Direct Response Video Advertising: Best Practices For Social Media
Are you finally making the leap into video advertising on social channels? Columnist Andrew Waber offers these tips on how to maximize the performance of your campaigns.
Regardless of medium, choosing the optimum creative has always been one of the main considerations for advertisers crafting a campaign strategy.
For social media marketers, creative selection is influenced by granular audience segmentation and “shareability,” as well as traditional concerns like target audience and desired effect.
Nowhere is this a more complex decision-making process than in the case of video, which has a great deal more variables to consider than image-based advertising (e.g. music, length, editing) but also a good deal of evidence validating its effectiveness.
It’s this efficacy that is drawing more advertisers to video, and notable new developments in the space have helped codify best practices to the benefit of advertisers still determining whether to invest in the medium.
Examining these improvements, along with how some of Nanigans’ (my employer) most successful customers are using the format, should provide advertisers with some valuable insights in terms of campaign management and creative choice.
All Eyes On Direct Response
Facebook rolled out video-enabled Mobile App Install ads in late 2013, which, like their image-based counterparts, have a clear call to action embedded within the unit (e.g., Install Now).
While video has traditionally been thought of as a branding exercise, these units were one of the first to marry video with direct response advertising, and they have evolved significantly since their rollout.
One of the biggest improvements is the ability to target these direct response ad units to drive events outside of an initial install.
Using functionality like Nanigans’ SDK or Facebook’s own measurement tools, advertisers can structure specific campaigns to, for example, show ads to existing downloaders similar to current users who make the most in-app purchases within the first 30 days, a benefit of deep in-app event tracking and downstream revenue optimization. This feature can also be used to help re-engage users after an app update or expansion.
Keep in mind that while these units are presently more geared toward gaming and other app-focused advertisers, recent developments from a number of social players indicate how the functionality of direct response video units will expand to be much more applicable for e-commerce and other industries.
Most recently, Twitter announced that its video ads would be autoplay enabled. And as more advertisers begin looking into video advertising on social channels, industry practitioners should note a number of proven ways to optimize performance.
1. Make A “Trailer” A Last Resort
For many advertisers, it’s tempting to invest in high-end production for a cinematic-style video. However, the vast majority of brands that have tested this type of content against things like gameplay video have found the latter to be much more effective in terms of driving clicks and valuable users.
As a bonus, overviews of the in-app experience require less time and fewer resources to create. Assuming the content is derived from existing assets, it’s inherently brand approved and easier to iterate against for testing purposes.
2. Stick To oCPM Or CPA Bidding
Despite anything you may have heard, autoplay is not necessarily a default feature of every video ad on Facebook. Specifically, Facebook cannot guarantee autoplay eligibility for video ads that utilize CPC (cost per click) or oCPM (optimized cost per mille) for clicks.
As autoplay functionality traditionally helps increase video ad effectiveness, it’s worth limiting a campaign to oCPM or CPA (cost per action) bid types.
3. Begin With Your Most Interesting Content
Attention spans on social media are inherently short. Capturing the attention of a user in the first five seconds is key to maximizing the effect of autoplay.
To this end, be sure to start the video with the most engaging and eye-catching footage.
4. Don’t Rely On Audio
Autoplay videos always start with the sound off, so any desired message should be discernible even without sound.
5. Keep It Short And Sweet
There may be a lot to share about a new offering, but a video ad unit isn’t the best place to do it. Locking down a compelling 15 to 30 seconds of video content is an optimum strategy, as it gives users an easy-to-consume taste of what’s in store, but naturally drives them to want to learn more.
Creating video ads that take into account these best practices has resulted in a great deal of long-term campaign success for a number of Nanigans’ gaming advertisers. While instituting these criteria is a more involved process, it helps maximize the effectiveness of video ad campaigns on social media.
Of course, as the format becomes more pervasive in the space, platform-specific nuances will become evident, so use these tips as a baseline to test against in achieving success across specific KPIs.