Five years ago, companies would come to our agency with a fairly simple demand: “I need a social media video.”
To fulfill this request, we’d identify the customer’s target demographic, develop appealing creative for that group, and deliver a single video for the brand to publish on Facebook and potentially Instagram.
Due to the emergence of Snapchat, Instagram Stories, and a revamped ad platform on Facebook, creating one piece of content for video campaigns is no longer an effective strategy. Modern consumers have become masterful ad-skippers. According to a Mirriad study, 90% of consumers regularly click the “skip” button when marketing videos invade their browsing experience. Unfortunately for marketers, outlets like Snapchat and Instagram Stories only make ad-skipping easier.
Consumers have turned to social media platforms because they want to receive news, entertainment and information that is specifically tailored to their interests. Along the way, they’ve learned to completely ignore pieces of content and messages that don’t immediately grab their attention.
Dozens of social platforms exist and each one features a unique group of people with unique desires. It’s foolish to believe that posting the same video everywhere will drive results. If agencies and brands want their content to be seen, they need to make it fit into this highly selective climate.
The Bite-Sized Approach
Rather than distribute a single video throughout every social media platform, modern agencies should instead embrace a fractionalized approach in which the “big idea” (or the backbone) of a campaign is custom-tailored to each site.
This means strategically creating several videos instead of one big video — something my agency recently did for Red Bull. To promote the upcoming Red Bull Air Race in San Diego, we filmed stunt pilot Kirby Chambliss zipping around the sky while skydivers in wingsuits performed aerobatics around him. After shooting with over a dozen cameras, we cut the video into seven unique deliverables that would each fit seamlessly into a social outlet: Facebook, Instagram, Instagram Stories, YouTube and Red Bull’s website.
Video marketing has evolved into an entirely different beast and we have to constantly adapt to stay relevant. Here are three principles that help our agency create successful campaigns in this new climate:
1. Urgency. TIME Magazine declared that goldfish now have longer attention spans than humans. Keep this top of mind when creating videos for social media, as you’ll have between half a second and five seconds to capture users’ attention.
Work hard to hook viewers with stunning imagery within the first few frames of the video, but no matter how tempting it is, don’t lure them in by flashing something irrelevant on the screen. Instead, try having the first few seconds of an ad provide a visual teaser of the best, most relevant part of the video.
For example, if you’re promoting a direct-to-consumer fashion line, starting your spot with a time-lapse unboxing segment will be much more engaging than simple product shots. After you’ve hooked the audience, you can cut away to the explanation of how your product or service works.
Movie studios, in particular, have taken note of the way digital audiences view content. Many promotional trailers — like this one for Jason Bourne — now broadcast brief ads for themselves before the actual trailer begins.