Now that Facebook is officially testing auto-play video ads, you’re probably eager to learn more about it. Although the feature is still in testing, some businesses might be concerned about the user experience. The truth is that most consumers have already seen video ads on the social network.
Marketers have long been creating video posts on their Facebook Pages and then turning those posts into ads. The only difference between those and the new format is that the latter will play automatically — but even that isn’t a new concept. Facebook recently confirmed that it has been testing auto-play videos in News Feed and on mobile since September.
Currently limited to videos shared by individuals and verified Pages, the experiment allows media uploaded directly to the site or shared through Instagram to automatically play once it comes into view in the News Feed. According to Facebook, this has resulted in a more than 10 percent increase in views, Likes, shares, and comments.
The key to launching any successful video campaign, especially if Facebook Video Ads are made a permanent feature, is to create attention-grabbing and non-invasive content. That might sound like a challenging balance to achieve, but brands have been doing it since the launch of Vine and Instagram video. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more effective ways brands are accomplishing this.
Don’t Rely on Audio
Obviously the biggest difference between Facebook’s video ads and traditional videos is the lack of sound. Unless the viewer clicks or taps on the video, the audio won’t play. This might not be an issue now, but your videos shouldn’t always depend on sound to create value for the viewer.
The Food Network, for example, has done a great job of achieving this through quick, informative videos on Instagram. The company provides value through it’s short how-to videos, from general kitchen how-tos to creating a new twist on an old recipe. Each video relies on imagery, not sound, to pull in the viewer. And anyone who needs more information can visit the link included in each video.
Create Exclusive Content
Another thing marketers will want to remember is that if video ads go live to the public, anyone who doesn’t want to view your ads can quickly scroll past them in News Feed. If you’re cross-posting content, chances are most people have already seen it. What’s stopping someone from doing scrolling on by if the video you shared can also be viewed on YouTube, Vine, or your website?
If you’re going to invest the time, energy, and budget required to create a video ad, then it had better be something that people can’t get anywhere else. Chef and best-selling author Jamie Oliver turns his 15-second videos into commercials for his TV show Jamie’s Money Saving Meals. Although the network likely airs its own promos for the show, he could instead share some behind-the-scene action from the taping or parts of segments that haven’t aired in traditional commercials.
Focus on Customer Experience
And finally, don’t forget why you’re creating the ad. Yes, advertisements are meant to reach an end sales goal, but your customers don’t want to be sold a product — they want an experience. As a consumer, it’s hard to escape sales gimmicks and promotions; they’re everywhere from billboards and magazines, to the clothes people are wearing. Sell them an experience. And what’s a better way to do so than through video?
Brands like Red Bull, Nike, and BMW always seem to evoke excitement, success, and adventure in their ads. By focusing on triggering an emotion rather than an action, all three have had wildly successful campaigns. In fact, Red Bull and Nike are featured on the Unruly Viral Video Chart’s top 1,000 Instagram videos.
You don’t have to wait for Facebook to roll out video ads to begin utilizing these tips. As we mentioned, videos are already being turned into ads and a lot of consumers are responding positively. Just look at some of the metrics on the videos highlighted above. Advertising has evolved a lot thanks to social media, and it’ll likely continue to do so. The best thing you can do is experiment and accept feedback.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.