good video ad, but in today’s social era of digital natives, you will need to take into account a few additional elements of social user behaviour in order for your video ad campaign to be successful.
Today’s digital natives are well-trained experts in the art of “feed skimming”, a process whereby they can make full use of the human eye and brain potential to determine in split seconds whether content is interesting or not. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have all found that scrolling is dictated by age, with younger people moving more quickly through their feeds(1). Therefore, their decision as to whether or not they will watch a brand’s video in fact relies on a an impulse, an instinct – not a thought-out deliberation around your creative or message. If you can’t tap into that impulse with your video advertising, your brand won’t gain from social media exposure and it won’t translate into sales.
How can you ensure that, in the milliseconds of exposure that feed skimming allows you, you are able to connect with the viewer? There are a few obvious fixes to make, for example, ensuring that your campaign works without sound or otherwise contains subtitles. Feed skimming doesn’t necessarily happen in the serenity of one’s home. It happens on a busy train, while crossing the road or sneakily at your office desk, where the attention span is even slighter. Research shows that 67% of all videos viewed on smartphones are short and watched on the go, but also that recall happens in as little as 0.25 seconds. (2)
The more complex task is about adapting to the digital age by fitting all of the creative genius, technical excellence and product placement into a short video that manages to capture the mobile-user’s attention span immediately – in 0.25 seconds to be precise. To make an impact, you need to be heard not just in the digital noise of thousands of brands trying to transgress the screens and connect with the consumer, but in the real-world noise that is appealing to other senses. If you can be seen, heard, felt and understood in the noisy landscape where both offline and online tug at the population’s senses and battle for a microsecond of attention, that is when you will connect. And that is when you will sell.
Advertisers are getting smarter and creating video footage that is bespoke per platform. Variants of one ad across various social platforms for a multi-channel approach can transcend users cross-channel activity. This can create maximum impact through maximum exposure and brand awareness. Users quickly flick from Instagram to Facebook in seconds. Imagine if you could reach them across both platforms as they flick from one to another, with content tailored to suit the transition; your reach would be significantly amplified.
New consumption patterns are dictating the way in which advertisers and publishers need to adapt. The challenge of capturing user attention lies in experimentation with telling stories in different ways. Companies are leveraging innovative social media tools, such as Facebook’s Creative Hub’s templates to really break the mould. The Facebook Awards saw winners with campaigns that adopted innovations like vertical videos in Instagram Stories and live 360 video. One winning campaign featured a chatbot built to talk with Brazilian teens about alcoholism on Facebook Messenger. Another example was Bacardi USA, who created a DJ experience using Instagram Stories controls. Check them out here.
So, as value increases with time spent watching, advertisers should consider experimenting with shorter, more creative ads to optimise their digital campaigns. There isn’t just one aspect of social media advertising, or one element of a video, that is singularly responsible for driving value – the whole package, from an initial impression to a full video view, every aspect presents room for innovation and refinement. If we consider all of these vital variants (the need to tap into user attention quickly, the necessity of transcending multiple platforms and to be creatively differentiated), the recipe of harnessing the potential benefits of videos on social media is right at our fingertips.
For more information about how AndMine can help your company leverage the possibilities available through social media and digital advertising, get in touch with us to have a chat.