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3 Essential Tips for Running Video Campaigns on Social Platforms

Building an audience takes time. Running video campaigns on social platforms has become one of the best ways to reach customers, and while Facebook is the overall favorite child, other platforms can be a great strategic addition. Here's how to succeed with a multi-platform strategy.

  1. Know the Landscape: The Differences Are Crucial

When choosing which social platforms to publish to, the same marketing philosophy that goes for display, print and TV still holds true.

"If your demographic is on that social network, then it makes sense to invest in video," says Lea Kozin, vice president of marketing and partner outreach for 360 and VR content agency Holor. "I see way too many brands trying to be everywhere at the same time even though a lot of social media marketers have been advocating against that for years. It's ineffective and it comes across as insincere."

The volume of video content produced means both organic and paid placement spots need to be fine-tuned to grab eyeballs. A key part of that is being sincere or authentic.

B47 created a series of Facebook video ads for Amazon. The ads used limited text and were stylistically similar to a TV ad.

"Come across in a genuine way and people want to promote you," adds Kevin Maude, CEO for video production house B47 Studios.

When social ads connect with the audience, people will share them, post comments, and take action, all of which is good news for brands and marketers.

"When we were doing stuff for [start-up] Penta.tech, lists seem to work really well," says Maude, meaning videos like "Top 10 Things to Make You More Tech-Savvy" or "7 Must-Have Ideas for Christmas Presents."

Writing engaging titles like "Hysterical incident of the man at the red light," uploading quality thumbnails, taking note of trending YouTube keywords, and creating detailed metadata helped B47 boost eyeballs. Even so, it was slow going.

"Now, we're still building an audience even though we haven't published content since June. It takes a long time to pick up," Maude notes.

Another variable to consider is how the video's length.

"Most people we are talking to lately want a longer message," Maude says. "[They] are looking at anywhere from 90 to 160 seconds." His team then creates 10-second teaser videos for platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram that point to the larger video campaign, spreading the teasers out over a couple weeks.

Length is a subjective measurement online, and the definition of short and long video content can be a moving target. Snapchat and Instagram sell ads that are up to 10 seconds long. Snapchat has what it calls long-form which can be up to 10 minutes. If the brand has an engaging story and viewers want to watch, long-form can work well, especially on Facebook or YouTube says Chris Okroy, social advertising account director for Add3. "But if you are trying to reach new customers, shorter works better," he says.

As for player size, Facebook and Twitter offer a 1200 x 628 landscape option while Instagram is square and Snapchat is a vertical full screen, notes Okroy. Different measurements should translate into different content. Kozin advices against running the same creative everywhere.

"Even if you only tweak a bit of the creative, or the call-to-action at the end, or the running length of the ad, try and differentiate it," she recommends.

  1. Where to Publish: Choose the Best Destination

"In our agency 85 to 90 percent of our dollars are in Facebook and Instagram, with the lion's share on Facebook," says Okroy. "You get better engagement, better click-through rates, better visibility and shareability."

Snapchat is tailored to big brands and entertainment companies, Okroy says. Facebook and Instagram can be bought together, but he doesn't recommend it.

Snapchat offers 10-second vertical ads or horizontal ads up to 10 minutes in length.

"There's a button you can click that will serve an ad to both Facebook and Instagram, but we advise against that because they're totally different platforms, even though they're powered by the same targeting and data. Instagram is more of a passive visual medium where Facebook is a bit more lean-forward."

What about YouTube? Isn't that the online video king? It might get the most viewers, but it's not the favorite of video marketers. For brands that use it,  creating descriptive titles and tagging videos with key words will help SEO rankings. Inserting cards—ads within videos that direct viewers to a specific URL—can cross-pollinate and drive traffic from one platform to another and build an audience, says Kozin. For visual brands she recommends creating 360-degree video content because it drives more than 25 times the engagement of standard video.

Twitter also gets mixed reactions from video marketing professionals. While Twitter has suffered from slow ad sales lately, Kozin suggests it could be a good place to stand out since there's not a lot of video competition.

Here's a quick breakdown on platforms: Facebook has scale, as 79 percent of online Americans are on it, and it offers demographic data for targeting. Instagram is a more lean-back environment that has the advantage of using parent company Facebook's ad-tech. Snapchat and Instagram are focused on millennials. Snapchat and Twitter-owned live broadcasting app Periscope are starting to roll-out more advertising opportunities. YouTube is a pure video platform where viewers go for information or entertainment, and there's less social interaction. The clean graphic design of some platforms is an appealing contrast to Facebook's clutter.

  1. The Scrolling Personality

"80-90 percent of traffic on Facebook and Instagram is on mobile," Okroy says. "So you have to think when you're scrolling through, can you get someone to stop?"

Grabbing attention is critical—and challenging.

"The constant with video is you really live and die by the first five seconds," Kozin says. "Get to your point quickly and make it very engaging right off the bat. If your product is B2C or it's skewing younger, you want to take advantage of the more creative tools in the App Store that are low-cost or even free." She recommends Magic Video by PicsArt and Apple iMovie, as well as the creative tools built into Snapchat.

One big mistake is using lots of text to get around the audio-off playback on some platforms. Facebook encourages marketers to use less text on-screen, saying doing so drives higher views.

Finally, one last bit of critical and often forgotten advice: "Make sure your landing page works, is optimized for mobile, and your site is up and running," Kozin says. There's no worse way to lose the audience than sending them on a wild goose chase.

Got it? Here's a ten-second wrap up: Define the desired demographic; find which mobile platforms they use; and create fine-tuned sincere video messaging with clear imagery, little text, and perhaps sound. Drive viewers between platforms to boost views; and use metadata, titling and custom thumbnails to help discoverability. Create a variety of content, delivered in installments, and then see what works best. And remember, building an audience takes time.

Nadine Krefetz's article first appeared on OnlineVideo.net

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