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4 best practices for making mobile video work for your brand

When it comes to mobile video advertising, most marketers would intuitively think that what matters most is how long a viewer engages with the content. And preferably that content should be viewed right to the end. But new research conducted by MetrixLab* here in South Africa shows that there is no correlation between total average view time and aided brand awareness.
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And while, of course, shorter ads are more likely to be watched in full, there is also no correlation between the length of an ad in the Facebook feed and aided brand awareness. Thus, there are long ads that perform well; and equally, there are short ads that perform well, but ad length and watch duration are not key determinants of success.

So what does drive mobile video ad performance in the Facebook feed? The study, conducted in partnership with Facebook, GroupM and Omnicom in South Africa, shows that showing the brand or product in the first three seconds of an ad is key. But it isn't just about logo displays or simple product shots - to truly resonate, the brand and product should be integrated with the story in a meaningful way.

This illustrates that brands can achieve significant impact and strong consumer response in just a few seconds in a mobile social media feed, provided that it's shown in a way that is relevant, remarkable, likeable and engaging.

From this research, we can derive four best practices that will enable brands to drive the best possible return on investment from mobile video:

  • Show the brand or product early and make the product the star – Ensure that you introduce the brand within the first three seconds of the video and use creative executions to make it the central feature or star of the piece - don’t just simply show the logo.
  • Introduce the message early, but give some time to be understood – Delivering the message early drives brand and message recall. Using concise text to highlight key take-outs can strengthen the message in consumers’ minds.
  • Branding is important, but the audience needs to be engaged with the ads to drive deeper response – To drive Interest and Intent, ads should be on-brand, relevant, remarkable and likeable. Ensuring an ad delivers on these key metrics will prompt a stronger response.
  • You shouldn’t make your audience work too hard to get the message - Be upfront about what the ad is about (your product or brand) and who it is for (the target consumer). Relevance will drive more positive consumer response.

Video is at the heart of our apps and services today because it is an amazingly powerful medium for telling stories. More video is being shared and watched on Facebook than ever before — 100 million hours of video watched every day. Video on Facebook and Instagram works because it is personal and built around connections, conversations and communities. But it's also clear that in this highly curated world we live in, video succeeds or fails within seconds, and those that capture attention early, and then rewards it are the real winners.

*MetrixLab conducted a study for Facebook to understand what drives mobile video ad performance. MetrixLab evaluated 54 mobile videos across 10 categories produced by two prominent South African agency groups. The research showed ads to respondents in an unforced simulated feed environment to try and understand the relationship between view duration and brand impact; as well as the creative attributes that drive video performance.
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About Elizma Nolte

Elizma Nolte is Head of Business Marketing for Sub-Saharan Africa. She is passionate about media, technology and Africa - and finding ways to connect the three for positive change. Before joining the Facebook Africa team, she did so as Country Marketing Manager for Google South Africa and as media entrepreneur, journalist and publisher. She holds a B. Computer Science and BA Honours Journalism from Stellenbosch University, M.Sc Electronic Publishing from City University London and an MBA from INSEAD in France and Singapore.

Read more: Facebook, Elizma Nolte