Earlier in May, Facebook announced plans to allow companies to post video ads. According to AdWeek, Facebook Video Ads will likely span across users’ News Feeds, and will be muted by default (users will have to actively click on the ad for sound).
There’s little doubt that online and mobile are the future homes of advertising. As more and more people migrate away from traditional ad outlets, such as TV, marketers have been following suit. This recent study found that almost 60 percent of small businesses plan to increase their time on social media. In addition, approximately a quarter of small businesses are cutting back on traditional marketing methods —which means social media is starting to replace traditional marketing!
On the surface, it seems as if videos on Facebook are the next logical step.
Video marketing is a powerful force —one minute of video is reportedly worth 1.8 million words. Additionally, 90 percent of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website said they found video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions. With statistics as good as these, it’s no wonder Twitter bought Vine.
Despite the impressive numbers, however, my question is this: will the ads cost brands their followers due to the nature of Facebook? 38 percent of Facebook users plan to cut back time on the site, and a recent Pew Study found that teens are beginning to view Facebook more as a chore. If businesses increase their presence (as studies show they plan to do), will Facebook simply turn into an endless billboard?
Maybe, maybe not.
For example, several big companies are reportedly getting involved in the video ad trial process, including Ford, American Express and Coca-Cola. These companies are large enough to have the dollars to invest in marketing research. They’re advertising pros, and I expect their video ads will be successful.
On the other hand, small businesses should seriously question whether to do the same. The general rule of Facebook is too much content is annoying, but too little is unmemorable. A video ad is a chunky piece of content, and you’ll risk swaying too far to the annoying side.
In the end, marketers will only be able to judge these ads’ effectiveness after the trial run in June. If you do decide to take advantage of the new advertising possibility, several basic video marketing rules still apply:
- Be authentic: One of the benefits small businesses have is the ability to convey personality. Your video ads shouldn’t be over-the-top flashy because it may come across as insincere. Many small businesses today can get by with just an iPhone.
- Be professional: If you do go the iPhone route, or any other route for that matter, your videos still need to look good. The script should be concise (especially because Facebook ads will only be 15 seconds), and there should be minimal background noise.
- Be actionable: Make sure you end your videos by actually telling your watchers to do something. That doesn’t have to be a full-on pitch for your business, but it can be a link to find out more information or a phone number to call. You can also have a link to your mailing list flash across the bottom of the screen.
- Be connected: One great way to add a touch of credibility to your video ads is to include an expert opinion. Attend trade shows and conferences with your handy smartphone so that you can film a quick quote from a respected industry thought leader.
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About the author: Joseph Havey is the Director of Social Media for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He is a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter, and writes for the school newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.