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Why Short-Form Video Is Facebook’s Advertising Darling

Video content has always been critically important to a successful marketing strategy, used to entertain and engage audiences while spreading brand awareness. Traditionally, brands would spend enormous amounts of money and time on carefully-crafted video advertisements and native content, for use primarily on television and company websites. As digital channels have proliferated, however, brands have had to develop a much higher quantity of video in order to address personalized audiences and provide a unique experience across each consumer touchpoint. For this reason, much attention has been given to the optimization of video development, including how to derive assets that work on social channels where users have shorter attention spans. Additionally, with mobile devices now featuring high-quality video recording capacity, the sheer volume of content being captured and shared is staggering.

While this has helped brands to keep up with an ever-expanding digital landscape, now, the pendulum is starting to swing back toward a higher creative standard. Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a “bootcamp” for Facebook Marketing Partners at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Throughout the day-long event, internal experts discussed marketing trends on the platform, and shared strategies to help partners like Olapic best support consumer brands in reaching their goals. Among several notable takeaways, one compelling theme stood out:

On Facebook, the creative quality of video is more important than ever before.

In fact, according to Arshi Duffley, the Product Growth Manager for Facebook Marketing Partners, 50%+ of a video’s performance on the platform is based on the creative. Technology has certainly given brands and creative types the unprecedented ability to develop video content and analyze its performance to underscore trends and help engage viewers in more meaningful ways. But to create truly powerful video content, brands cannot rely on technology alone. Instead they must find the intersection of tech and creativity to develop assets that not only tell a compelling story, but are designed to fit the needs of the specific channel through which they are being consumed.

During her presentation, Duffley shared a few tactics that have proven effective for video marketing on Facebook, including:

  • Incorporate your brand’s logo within the first 3 seconds of a video to establish a connection to the company
  • Cutaway using color variants to break up the content and keep users engaged
  • A “carousel” format is great for “how to” videos, setting a framework and process for the information being shared
  • Quick movements and transitions work well, to recapture the attention of users that are being pulled in many directions by other media and real-life distractions
  • A healthy mix of static and video content drives optimal performance. There is no one asset type that is the “silver bullet” because different users learn differently
  • Fit in to stand out: by working within the framework expected by your audience, you will build trust and gain the ability to apply your own creative voice and vision

It is also important that brands think about the experience of their audience based on where within the platform they will be engaging with video. For example, video within a user’s feed provides greater reach for the brand, but comes with a greater risk of the user bailing to scroll to another piece of content. Video within the “Stories” section, by comparison, provides brands with the (relatively-speaking) focus of the user but a finite audience and amount of time. When speaking about these tactics, Duffley notably referred to them as “creative considerations,” rather than “best practices,” placing further emphasis on the role of creative thinking in video development.

At Olapic, we have been long thinking about video as a critical brand asset, and working to find ways to lower the cost and time required to produce it, while increasing the creative quality that has become less prevalent. To address this challenge, we’ve introduced Content in Motion (CiM), a platform that helps brands create beautiful short-format video that is aligned with the creative quality needed to perform on Facebook and other channels, while retaining efficiency in production.

As brands continue to experiment with video and develop shorter, more personalized assets on Facebook and beyond, it will be interesting to see how audiences shift their preferences and if brands can keep up with ongoing changes in the marketplace.

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