Study: How best to use video marketing on social media

With more and more people using mobile devices to interact online, marketers must adapt their messaging for small screens and visuals-only consumption.


Marketers typically apply best practices from older media to new technologies.

That can prove problematic.

When television first became popular, marketers basically moved radio ads to television programs. Now, they post videos produced for television or desktop computers on social media platforms, where most people view them on mobile devices.

The problem is that viewing video on mobile devices differs from watching it on television or desktop computers.

A new analysis by Facebook and MetrixLab sought to determine which types of video achieve the best marketing results on social media.

The analysis segmented 759 video ads into three categories: ads designed specifically for mobile devices (mobile first), ads adapted to mobile, and “traditional narrative” ads designed for television. Ads created for mobile first performed substantially better on Facebook and Instagram.

Here’s why:

They mention the brand at the beginning. Viewers tend to be able to recall the brand name when it’s mentioned within the first few seconds of the video. Brand recall for traditional narrative ads was 2.4 times lower than the other two groups — probably because only 38 percent showed the brand in the first seconds. Early branding does not mean just featuring a logo at the start. Good brand integration requires communicating what the company does without annoying the consumer.

They maintain a strong brand presence. Videos with a strong presence, where the brand is the main focal point, enjoyed higher brand recall.

They’re shorter. The longer the video, the lower the percentage of view time. Viewers watched less of longer videos. Mobile first videos, which averaged 20 seconds, had the highest brand recall.

Try testing and/or pre-testing creative to minimize risks, Facebook recommends. Evaluating ad creative before it goes live can predict ad success and help build a better campaign.

The best marketing videos relay their message in less than two minutes, says Sara Swan at Media Cause. To accomplish that, put the main selling points and impact statements at the beginning, provide value throughout the video, and include a strong call to action, Swan recommends.

She also suggests:

Design for sound off. Assume viewers will watch the video with no sound. That means captions are paramount. Designed for sound off doesn’t mean no sound. For video with text and images, include background music.

Pin it . If you are cultivating your community and expect new users on your Facebook page, pin a video that explains your mission to the top of your Page.

Upload videos directly to Facebook. They play automatically in the news feed and gain much more interaction than links to videos.

Find your best spokespeople. They may not necessarily be celebrities. The best spokespeople might be real faces of the organization such as the CEO or other executive or expert, or they could be customers who are strong advocates.

Mobile video requires a different approach. Applying traditional video techniques will produce inferior results. Although the study focused on video ads, the same lessons can apply to organic videos on social media and other channels.

A version of this post first appeared on the Glean.info blog.

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