Driving Performance from Video Content
Something that we’re very focused on at Fifty-Three Six is producing content that drives results for our clients. When we speak about results, we generally don’t mean video views or engagement, we mean conversions or a similar, more tangible metric. Ultimately, we help turn fans into customers. Often, but not always, video is the means in which to achieve that.
As the rise in digital video continues at an exponential rate, brands are adopting to the new distribution platforms available to them. Previously, video was TV. Now, it is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat et al.
Although these are relatively new platforms in the broader scheme of things, their continuing pace of evolution is rapid, to put it mildly. The likes of Twitter and Facebook are nearly incomparable as platforms to what they were 5 years ago.
When I began working in Twitter in 2012, it was predominantly a text based service, actually originating on the premise of SMS, hence the 140 character limit. Now, when I scroll through my Twitter timeline, it is awash with video content.
So, people like to watch videos on their phones. Thus, social platforms give them more video to make it a better experience and ultimately generate more revenue. All is well with the world, right?
The key questions for brands now is how they take this new video opportunity and turn it into a driver for their business. The real benefit of digital video versus TV, for example, is that it is more immediately measurable and targeted. Therein lies opportunity. So as opposed to creating video for the sake of it, how do you produce content specifically for these platforms and ultimately distribute it to drives results?
Tech companies and social platforms want you to be better at producing video. More quality video ultimately equals a better user experience, deeper engagement and more monetizable opportunities.
Thus they are not shy in telling you what works, and what doesn’t. Below is a collection of tips both from the tech companies themselves and learnings from running multiple video & performance campaigns:
GET THEIR ATTENTION
How quickly do you scroll through your timeline or news feed? What makes you stop and watch a video? People are incredibly impatient these days so grabbing their attention at the outset is key.
Hence the recommendation to frontload the first 3-5 seconds of your content with some ‘thumb-stopping creative’ as my ex-colleagues at Twitter would put it. You effectively need to stop people in their tracks as they will be moving at pace! Facebook actually punishes any branding at the outset, so it’s important to get that hook in early.
Depending on your source, 80-90% of us watch video on social platforms with no sound. Hence why having text interspersed in your video can help tell the story and retain people’s attention, even when they watching with no audio.
Similarly, we see an increased completion rate of around 20% when using subtitles in our video content, so that is an important strategy.
TEST ASPECT RATIOS & FORMATS FOR DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
Since Snapchat stories emerged, vertical video has been a trend that has continued to grow, with all other social platforms now embracing the feature. Viewing a video in portrait mode in fullscreen is a much better experience for the user and can help drive scale and conversions for advertisers.
Producing video in 9:16 ratio allows advertisers to extend Facebook campaigns to the rapidly growing Instagram stories and although these are skippable, are a powerful additional strand.
KNOW YOUR GOALS
It’s very important to know what you want from your video campaign before you produce your video. For example, if you’re looking for views or engagement, you may want multiple 60 second videos which enable you to tell a story or produce more emotive content.
On the other hand, if you’re goal is to use video for something like app installs, you should focus on videos that are 15 seconds or less, have your USP in the first 3-5 seconds and include a strong call to action.
GET IT OUT THERE!
Give your content the audience that it deserves. Why produce quality video that drive your business forward and stick it on your YouTube channel where no one will see it? Given the way the Facebook algorithm in particular is set up these days, it is extremely difficult to drive scale organically -- you need to put budget behind content.
The good news is that you can scale to a targeted audience video relatively cheaply but it’s important to look beyond the vanity metric of 3 second views.
CLOSE THE LOOP & RETARGET
The immediate conversion doesn’t have to to happen immediately when you distribute your video content. Don’t think of video views as the end of the journey, think of them as the start of it.. Each high quality video view is a potential new customer.
One of the more powerful functions on Facebook, for example, is to retarget users who have watched at least 10 seconds of your video. This way, you know they have shown a genuine interest in your company or product and have a reasonable level of intent.
Retargeting these users, and indeed building lookalike audiences of them, gives you a very high quality prospect list to engage with your more direct messaging.