Social Media Video Facebook

What an all-video Facebook news feed means for marketers

By Jerry Daykin

February 4, 2015 | 5 min read

If you're a marketer thinking of doing innovation by dipping your toe into online video content this year, I have some bad news for you: you're already too late. In 2015 the question isn't whether some of your social content should be video, but instead how you equip yourself to make it all that way.

From Harry Potter to Minority Report, authors have long since dreamed of the day when static portraits, advertising and newspapers are a thing of the past. Love them or hate them we've had digital picture frames for a decade now, and animated billboards are an everyday reality in urban areas – but surely print media will hold out?

Facebook has other plans; it wants to build the ‘Perfect Personalised Newspaper’ for its billion active users and if you've looked at your newsfeed lately it's anything but static. With 890 million daily users already racking up over 3bn views a day, I'm pretty confident that in a year or two's time the majority of the content you see on Facebook will be video led: in short we’re heading towards an all-video news feed.

2014 was a transformational year for video with YouTube and Vine super-users drawing bigger crowds than traditional Hollywood stars, the Ice Bucket Challenge teaching us all how easy it is to upload our own video and platforms like Facebook and Twitter pushing us to do it on their own 'native' platforms.

Whilst the latter point is certainly an added complication for marketers, opportunities to promote the video content they do create to broader audiences should ultimately make the production investment more justifiable. The days of popping a video on YouTube and simply linking to it from your other channels do however seem to be over – Buzzfeed stopped doing so and started using Facebook’s native player over a year ago.

It costs the same amount to reach a consumer on Facebook with a video as it does a static image. Think about that for a minute, then ask yourself which one can have more impact and say more about your brand.

The most successful digital campaigns in recent years haven’t been complicated user engagement mechanics, they've been powerful stories best told through longer form or episodic video. The same is true of great Facebook marketing and the brands we’ll be talking about as best practice in a year’s time will be the ones who really embrace video, at scale.

Of course there are practical considerations about trying to make everything you post on Facebook a video and even low-fi approaches tend to take more time, effort and money than static images. The simple truth is that you’d be better off posting an impactful video which you promote to millions of your target audience every few weeks than trying to push out an image update to a handful of fans every day.

I look forward to seeing what the best creative minds can do with the platform, and how they tackle the new challenge of grabbing people’s attention in the first few seconds of videos which play without sound. I collected some really practical thoughts on what this means for content over on my blog, including challenging what a video really is – Coke for instance has already been using the format simply to gently animate some of its imagery in news feed.

When I think of the brand that’s best embraced online video over the past 18 months, though, it is another soft drink that jumps to mind.

Pepsi Max’s series of ‘Unbelievable’ videos kicked off with Dynamo hovering from the side of a bus, and have since seen a man run right round a loop the loop and a bunch of very scared people at a bus shelter. Each video has been attention-grabbing, highly shareable and true to the brand’s core Live For Now promise.

Pepsi Max has also been incredibly consistent, regularly delivering many other videos every couple of months which once again bring us back into its brand world.

Finally, it has done it at scale – those three videos have 25m views on YouTube alone but at launch were inescapable across a whole range of platforms, including dominating the Facebook news feed. Its latest couple of videos have now also been posted natively on Facebook & Twitter and it’ll be watching to see how it evolves its video approach throughout 2015.

Jerry Daykin is the global digital director at Dentsu Aegis Network and The Drum’s semi-official Eurovision correspondent. You can follow his campaign for #DigitalSense in marketing on Twitter @jdaykin

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