Facebook: Why mobile video ads must work fast
- Facebook, the social network with 2 billion users, said mobile video ads need to capture the attention of smartphone users immediately because they scroll through their news feed 41% faster on a smartphone than on a desktop, according to a blog post by the company. Engaging creative is a priority when about half of U.S. adults check their phone at least 30 times a day.
- Video spots should be 15 seconds or less to convey the point faster, Facebook said, and an ad should display the brand message and identity early, especially if it's tied to a recognizable celebrity, character or symbol.
- Facebook recently introduced in-stream ad placements and Instagram stories ads that are capped at 15 seconds. Videos also need to be formatted for vertical viewing because mobile phones are used in portrait mode 98% of the time.
Facebook is seeking to make mobile video ads more compelling as ad agencies complain that viewability rates are as low as 20%, according to a report in Digiday. Media buyers are using new auditing capabilities that show Facebook's viewability rate is lacking compared to an industry average of 50%. Agency executives speaking on the condition of anonymity fear Facebook's viewability rates may be even lower still, but that needs to be confirmed with more accurate auditing tools.
Facebook responded to the Digiday report with a statement touting the recall rate for videos that are seen for only a few seconds by mobile users quickly scanning a news feed. "According to independent Fors Marsh Group research, people can recall mobile news feed content at a statistically significant rate after only 0.25 seconds of exposure," said Facebook spokesman Tom Channick. "And a recent Nielsen study showed that 38% of brand recall, 23% of brand awareness and 25% of purchase intent are driven by video impressions that are under two seconds."
Facebook has recently begun to experiment with ads that have the sound off, understanding that many smartphone users will be in public situations where they can't play audio aloud. While videos with sound are generally watched longer, Facebook recommends that ads tell a story visually, using text, graphics and captions to promote silent ad viewing.
Facebook's blog recommends that marketers continually test the platform to see what kind of creative aspects are most compelling to mobile users, especially within the first few seconds of a video. Mark Rabkin, Facebook's vice president of core ads, recommends testing and measuring ads on a weekly cycle rather than the standard of every six months for more accurate viewer data and knowledge of what kind of content users want.