Social media giant Facebook has shared some simple creative tips for brands and agencies on how to make their TV ads ready for mobile.
Using it’s PockeTVC (pocket television commercial) ad model, Facebook’s Creative Shop has focused on five key principles to help advertisers adapt their existing TV assets and storylines to fit the best practices for mobile video:
Brand and message
Make sure your brand gets credit and your message is delivered.
- Include your brand early. The earlier you can place your brand in the video and the clearer you can make the message, the better. Many mobile videos underperform because the message is unclear, the branding isn’t distinct or the viewer simply doesn’t know what to do next.
- Remember branding is more than just a logo. What other aspects of your brand are iconic or easily recognisable – a font, a colour, an aesthetic? Use them early and often.
- Reinforce the campaign message visually. Focus on communicating information without words. Use graphics, motion and explanatory visuals to convey your message.
- Set the scene quickly. Most TV commercials spend a long time setting up context. On mobile, it’s important to capture attention immediately and plunge people directly into the drama.
Typography and graphics
Clarify your message using text and graphics instead of voice-over.
- Create visual interest. The original TV commercial for the new Camaro SS was almost two minutes long and didn’t hit the main message until 69 seconds in. For the mobile video ad, we introduced the product up front. It also added a visual countdown and infographics to call attention to the car’s features.
- Context is everything. To make your message meaningful, get people oriented quickly. When running a campaign for 11/11 – the largest mobile shopping day in China – we needed to inform people who might be unfamiliar with the event. It led with a clear opening message in multiple languages: “The World’s Biggest Online Shopping Event.”
- Make a cover for your story. This is a simple way to add words or context that would probably be delivered via audio in a TV commercial. For an Alzheimer’s Research ad, we got people to tune in with a title card advertising that the spot was narrated by a well-known celebrity.
Crops and ratios
How can you frame your asset to make the most of the content and space?
- Optimise 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 three to nine-point lift for vertical videos compared to horizontal ones. We recommend a 4:5 ratio for Instagram and 2:3 for Facebook feed.
- Play with grids and stacked images. Sure, the mobile screen is small, but there’s so much you can do with it. Try splitting the screen to show two or more parallel storylines at once. For a Beck’s lager ad, we used split screens to juxtapose hero product shots alongside the story to deliver more visual drama and rhythm.
- Be clear with your benefit. Lead with a single focused message around what you’re offering. Hone in visually on your product or promotion.
Deliver your full message within an optimal timeframe for mobile.
- Play with shorter spots. What can you communicate in an extra short time frame? Focus on the key takeaway or benefit. We have seen great success with six-second spots in feed and 15-second spots in stream.
- Start with your most intriguing frame. Select one or two key frames to bring your message together effectively and in less time. Attention on mobile is an action – be sure to reward it.
- Use several short vignettes with the same end reveal. This is a punchy alternative to longer TV commercials. If your TV spot has a lot of good material that can’t be easily condensed, try splitting it up into a mini-series of short spots that end with the same clear message.
Story arcs and remixes
Experiment with new ways to tell a story beyond the traditional narrative arc.
- Play with speed. The speed with which we consume content on mobile has increased. People are mesmerised by speedy visuals, so challenge what’s possible – how much can they read or understand in a short amount of time?
- Start with the end. Flip your story around to deliver the message quicker. What if you started with the main point?
- Create a rhythm or a ‘heartbeat’. Creating visual rhythm or repetition can give your video the same addictive backbeat as sound often provides in a TV commercial.