Unless you’ve been in hiding over the last few years, it’ll come as no surprise to you that video is probably going to take over the world soon. That might sound a bit dramatic, but honestly, video looks to be the future.
In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, it can be very easy to jump on the bandwagon in order to stay on-trend, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it right. This week, we’re helping you harness the power of video to give your campaigns an edge over your competitors.
In this blog, we’ll cover why video is so powerful, how to create video content that people want to watch, and how to measure the value of your video ads. Without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Why are video ads the future?
The simple answer to this question is the ever-increasing use of mobile phones. In a relatively short space of time, smartphones have become a quick and convenient way for users of all ages to watch video content across their favourite social media channels. And with 2.53 billion of us using smartphones today – and an estimated 2.87 billion expected to do so by 2020 – it’s easy to see why video is set to rule the internet.
Videos auto-play on apps like Facebook and Instagram, which means they grab attention. The talent lies in keeping that attention once it’s been caught. But more on that later.
Another advantage to using video ads on social media is that you’ll reach more people than you would with TV ads. Of course, younger audiences are leading the trend, but people of all ages are increasingly watching mobile video on social media because of how convenient, personal and sharable it is.
This certainly isn’t a young person’s trend. Just under two-thirds of Gen X-aged consumers (those born between 1965 & 1980) actively use the mammoth social platform, whereas a third of Gen Z (born between 1997 and now) internet users see the site as social media “for old people”.
As well as having the power to reach users of all age groups, video ads on social media have more chance of being seen than adverts on the TV. Recent studies have shown that more than half of TV ads shown go unwatched. This isn’t surprising when you consider the abilities we have now to pause and fast-forward TV – not to mention how often we pick up our mobile phones during breaks of our favourite shows.
How to create video content your audience wants to see
One of the few problems with video is that everybody is doing it. So how do you create thumb-stopping content that will set you apart from all the other brands? Here are some handy tips to help you do just that:
Know your medium and shoot vertical
Users watching video content on their mobiles are going to lose interest very quickly if the content doesn’t fit their screen. Smartphone screens are tall and long, which means they don’t work well with widescreen content.
As a rule, vertical and square videos tend to work best on mobile devices. You may balk at the idea of producing vertical content, but think smartphone-first. People typically hold their phones vertically, so if your vertical or square video occupies more space on a vertical screen, it offers a more immersive experience than a horizontal video would.
The takeaway here is design for your audience. According to Cisco, three-quarters of mobile traffic will be video by 2021. Designing content for your audience will boost the chances of your video being watched, so it’s important to consider the device they’ll be watching on.
Think about sound-off environments
There’s a good chance you’ve already seen the research that suggests an astonishing 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound. That means you need to be able to communicate your message in a solely visual way if you want it to resonate with the vast majority of your audience.
While this might sound simple in theory, in practice plenty of brands are getting it wrong. Indeed, Facebook’s own research shows that 76% of rated video adverts require sound to be understood.
In short, if your video’s message is too complex to convey without sound, it needs to be simplified. The soundtrack should only ever enhance the video experience for users who do have the volume turned up.
Show your brand early
Our attention spans are notoriously short when it comes to social content. While a TV ad affords you the time to build a narrative arc that reaches a crescendo after 30 seconds, don’t expect people to stick around that long on Facebook or Twitter.
On average, Facebook users only watch around 10 seconds of any given video, so make sure your brand, product or service gets a look-in during this timeframe. That way, even if people keep on scrolling, they’ll still have seen who the video is from.
Measuring the value of your videos
In the same way that a TV ad isn’t a good model for a strong social video, television metrics aren’t necessarily the best way to measure the effectiveness of an ad on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Length of view is often used to determine the success or failure of a video ad. But in a world where social users expect advertising messages to be communicated in a matter of seconds, is this really your most relevant metric?
Consider what you actually want your campaign to achieve. Are you trying to drive brand recognition? Increase online sales of a specific product? Encourage more people to visit your brick-and-mortar stores? The measurement of your video ad should be closed aligned to these top-line objectives. But if you’re going to achieve this, get used to treating video as the starting point of a campaign, rather than a luxury or an afterthought.
What to watch out for in the world of video
With more than three-quarters of worldwide video viewing now taking place on mobile devices, ongoing advances in mobile networks will have a huge impact on the creation and performance of video content. Just this week, Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton were unveiled as the test site for the government’s 5G pilot scheme, and the UK-wide rollout is set to begin in 2020.
Once 5G becomes widely available, expect to see a significant upturn in the quantity of long-form video content viewed on mobile as download speeds increase exponentially and latency plummets. While this doesn’t automatically mean social ads should become much longer, watching lengthier videos while on the go will become much more “normal”.
Similarly, live video will continue its stratospheric rise. Twitch, the video streaming platform, already has more viewers than Netflix and consumers are already flocking to services like Facebook Live and Instagram Live, so it’s hardly a niche concern at the moment. The rollout of 5G is only going to make live video even more popular, so brands need to put serious thought into how they can utilise it as part of their communication and marketing strategies.