Why 2015 Is ‘Prime Time’ for Social Video

/ Mar 13, 2015

social video

By Hillel Scheinfeld

eMarketer is calling 2015 the “prime time for social video” estimating that online video ad revenue will grow to $7.7 billion this year with year-over-year increases over 13.9% through 2018. This increase can be credited to a few factors, including the availability of new social video advertising solutions, as well as increased video consumption.

Consumers love interacting with content on social media –whether it’s sharing, tweeting, posting, or SocialMediapinning – sharing content on social media means that consumers feel this content is resonating with them. When consumers share positive feedback with branded video, they’re giving that brand their personal seal of approval and spreading the word about its products or services to other members of their network.

Users are sharing more video content than ever before. Facebook recently reported that its users share 75% more videos globally on the platform than they did at this time last year, and US Facebook users share 94% more videos than they did in the same time period. It’s an interesting and impressive trend, but certainly not surprising.

Your New Social Video Advertising Checklist:

1. Leverage new targeting capabilities.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat all feel like natural places to share video ads, as they are channels that naturally express users’ interests. By sharing or liking a particular video, such action, even if not intended, is a type of endorsement or statement about the content. As a result, social networks are able to create a profile of our likes, opinions, interests and more based on these simple actions. Snapchat Discover 1-27-15Therefore, it makes sense that social networks are a prime location for advertisers to reach certain audiences where they spend a huge amount of time and are already posting and engaging with videos.

In order to increase the impact of the video, coupled with better targeting capabilities, networks like Facebook and others have rolled out new autoplay formats so brands may be able to increase the number of viewers, especially if the content is entertaining within the first 5-10 seconds. These first seconds are crucial for engaging consumers because as viewers become used to expecting this small preview, they are also less forgiving if it doesn’t immediately catch their eye. Research also has proven that people are less likely to watch an ad than personal content from someone in their network, so those first seconds must be engaging enough to draw interest, but not too commercial to throw off the viewer.

2. Brevity is important.

In today’s mobile-first world, brevity is just as important to consumers as content, especially if it is pre or mid-roll video.  Keep video ads under 30 seconds and make sure your CTA is in the first 5 seconds. Sponsored or native video ads on social may be longer as longer-type content has been effective in those platforms as well, but again, it must be coupled with a strong five-second opener to earn the interest of the viewer.

3. Video ads must include a call-to-action!

A specific call-to-action (CTA) within the first few seconds can draw the viewer in and get the viewer to take an additional step. A great caption under social videos is also important, simply because it gives the viewer another way to check out the content. If the video content is a gateway to more information, why not give the viewer the opportunity to get the information while watching the video? A quick, upfront CTA coupled with compelling content gives videos a longer lifespan by keeping viewers engaged. Unlike videos on YouTube, which have a massive content library, videos on social platforms can have shorter lifespans since they are viewed in feeds and, therefore, less likely to be resurfaced via search. By adding additional information and calls to action we turn what may have been a 30 second video interaction into a multi-minute engagement.

A great video ad can “go viral” and get shared countless times because the content is so compelling. This is great for brand awareness, but what about when your goal is direct response? For most video marketers, including a CTA in your video content is an absolute must. Targeted, actionable video ads that can reel consumers in are more likely to see greater ROI, too.

4. Mimic mobile app experiences.

According to Forrester, 57% of smartphone users think in-app ads can disrupt the experience.  Users SocialMedia_Outletsdon’t want to be taken off-site while consuming content on their social feed. Even with the newest smartphones and tablets, the less browsing and opening of new pages on a mobile device, the much better. That is why mobile apps are more compelling to work within than the mobile web. Video should follow this same paradigm and act like a mobile app with multiple types of content led by the video.

Overall, as video consumption increases across social channels, know your audience and know the platform to increase video ad engagement. Test content length, and when possible, make content that can be used with different duration times so you can get the best results pending on the sites you are advertising/sharing the content. Marketers and brands should also pay close attention to which audiences are on which platforms. A lack of understanding amongst the platforms and audiences each one serves is a huge misstep for brands and marketers, but knowing how to use each one is the key to unlocking engagement and turning video views into dollars earned.

HillelScheinfeld_headshotHillel Scheinfeld is the co-founder and COO of Viewbix, a leading video engagement platform for brands and marketers. Before founding Viewbix, Hillel served as EVP of strategic development at IDT’s Israel office for 10 years. Prior to IDT, he was SVP of Telecom, where he oversaw business operations for the company.

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