August 17, 2017

by Nigel Hollis

So a couple of weeks ago I sounded off about Facebook’s plans to enable sound automatically in its New Feed. I suspect my reaction is not that unusual and that advertisers still need to think about how their video is going to communicate without sound.

It seems odd to be writing about how to make silent videos more effective at a time when some of us are learning how to use verbal commands with devices like Alexa, but billions of people are still spend time watching video on Facebook. This is a huge opportunity for advertisers if they can tailor their video to engage people’s attention quickly and still deliver a compelling impression without the help of voiceover, music or sound logos.

Last year Digiday reported that of the 8 billion daily video views on Facebook 85 percent were viewed with the sound off. And my suspicion is that this proportion is going to hold good even now. Turning the sound off in the app may not be easy but after the first unpleasant surprise blast, my bet is that many people will be motivated to figure it out. What evidence do I have that this will be the case? Well, funnily enough it comes from the nice people at Facebook. Early last year a post by Facebook Business stated,

“In mobile-feed environments, people prefer having the choice to opt in to sound. Our research found that when feed-based mobile video ads play loudly when people aren’t expecting it, 80% react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser.”

But, of course, that research is over a year out of date now, things must have changed right?

So what do advertisers need to do? First off, not simply running your TV execution is the News Feed. Our research finds which a cheap option it is risky, many repurposed ads simply bomb. And guess what? Facebook Creative Shop agrees that ad recall is stronger when the creative is tailored specifically for mobile and are busy helping advertisers turn TVCs into effective mobile videos. Better yet, advertisers should consider whether to use sound at all and create soundless video bearing in mind these three findings from our research:

Grab attention immediately.

You have less than three seconds to engage people’s attention. What is going to be the cue or trigger that gets people to stop scrolling and look at your video? It could actually be that your brand is compelling enough to get that attention on its own.

Work with the mobile mindset

With sound off people pay more attention to visuals so work hard to maintain interest. Those overhead videos from Tasty have a horrid fascination in part because they are speeded up and you know the pay-off is coming soon.

Use captions wisely

Facebook’s internal tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12 percent but do not reply on them for communication, make sure the action delivers the impression and features the brand.

Whatever you do with your video, remember, people appreciate brevity, keep it short. And if that sounds like a huge challenge and you are not sure your video is going to work well, remember, we can help check it out ahead of time. Meanwhile, what digital videos get your attention – in a good or bad way? Please share your thoughts.

 

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