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Best Practices for the Era of Social Video

It’s no surprise to hear that video advertising is in the midst of a massive growth spurt. eMarketer predicts US advertisers will invest more than $15 billion in video ads in 2018, an increase of more than 16% over 2017. One key reason for video’s rapid rise is the surging popularity of social video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. A 2018 IAB study found that half of brand marketers and media buyers plan to spend more on social media video in the next 12 months. But as advertisers invest more time and money into social video, it’s important that they continue to optimize their approach, particularly as competition heats up. What are some video advertising tips marketers should keep in mind for the most popular social platforms? Below are some best practices.

YouTube is All About Mobile
One of the reasons for social media’s rapid rise is that the experiences are often built specifically with mobile devices in mind. This is particularly true for YouTube, where one recent investigation found that 60% of videos on the platform are watched on mobile devices. This means that advertisers need to optimize their video content for a mobile experience with shorter video titles, mobile-friendly video thumbnails, and the use of YouTube’s featured content option.

Facebook Users Like Silent Mode
When it comes to content on Facebook, the newsfeed continues to be the center of the consumption experience. While this browsing format is perfect for users, it also means that video marketers need to quickly grab viewers’ attention as they scroll. That’s why more video marketers on Facebook are focusing on videos with no sound. One study found that 85% of videos on the platform are consumed with no audio. “Sound is still an option [on Facebook], but it’s not required,” said Rye Clifton, director of experience at GSD&M in an interview with Digiday. “If you can make something compelling without needing people to turn the audio on, you’re ahead of people who are not thinking that way.” While it’s still a good idea for marketers to include audio in their video ads, they should also focus on non-auditory cues like subtitles, visuals and charts to keep viewers engaged.

Give an Insider’s Perspective on Instagram
Instagram, much like Facebook, is another social platform that’s seen dramatic growth over the past few years. Instagram’s various video distribution tools, including video ads, Stories and IGTV, offer a perfect platform for brands to tell their story to real, organic fans. Because viewers have to specifically search out the accounts they want to follow, Instagram video tends to attract a more motivated group of followers than those who engage with brands on other social platforms. Instagram advertisers who succeed on Instagram use video to give their fans the inside perspective, whether that’s behind-the-scenes content, Q&A sessions, or limited “flash sales” for retail brands, among other strategies.

Keep It Short on Twitter
Twitter is a platform that’s all about consuming short, quick bites of information. Unsurprisingly, this also applies to video advertising on the platform. A recent study by Hubspot found that the optimal length for a Twitter video was :45 seconds. Still longer than Instagram, but shorter than the optimal length on both Facebook and YouTube.

Social video continues to grow in popularity with both consumers and advertisers. But as competition ramps up in the social video space, it’s more important than ever that marketers optimize their content strategy for each respective platform. It’s this combination of great creative insights, coupled with the growing scalability of video across a variety of screens and devices, that is likely to keep social video at the center of the advertising conversation in the years to come.