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Facebook has published a new report which looks at how brands can adapt their TV commercials to the Facebook setting. And while not every business has the budget to create TV ads, there are some key points of note within the report which could help all advertisers better optimize their Facebook video campaigns.

First off, Facebook’s Creative Shop team advises that short, sharp messaging is key in Facebook video.

“People overwhelmingly prefer shorter ads to longer ones. But on mobile, consumption is fast and attention is short – so the bar to and capture and keep attention is higher. Our research shows that video-watching on mobile is fast, frequent and needs to work with or without sound. Think about how you use your own mobile device, and those qualities will probably ring true.”

That advice is not necessarily anything new, but it further underlines the need to be succinct with your video messaging, and to ensure your branding elements are featured early on.

Indeed, Facebook also notes that:

TV commercials typically air in a “forced view” environment where people watch the entire spot, so it makes sense to have the punchline at the end. But on mobile, 47% of a video’s value is delivered in the first three seconds, and 74% is delivered in the first ten seconds – after that, attention starts to decline.”

Facebook provides this example from Red Bull to illustrate the different video messaging techniques – from the original TV spot to Facebook’s ideal formats.

Facebook Releases New Report on Maximizing the Potential of Your Video Assets | Social Media TodayEven if you’re not creating your own TV commercials, exposure to them has likely influenced how you understand video communication, and how you assume it should work. The above example underlines the different approach to Facebook and mobile consumption, which helps provide additional perspective on how to best optimize your video ads.

Furthering this advice, Facebook offers four key notes on how to boost video effectiveness.

  • Include your brand early – “The earlier you can place your brand in the video and the clearer you can make the message, the better”. You can see this in the above Red Bull example, they’ve included the brand name and an image of the product in the first frames, linking the action to the item you’re able to purchase. While you don’t want to be overly promotional, as Facebook notes, people won’t necessarily watch all the way through, so you need to capitalize on attention, ideally in a creative way.
  • Remember branding is more than just a logo – This, again, is highlighted in the Red Bull example – Facebook advises that you should consider using your fonts, colors and image aesthetics to help underline your brand where possible.
  • Reinforce the campaign message visually – While Facebook has more recently been rolling out ‘sound on’ as their default video option, their own previous research actually shows that up to 80% of consumers will react negatively to Facebook ads when the audio “plays loudly when people aren’t expecting it”. It’s a fairly safe bet that a lot of people won’t be consuming your video ads with sound on, so you need to ensure the context remains clear without it.
  • Set the scene quickly – While TV commercials have more room to establish context, on mobile, you need to capture attention immediately and plunge people directly into the drama in order to maximize effectiveness.

Again, most of these tips are not new, these are fairly common best practices, but the insights from Facebook’s own creative team – and based on Facebook data – further underline their importance, and should help get you thinking about your approach.

Here’s another example from Bose, with the original TV ad on the left, and the Facebook optimized message on the right.

Facebook Releases New Report on Maximizing the Potential of Your Video Assets | Social Media TodayThe key features are clearly communicated with display cards, intercut into the video, ensuring it works with sound off and captures attention quickly.

In addition to creative notes (of which, Facebook includes more in their full report), Facebook has also included some technical tips – one of which is likely to stoke further debate amongst video creators.

Optimize your ratios for mobile – Square and vertical videos often perform better on mobile—people don’t have to turn their phones sideways to get the full effect. Brand lift tests show a 3 to 9 point lift for vertical videos compared to horizontal ones. We recommend a 4:5 ratio for Instagram and 2:3 for Facebook feed.”

As we know, from previous discussion inspired by Social Media Today posts on this topic, video creators hate the suggestion of vertical video. “It compromises creative”, “it looks terrible”, “we shouldn’t compromise to cater to bad user behaviors”. These are the types of sentiment you regularly see in response to the vertical format, however the stats don’t lie.

That’s not to say you have to utilize vertical video content, but based on this, and other research conducted on consumption, many consumers simply won’t turn their phone to view your video. As such, creating with vertical format in mind should be a consideration, even if you opt not to go with it in the end.

Facebook also advises video creators to experiment with different formats in order to get the most from your efforts – in this example, you can see how McDonald’s has used varying creative options, including shorter GIFs of their main video, for a campaign they ran in Malaysia.

Facebook Releases New Report on Maximizing the Potential of Your Video Assets | Social Media Today

“In short, look objectively at your TV commercial as a collection of assets rather than one untouchable narrative. You can create more visual interest and drama when you distance yourself from the story arc of the original spot. Splice, dice and rearrange the story to create something totally new for mobile.”

Again, even if you don’t have a TV ad to pull from, the same advice could be applied to any longer video content.

There’s a range of other tips and notes in the full report – worth considering if you’re looking to get more out of your Facebook video efforts.

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