22 Jun Optimizing Your Video for Social Media: A How-To Guide
Just when you thought your personality was enough to overcome any shortcomings, the Journal of Neuroscience is here to disappoint you. In a recent study from the renowned publication, researchers discovered that the brain immediately decides how trustworthy a person is based only on his or her face—even without fully perceiving all of the details of the face itself. Translation? First impressions are…well, you get the point. But it seems those impressions happen even faster than we’d like to believe. In marketing, as in life, the truth is no different.
Take video marketing, for instance. As more social platforms (see: Facebook) incorporate embedded video into their site codes, they are being forced (for the purpose of not overwhelming and annoying the users to whom the underlying advertisers are seeking to speak) to incorporate these videos without sound (and to play it automatically upon even a brief mouse-hover). What does this mean for advertisers? It means the time you have to capture your audience’s attention is shorter than it’s ever been before—and that you have to change your tactics. At Axiom, we produce social-ready videos all the time, and here are the tips we’ve found to help your video strategy take off in the digital age.
Shrtr Is Bttr
Sorry, couldn’t resist the wordplay. Here’s how auto-play on social sites works. Let’s take Facebook as an example. Say you’re scrolling through your news feed on your computer. When your mouse lands over an auto-play video, that video will start playing (without sound), and once your mouse leaves the video, it will stop and go back to the start (notice how there’s no clicking involved at any point). Given the average speed at which users scroll through news feeds, then, it’s likely that you only have three seconds or fewer to grab your audience’s attention.
When developing your ideas, then, throw any and all long-form storyboards in the trash. They simply won’t translate to social. Your ideal video will be 5 to 15 seconds long, with enough substance in the first three seconds to both: (1) get a viewer interested to watch more, and (2) convey your message just in case the viewer decides to not watch more.
Charlie Chaplin Rules
That’s a pretty high bar, for sure, but the lesson is important: your video needs to be effective without sound. Some companies have opted for subtitles as an alternative, but this can be tricky, since it has to match both the message and the brand (for a good example of subtitles done in a clever way, check out this campaign from Hotels.com).
Since that can be hard to pull off, focus instead on captive imagery—and remember that people often respond best to human faces, so the more you can incorporate stark images of individuals, the better. No matter what, though, make sure the moving shots you capture are attention-grabbers with high-definition finish and glaring color schemes.
Social users are much more likely to finish watching your content (and then perhaps share it) if it’s funny. So if your brand lends itself toward the lighter side of things, then make sure you’re having fun with the message. One such campaign was undertaken by Geico in its YouTube pre-roll ads, in which, once the user has the option of skipping the ad, the commercials employ a long, drawn-out joke that keeps an audience watching, rather than skipping ahead to their desired material.
Remember, though, that the humor has to match the feel of your brand. It’s easy for users to tell when a company is stretching ideation in order to capture your attention, and if that’s the case, the humor tropes could end up backfiring altogether. We suggest, if you’re unsure whether humor will work, running targeted focus groups with your demographic to see what ideas will play (pun intended) best.
Need short-form video optimized for your social sites? Email Eric Gedrose at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to run research tests or focus groups aimed at your target demographic? Email Mike Reiber at email@example.com.