The Content Imperative
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Why video is the future of paid social campaigns

| 29 May 2015

Periscope – the latest offering from Twitter, which launched on 26 March – is a live streaming app created by the social media giant, and has had a staggering one million-plus sign-ups in just ten days.

This may seem like a surprisingly large number for such a short space of time, but as Facebook announced at the beginning of the year users are actually uploading 75% more videos compared to a year previously. So, whilst video isn’t exactly new, its popularity is certainly experiencing a surge of late – and this is partly down to how easy it now is to make and share; meaning that paid social campaigns can certainly benefit from this development.

One example of the new easy ways to incorporate video into social campaigns is with the Autoplay video service offered by Facebook last year. Autoplay allows for users and businesses to upload video directly to the social site – as well as other sites like Twitter – without the added task of initially embedding the video via YouTube. This new, streamlined process also comes with better tracking and analytics algorithms.

Facebook took their new, vamped-up video offering one step further by also allowing brands to embed a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of videos, to help usher viewers further down the sales funnel. Twitter, on the other hand, has made it possible for advertisers to attach video cards onto promoted tweets. This in-line video feature – plus the above mentioned live-streaming app, Periscope – shows how this social site is also making video easier to use.

So what conclusions can be drawn from these developments? Mainly that video is growing to become a vital marketing tool that paid social campaigns cannot afford to ignore.

The next question to ask, then, is how can businesses leverage these new social video offerings to maximise the impact of their paid social campaigns? Well, first and foremost they need to research who their audience is and how video can be used on different channels and networks to adequately engage them.

For example, on Facebook video tends to work best when concise – also preferably video that can still be understood when played without sound, as Autoplay does automatically in a user’s news feed. This means that the images need to be engaging from the off, encouraging viewers to not only watch to the end but actively press the button to receive the sound as well.

Looking to Twitter, and video suddenly needs to have ‘extreme relevance.’ As a site specialising in sharing news and current events in real-time, the video shared obviously also needs to be current, reactive and preferably related to trending topics. One of the most famous examples of this is the tweet sent by Oreo during the 2013 Super Bowl power-cut.

One of the key things for both these sites, however, is also the ability to offer and promote lots of videos in quick succession. Video is being described as ‘snackable’ media that brands must offer to consumers.

The technology available to brands looking to embrace video is extensive as well; various platforms and ad networks allow for businesses to easily begin video-based programmatic paid social campaigns. Also, smartphones have made it unbelievably easy for businesses to create video as and when they need.

GoPro (the camera specialists), for example, advertise this new ease of video creation by focusing its social activity on user-generated mini-movies. Users are simply given a camera and told to go for it – no need for directors, producers or camera operators. Traditional methods of video production are now somewhat obsolete.

Similar to other ad campaigns, paid social video also flourishes when it connects with viewers’ emotions. Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign is a perfect example of this; due to its emotive approach to a sensitive issue, the video campaign has received 50 million-plus YouTube hits.

For brands looking to deliver shareable and engaging content with the use of programmatic campaigning, video, it seems, is providing the answer.