Facebook underscores marketing opportunity with short-form mobile video
- Facebook put an emphasis on the power of short-form native mobile video for marketers during a Q2 earnings call yesterday. The company reported strong earnings for the quarter, hitting nearly $9.2 billion in revenue — a 47% jump over the same period last year — with mobile ad revenue growing 53% year-over-year to $8 billion, making for 87% of total ad revenue.
- On the earnings call, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg emphasized that producing "short-form snackable content is a big opportunity" for businesses on mobile, both through Facebook's core product and also properties like its image-sharing platform Instagram. Advertising via full-screen ads on Instagram Stories, a video messaging feature which competes directly with Snapchat, was cited by Sandberg as another new opportunity for marketers to drive business objectives like awareness and sales.
- Another point of conversation for Facebook was its push into premium original video programming, with a two-tiered service expected to launch its first offerings next month. Sandberg told CNBC in a post-earnings interview that Facebook is still in the early investment stages when it comes to episodic content and that the company is ramping up data centers and staffing to handle the increased video traffic.
Facebook's ad load growth is continuing to slow this year, an issue that's been acknowledged multiple times by CFO David Wehner and was outlined once again on the earnings call yesterday. Video remains a key point of focus for Facebook in beating that stagnation and driving new revenue, with mobile video content and especially short-form video mobile content taking center stage.
Sandberg pointed to several cases where brands saw results in promoting what she deemed "snackable" video via Facebook platforms. Juice maker Tropicana, for example, tested 6-second video ads against more standard 15- and 30-second ads. The shorter option drove higher brand metrics "across the board," including through a 16-point lift in brand awareness versus just a 6-point lift for the longer offerings.
Instagram Stories is a newer product, only rolling out full-screen ads globally in March. The feature is often cited as siphoning off Snapchat's users and influencer talent, and is also increasingly favored by some marketers. Ben & Jerry's, in another example from Sandberg, ran an awareness campaign through Stories that saw a 14-point lift in ad recall and a 2-point lift in purchase intent for a new product, its Pint Slices ice cream.
Despite the case studies highlighted by Sandberg, some in the industry, especially on the agency side, have resisted the notion that the trend toward extra-short video ads has been beneficial for marketers. Several agency creative executives interviewed by Business Insider earlier this month suggested that the truncated video format kills creativity and hampers the ability to tell stories and forge the proper emotional connection with viewers.
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