Creative Director Charlie Bell explores the importance of online video for social advertising.

We had the pleasure of welcoming Facebook Creative Hub experts to do a 2-day training session in our Norloch House offices. And one thing was abundantly clear…


Mobile-first video is essential to your social advertising strategy.


Don’t believe me? Ok, time for some stats…


People gaze 5x longer at video than at static content. (Facebook)


Social media posts that contain video have 48% more views. (Hubspot)


By 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic – 15 times higher than it was in 2017. (Cisco)


80% of all traffic will consist of video by 2021. (Cisco)


79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product than read text on a page.​ (Hubspot)


Youtube is the 2nd most popular website after Google. (Alexa)


6 out of 10 people prefer online videos to live television. (Google)


I could go on… So, what does this mean?


Video is getting shorter. But also longer.

The average runtime Martin Scorsese movies have increased since the 1970s. His latest film The Irishman is his longest film ever. (I’d recommend it although I found age reducing special effects dipping into the Uncanny Valley a bit too much.)



This is a trend among all of Hollywood’s movies. The recent Blade Runner sequel was 47min longer than the original. So, we do have the ability to sit on our bums and watch things for longer.

The same can be said across lots of content types. We consume content faster than ever, but if we find the right content we will engage with it.

A recent video we created in collaboration with VisitScotland ‘Scots Gaelic: Explained’ became their most watched video of last year. Clocking in at 6min 30sec, with the average view duration more than 50% of the video.



Ok, but you said shorter…

We have quite an amazing ability to consume information. And that ramps up when using mobile phones. People can consume content 41% faster on mobile newsfeed than on desktop.

We are also adapting our brains to filter out the content we know is advertising. Research by Facebook shows that the first 3 seconds on any paid social video is vitally important as there will be a massive drop off.

This means you need to change your approach to how you pace your adverts. Traditionally advertising will follow a very familiar story arc — an exposition (lead and build), a climax (big reveal) and then a resolution (offer/brand/CTA) but in the digital and social world people have lost patience with this form of storytelling. To make an impact you must capture attention immediately and introduce your brand.



Creativity is still the most important aspect

All of this doesn’t mean you should just bombard your audience with video content until their eyes bleed. This is not a tactic that has ever worked.

But when creating video content for social advertising there are a few rules you should consider.

Storytelling is still king — audiences will be drawn towards stories but you must consider the digital story arc structure.

Place your brand early —placing your brand within the first 3 seconds will increase brand recall.

Single messaging — just one message, please.

Your phone is not a tiny TV — most people hold their phone vertically so make sure you take advantage of this format.


Tip of the iceberg

This only scratches the surface of how to create successful paid social advertising. If you’d like to know more let's talk: