Home On TV & Video When Is It Best To Use Social Video In A Media Plan?

When Is It Best To Use Social Video In A Media Plan?


On TV And Video” is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video.

Today’s column is written by Sarah Wilson, associate media director at DWA Media.

By 2021, 1 million minutes of video content will move over the internet every second, according to Cisco. That’s 17,000 hours of video – every single second.

Today, most brands realize that they need to get with the times and build an action plan around video. The best place to start is at the beginning: with strategy.

The main objective of any strategy should be to raise awareness and drive engagement with the brand. How to best do that with video? Well, since social channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram house most video assets – or will eventually – social should be key for capitalizing off in-platform engagement and creating custom audiences.

The great thing about social video is that you can create audiences of people who viewed a video, completed a certain percentage or viewed to completion. Marketers can sequentially send tailored messaging based on how consumers engaged or did not engage with the initial video. Many clients are drawn to social because of the niche targeting and scale each platform offers.

Most lower-funnel campaigns need awareness campaigns running in tandem to scale effectively and gain audience learnings. Social advertising can address all parts of the purchase funnel: Marketers can showcase high-impact units, such as video or promoted content, to pull users into the funnel, while also reaching users closer to conversion with downloads and offer messaging.

In my experience, some brands overestimate their brand recognition and focus solely on lower-funnel goals when a branding or engagement campaign is needed to build consideration. Marketers can build custom audience pools from engagement activity with social video coupled with their brand’s landing page activity to retarget users.

Creative and measurement hurdles

The biggest challenges remain around what content to put forward. Creative is often a huge hurdle. Video assets can be tricky to come by for digital campaigns in general. But to be effective on social, even pre-roll and TV assets should be tweaked. To tackle the creative challenge, marketers should not just repurpose ads and try to jam them into social.

Marketers should think about the medium and the audience who is consuming ads in social.


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Consider the difference between the YouTube viewing experience and the Facebook feed. In the former environment, users will likely have audio turned on because they’ve come to YouTube to watch videos. Their attention is on viewing, not scrolling. Facebook users may engage with video more passively, so creative should be able to stand on its own without the audio component. Keep in mind the audience might be watching units while at work or in a quiet place, so marketers might even consider captioning ads.

Shorter is sweeter. Rather than pushing out a 30-second spot, try an eight-second video ad. Attention span is limited in social environments due to constantly refreshed competing content, so marketers must grab their audience while they can. If traditional “video” assets are not available, designing GIF-like formats with motion that can capture, engage and make a salient point is an alternative.

Brands that have succeeded with social video often make use of a recognizable feature or figure to capture the attention of an audience or use leveraged clips of longer video units. For instance, last year Mr. Clean successfully teased its Super Bowl spot with short clips in social environments. For social video campaigns for B2B tech brands, it’s important not to launch into descriptions of products without first pre-educating the user on the brand. B2B can be complex and requires storytelling, just like B2C.

Marketers must also consider the audience. For B2B campaigns, the ultimate buyer or decision-maker may not be as likely to see social video content as someone researching the product or influencing the decision-making process.

Marketers will also need to balance measurement of social video against pre-roll or TV metrics, which have much higher completion rates and sometimes different buying models for a “view.” Consumers engage with social video differently than they do with other types of video, so expectations for performance should be adjusted accordingly. The video completion rate of a 30-second ad on social will come nowhere close to the video completion rate of a 30-second ad on connected TV.

But, if marketers spend the time to consider the audience, they’ll land on a measurement framework that proves social video’s value and impact on the end goal.

Follow DWA (@dwaTechMedia) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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