Five Reasons Facebook Wants You To Adopt A Video First Strategy (And Why You Should!)

Five Reasons Facebook Wants You To Adopt A Video First Strategy (And Why You Should!)

One of the big buzzwords of the last decade has been “Mobile First” — apps like Instagram (quickly bought by Facebook for $1b) didn’t even launch a website, and in this guest post, Director at Evolve Social DAvid Wesson explores five reasons why ‘video first’ is so important to the social media giant.

In a Presentation recently at Social Media Week London, Facebook explained why they have now moved beyond thinking about mobile first to concentrating on being “Video First”. Which is not surprising given their 800 per cent annual video growth rate, growing from one billion to eight billion views from 2015 to 2016.

  • Mobile video is inherently different to video for TV

The twist is about figuring out how to make video work on mobile, because it’s different from the channels that came before it. (i.e TV, Desktop PC). Facebook has worked out that on average in the mobile newsfeed people spend an average of 1.7 seconds scanning each article as opposed to 2.5 per post on desktop.

As a result, thinking in a traditional 30-second TVC mindset simply won’t now cut it in today’s social mobile marketing landscape, and brands need to think differently when it comes to using video as part of their content strategy.

The challenge for marketers is how to grab the mobile obsessed consumer and make them take note of your brand, lean forward and push them into action by swiping on your brand notification or pressing play on the latest clip.

  • We now live in a Video First world that demands new rules

Facebook summarised how to adapt by advocating a series of news feed proofing concepts for your mobile video content: capture attention quickly.

Brands now need to be ‘super short’ to capture attention. Facebook research has shown that 65 per cent of people on Facebook who watch videos to three seconds will then stick around to watch 10 seconds, making it vitally important to hook people in those first three seconds.

Design for sound off: Whilst original TV ads are put together with a great idea, strategy and proposition, when the sound isn’t on it’s really hard to understand what the main message is. As a result, any videos not designed for having the sound off will suffer from a lack of comprehension and your intended audience will simply switch their attention elsewhere.

Frame your Visual Story: TV screens and wide screens are typically in a 16:9 ration whereas a mobile phone is deep and long so there are a lot of pixels not being used. That’s why we need to think about cropping things when they are square and picking the right frame out of the story we are trying to tell.

Be more Playful: While humour is not an end in itself, marketers adopting a Video First strategy need to move beyond communicating pure product benefits, and start connecting with consumers at a core psychic level. For example, the Buzzfeed watermelon stunt had 85,000 people watching to see how many rubber bands it would take to explode.

  • Rethinking your creative approach for video adopting creative

Follow the example of this McDonalds Brazil Drive-Thru Ad, made up of a series of clever little story vignettes that keeps you guessing as opposed to the traditional story with a beginning a middle and an end.

  • Video is blossoming in the funnel

Most importantly for brands, you can also use video to bring products to life and drive interaction at the lower end of the funnel with new ad units such as carousel which are designed specifically with this in mind.

This example below from Target Style is synced so you can follow the woman as she walks across the screen. Very clever and interactive.


  • The future of video is more active

One of the things Facebook is noticing is the way we are looking at video, and the way we are interacting with it is changing to be a more participatory role; the premise being that by encouraging people to interact with video they will get the full benefits.

One of the ways this is starting to happen already is with 360 video and Virtual Reality and this example from the 2016 Facebook Awards shows how visitors to a Salvador Dali exhibition get to experience it in a whole new way that was never possible until now.

The Wrap

Moving your content strategy to a Video First perspective can be a coming home for brands that have been adept at mainstream television advertising.

Rather than providing a one-way passive video blast, providing your target audiences with a lean forward experience, which is active and engaging with playful video formats that are made for mobile and social newsfeed, then your chances of campaign success are far higher.

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