It has been long understood that social media spans all generations. The misconception that social media is strictly millennial-focused has been disproved repeatedly with every new platform or app attracting users in all age groups. Boomers and millennials alike are sharing content, liking posts and engaging with social media daily. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, seven out of ten US internet users will interact with social media. 1
As social media reaches saturation and growth slows, the available paid media tactics are rapidly changing, with social video making huge strides recently. Social video combines the high reach of TV with the advanced targeting capabilities of digital, and with its recent growth, we believe social video should be considered as a possible extension to an advertiser’s TV or online video campaigns for additional reach.
Video serves as a means to visualize a story, so it’s no surprise that Facebook adopted paid video tactics a few years ago, and other social outlets quickly followed. From April to November 2015, the number of videos viewed every single day on Facebook grew from 4 billion to 8 billion. 2
While agencies are now planning and buying video holistically across TV, digital and social channels, the success metrics for each channel vary. It is important to consider this when comparing channel performance within a campaign. To better gauge and compare success, Harmelin has classified video into the following categories: Forced, Voluntary and Active.
While each media channel has its benefits and limitations, social video largely falls into the category of Voluntary Viewing. This positions social video squarely between tactics such as standard pre-roll and long form custom brand content, which makes it a very flexible format that can serve both branding and engagement goals.
In fact, research shows that there is higher recall for voluntary views versus forced views. The same study also found that consumers are two times more likely to remember the ad when seen in a social environment.2 So although consumers may spend less time with social video, it can have a greater impact.
There are many factors to consider within social video to see whether it is a potential fit for an advertising campaign. The most important aspect to consider is impact. Harmelin recommends the following criteria for impactful social video content:
- Keep it short and put the hook in the first three seconds. Your message should combat internet clutter and look to grab the user’s attention as soon as possible. The average attention span for internet users is approximately eight seconds, so attracting attention quickly should be taken into consideration.
- Use vertical video to take advantage of the full size of a mobile screen, since social media is most frequently consumed on mobile devices.
- Include captions with strong headlines to capture the users’ attention. In a Harmelin-conducted A/B test, we found that videos with captions showed a 90% lift in video completion rate, as compared to those that did not include captions.
- Test multiple headlines and videos to ensure your message is resonating with your audience at optimal levels.
There are some campaigns that are especially strong candidates for the inclusion of social video. Specifically, we recommend including social video to reach the elusive millennials – a target that is steadily decreasing their time spent with traditional TV. While TV remains the preferred platform for millennials to view video, social video can provide a unique reach, achieve share-ability, and utilize peer influence to impact brand perception.
In conclusion, for both linear and digital video campaigns, Harmelin Media believes it is essential to consider social video as a reach platform no matter what age group is being targeted. Not only does video provide a visual connection, it also adds education value that will aid a campaign with high consumer impact and increased brand recall within a targeted audience at scale.
1 eMarketer US Social Network Usage StatPack 2016
2 Oracle – The Guide to Social Media Marketing