Not Your Mother’s Social Media Video Ads

Well, it’s official: video ads are having their moment on social media. With Tumblr, Snapchat, and Instagram all launching more sophisticated social media video ad capabilities in the past 30 days, it’s safe to say that plenty of social media budgets will be making room for video content in the near future.

It’s been long established that in social media, visuals are king. Attention grabbing, chills inducing, giggle-worthy content will win every time. Video is the next logical step. Of course, Facebook has been on that train for some time now. We’ve been seeing their Premium Auto Play Video Ads since April 2014. And Tumblr is following suit with their auto play video ads. But now that more niche platforms like Instagram are hopping on board, life won’t be so easy. We’re past the point of re-purposed television commercials in the News Feed. Brands are going to have to get a little more creative. In fact, they don’t really have a choice if they want to advertise with these platforms.

Brands Must Create Social-First Video Ads

According to their guidelines, Tumblr and Instagram aren’t taking your commercials and squishing it into their template. They’re making brands speak the language of the channel. Tumblr requires “engaging creative” and won’t let you fish for notes. Instagram reviews every ad to ensure that the content isn’t disruptive to the feel of the platform. And brands have answered that call. Take Disney’s latest movie, Big Hero 6, for example. Snapchat’s first ads simply plugged in movie previews for Ouija and Dumb and Dumber To. Disney’s Instagram video featured the characters taking selfies to promote the film.

Disney’s Big Hero 6 | Instagram | Source: Adweek

Snapchat’s First Video AdOuija | Snapchat’s First Sponsored Post

Snapchat debuted its second ad product Sunday night, an 'Our Story' stream sponsored by Samsung.
Snapchat’s first sponsored “Our Story” | Samsung Galaxy | via AdAge

Snapchat stepped it up this past weekend when they let Samsung Galaxy sponsor the entire American Music Award’s “Our Story” stream. There’s a lot of opportunity here to sponsor live events via the popular real-time app.

With Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, and even Facebook shrugging off “overly promotional” branded content in favor of a higher creative standard, it is clear that the days of banner ads, re-purposed commercials, and like-gates are gone. How will your brand react to social media’s creative renaissance?

Make it Something They Want to Watch:

The biggest change in the roll out of these video ad capabilities is that this isn’t pre-roll. The channels aren’t forcing users to watch the ads to access the platform. If you want your money’s worth, you better give them something to enjoy.

Know Their Community:

Take a minute to understand who is living on the channel you want to advertise on. To make an extreme example: Keep your life insurance ads off of Instagram.

Know Your Community:

You know what your fans like. If you don’t, then you’re not doing it right. Make it brand relevant and make it entertaining. Banana Republic used Hyperlapse to share the making of their most recent line. Call of Duty gave fans an amazing look at what it would be like to be inside their game.  These are ads that your passionate fans will enjoy.

Banana Republic’s Hyperlapse Video | Instagram | Source: AdWeek

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare | Instagram | Source: AdWeek

Think Organish™:

Sure, you’re making an ad. But maybe instead of filming your next commercial, you should make something that a social audience would actually want to see. Think about the best piece of organic content your brand could possibly create. Ask, would your audience share this if they discovered it organically? If yes, then put some money behind it and get all the Instagram hearts you’ve been pining for.


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