Posts Tagged‘Social Video’

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The Social Video Guide: key features of major platforms

With most social media platforms extending the length of videos permitted, and/or developing their video advertising capability, it’s becoming much easier for advertisers and creators to produce content that can be used across platforms. However the small differences in length, auto-play, advertising metrics, and audiences, mean that we have to continue to distinguish between them, and tailor create content.  Here we give you an overview of some of the key differences between the big platforms. 


A key feature across most platforms is that they auto play videos (except YouTube).  This means you really need to grab attention in the first few seconds. Especially on Facebook and Instagram, where audio has to be cued manually with a click. The worst mistake here would be to use voiceover in the first few seconds of a video that most people will never hear. Conversely, with Twitter and Snapchat, we can use visual and audio to immediately grab viewers’ attention.

Let’s look at four platforms – FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat – in more detail.

Video on Facebook

Video publishers have indicated that a huge proportion of views on Facebook are happening without the audio ever being on, up to 85% of their views.

When creating video for Facebook it is advisable that it not only grabs attention without sound, but can be followed to the end without it. This is a new style of video in which arresting visuals are quickly followed by extensive text. And it works! The downside is that releasing the same video content across platforms requires a substantial re-edit, or a complete new film.

In terms of advertising, the tendency towards silent viewing is not affecting user engagement. In fact, although YouTube regularly scores lower costs per view, higher view rates, and high completion rates compared to Facebook, levels of actual engagement are higher on Facebook.

Video on Instagram

In 2016 Facebook-owned Instagram upgraded their video hosting from 15 seconds to 60 seconds; a big shift in the kind of content they are encouraging (advertisers already had this function from January).

Probably this is meant to facilitate the use of the same videos on Instagram and Facebook. Considering Instagram’s artistic bent, their long term strategy has been a slow but sure proliferation of ads that don’t upset the user experience. For this reason branded content tends to take a more artistic aesthetic.

When they rolled out their new 60-second ad format in January to a few carefully chosen companies, the first client was Warner Brothers with a new film trailer. It seems the focus will stay on visual communication, and the platform will avoid Facebook’s text heavy silent video formula. Indeed Instagram said in a statement that their increase in video duration for creative would “give ads a more cinematic feel.”

Successful video ads on Instagram do tend to have a more TV/Cinema approach than the info-graphic one on Facebook. Like this Banana Republic ad.

Video on Twitter

Twitter too has pushed big developments in its video capability, upgrading to 140-second video, from its measly 6 second Vine.

Video tweets have increased by over 50% since the beginning of 2016, and it’s clear Twitter wants to find parity with the other big platforms, both to users and advertisers. These welcome changes mean that it is easier to re-use video content across networks like Facebook and Twitter. The caveat is that Twitter’s auto-play function comes with auto-sound, making it slightly different product than the silent Facebook video.

Twitter is also now offering pre-roll ads that will play before premium publisher video content. This a direct challenge to YouTube pre-roll advertising that could level the playing field.

Video on Snapchat

Snapchat took real time video sharing to the next level with its ten second clips that vanish after one view. The two other big features are Stories and Discover. Stories is an amalgamation of your video clips which reaches your followers all at once. Discover is a stream of branded clips that a user can swipe through. Brands can use both of these functions to communicate with their audiences. Particularly the 13-25 year old audiences that make up Snapchat’s core.

Some great ways that brands are using Snapchat include; behind the scenes clips, product sneak peeks, offers, new team member intros. An innovative clothing company called Wet Seal allowed a 16-year-old blogger to run their Snapchat for two days and received 9,000 new followers.

The app is the fastest and easiest video tool available to your organisation, so if part of your market is that early twenties group, you need to pay attention.

Below is an infographic from Marketing Land which details the video features of the platforms we’ve discussed.

Infographic video features on social media platforms

What is Social Video blog post thumbnail image

What Is Social Video?

What is Social Video? Image of iPad with social app folder

Social video is to long form content, what twitter was to blogging ten years ago. 140 characters eradicated the need for organisations to communicate via carefully crafted blogs posts. Now the big social media players are making it easy to communicate instantly with video hungry audiences. Once the realm of high budget marketing departments, video is now the common tongue.

Why and How to create Social Videos?

The players change but the game remains the same. When the online landscape changes its easy to be swept up in a tide of new jargon, but remember as marketers we keep doing the same thing. Reaching out to our audiences wherever they are and speaking their language. With video making up 74% of online traffic by 2017[1], and the big social platforms all hosting video, its clear where your attention should be.

Our objectives as marketers don’t change either with social video. Whether it’s brand awareness, recruitment, or explaining your service/product, it can all be achieved with social video. And because the distribution channels are taken care of, we can focus on creating the content.

There are some key characteristics of social video that will help you separate it from your broader video strategy.

First of all we are talking exclusively about short form content. With the exclusion of YouTube, social media platforms are specialising in bite size video, reflecting the short attention span of mobile users; Snapchat at 10 seconds, Twitter at 30 and Instagram at 15. This limitation can be a creative asset for marketers, forcing us to say something meaningful quickly, and save the detail for our long form outlets, where user engagement will be higher[2].

Social video also lets go of the industry’s hang up over viral, and embraces a more targeted, disposable type of content. Social video is about short-term wins, and reaching out to specific audiences immediately. Taking weeks to shoot and edit a video for a ten second Snapchat isn’t worth it. Among other things, user engagement tends to be lower with social video than with long form content[3], so we can’t spend too long creating it.

For medium sized businesses to keep up the necessary high frequency of social video, producing content at the same cost as your flagship video content isn’t feasible. A lot of your social video content can be gleaned or recycled from your wider video marketing efforts. For example B-roll footage, IPhone clips from behind the scenes, or simply re-edited content from your long form video.

Everything we know about the share-ability and engagement of marketing with video is still true. Social video is about short form, focused content, easily prepared and quickly consumed. It’s traditional video marketing letting it’s hair down and feeling impulsive.

To discuss your short form video objectives get in touch with or call us on + 44 (0) 207 729 5978







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