The Rules of Social Video Advertising, as told by
Social Media Week 2015

The Rules of Social Video Advertising, as told by Social Media Week 2015
By Brian McFarland

The conversation around social video advertising is one that continues to bubble up, as more consumers shift their media consumption habits from linear TV viewing to streaming and on-demand video. Consumers are watching more video than ever before, and have access to video content on nearly every device and platform. This is good news for brands and marketers who are steadily embracing video advertising.


At this past Social Media Week New York, there were several panels and classes that explored this topic, as well as tips for marketers looking to leverage social video in a big way.

We already know that the power of social has amassed huge opportunities for brands to engage. When you combine video and social, brands have great potential to share their content with large, targeted audiences by close interaction and engagement .

Here are a few social video ad rules from Social Media Week New York to keep in mind:

  • Know your audience; know your channel. Whether it’s Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Vine, these platforms are naturally driving social video ads since they have inline video-playing capabilities –choosing the right platform or channel for your audience is key though.

Social video ads should also be done the right way for your audience. On Snapchat, for example, you have a limited number of seconds to engage before the consumer stops clicking and your ad falls into an abyss of discarded videos. You should engage within the first five seconds, with a call-to-action (CTA) that drives consumers to another social page where they can watch a longer version.

  • Calls-to-action are a must-have. On the topic of CTAs, these aren’t a nice-to-have but a must-have. What good is a video ad after all if it doesn’t keep consumers’ attention? CTAs can range from email sign-ups, liking or sharing content, visiting a web page or more. Get creative to make sure you can keep a conversation going after the video ends.

If you’ve managed to get consumers to sign-up for your newsletter, keep them intrigued with product announcements, news or discounts.

  • Keep it simple. With the way consumption habits have shifted, brevity is just as important as good content to consumers, especially with advertisements. Video ads as a general rule should often be less than 30 seconds with an upfront CTA.

You can’t always expect a consumer to stick around longer than 15 seconds, so keeping it short with a strong opener will help you earn the interest of your viewers.

  • Take advantage of real-time data and analytics. On social media, everything happens in real-time. Brands post content, consumers react and post their own, and videos can go viral –all instantaneously. It’s really important to your strategy to leverage analytic dashboards and understand where your campaigns are performing in real-time. That way, if something isn’t working –such as a CTA that’s not getting any traction –you can make an adjustment in real-time.

Once you can collect data on how your video ads are performing, you have actionable analytics enabling you to apply performance-based data.

These key points were surfaced during Social Media Week NY 2015. Keep them in mind and you can create stellar video ads that incorporate great content with the right platform for your audience.

On a final note, “content is king, but distribution is queen.” While no one is quite sure who coined the phrase first, it came up quite a bit during Social Media Week’s video sessions. Good content coupled with targeted and optimized distribution across the right channel often leads to greater engagements. Building a relationship with a consumer and keeping your brand top of mind is the ultimate goal, so don’t let that engagement drop off just because your consumer did.

Brian McFarland is the VP of Eastern Sales of Viewbix, a leading video ad engagement tool for brands and marketers.