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Adapting Video for Social Media Use

Video has become one of the fastest-growing content forms. The American Marketing Association predicts that, between 2016 and 2020, ad spend on video content on social media will grow from $9.9 billion to nearly $30 billion. However, video content must be optimized for social media use if you want to engage your target audience.

Many brands simply port their TV spots and other video content over to social and expect it to boost conversions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. People consume content differently on social platforms than they do on television and other mediums, and you must take those differences into account if you want your video to resonate with your target audience on social media.

The Rise of Video

In the third quarter of 2014, Facebook recorded one billion video views by Facebook users. By the second quarter of 2015, the number jumped to four billion, and by the last quarter of 2015, video views doubled to eight billion.

Video works on Facebook and other social platforms because it's visually engaging and because it incorporates more of the senses than still photography or written content. However, there's a major difference between video that works on television and video that works on social media.

For one thing, television advertisers have the luxury of introducing the brand during the last few frames after the 15 or 30 seconds of content has been laid out. That format won’t necessarily work on social because you can’t count on consumers to view the whole video. We live in a world where we’re forever looking to consume content faster and a world where we’re constantly being bombarded by said content. Think about how quickly you scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook or Instagram and how quickly you dismiss or glance over the majority of what you see. The brand placement needs to come much earlier.

Additionally, marketers must optimize their videos for mobile viewing. According to Facebook, consumers scroll through their mobile news feeds more than 40 percent faster than they do on desktop. This means that you need to capture your audience’s attention immediately if you want them to engage with your video content.

With these facts in mind, let's look at a few tips to make video work for your band on social media.

Keep it Short

Ideally, you want your video to be 30 seconds or shorter. Videos that last just 15 seconds often hit the sweet spot, especially for mobile viewers. When consumers are on their smartphones, they don't have the attention span necessary to sit through a five-minute spot.

Deliver the Brand Message Early

Start with your company's logo, an image of your product, or another visually arresting image. You want to identify your brand and its message right away to capture your audience's attention and promote brand awareness. 

Make sure that you pay particular attention to certain features that attract views, such as thumbnails, backgrounds, and product shots. Don't skimp on production quality if you want to get ahead with video on social.

Add Captions and Explanatory Visuals

Remember that many people who watch videos on social may not be listening with the volume on. Let speech add to the experience of your video, but ensure the video still makes sense without it. To make sure that you still get your message across, employ explanatory visuals that make your video’s purpose clear from the get-go. Telling your story visually will help grab attention from viewers.

You can also include captions at the bottom of your video so viewers can read what people might be saying. Captions aren’t complicated. You can upload an SRT file with your captions or let Facebook auto-generate the captions for you and then edit them later on.

Test Your Video

Test, test, and test some more. Testing is a major part of making video work on social media. What works for another marketer in another industry might not work for you. Shape your marketing campaign to meet your specific audience’s needs and desires.

Test one variable at a time so you can isolate variables and understand which factors your audience responds to.

Remember that the elements of an ad outside of the video itself can also play a major role in the performance of your videos. Test copy, landing pages, and headlines in addition to the video content itself. Make your video more engaging and appealing by surprising your audience with funny, insightful, or entertaining copy.

You can also test different placements for the video, from news feeds and in-stream videos to suggested videos and Instagram Story Ads.

Let the results dictate your future content.

We're experts at keeping up with the latest trends in social media marketing. To learn more, check out what we learned while testing Facebook ads to sell out arenas.

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