It’s no secret video has become one of the most effective and popular digital marketing techniques in recent years. But with increasing competition for eyeballs, brands are turning to shorter, snackable video content to capture viewers’ attention in six seconds or less.
The shift towards short-form video advertising content is also being recognized by technology and social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Google. In an earnings call earlier this year, Facebook executives Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg stated their intentions to overhaul video advertising on the platform, including a greater focus on short-form ads.
“Video advertising all comes down to your audience — and younger audiences want shorter, snackable content to engage with multiple times per day, across multiple channels,” observes Andy Halko, CEO of digital-branding agency Insivia.
Beyond reaching younger demographics, Facebook’s move is also about competing more effectively for consumers’ attention in a saturated digital advertising marketplace.
Here’s why you should take a cue from the move and make super-short six-second ads in 2018, along with some examples to inspire your next video shoot.
Short form captures younger audiences
According to Halko, brands need to craft videos that are impactful and memorable to younger viewers outright — but that’s not all. Brands also need to be mindful that their ads will be viewed across multiple devices, apps, and social media platforms like Snapchat.
Corona’s six-second “Jump Splash” bumper ad is a great example of bite-size content that jumps off the screen no matter which device it’s viewed on. The ad features stunning visuals, combined with a fun vibe that focuses not just on consuming a product — beer, in this case — on the experiences that come with it.
Corona is perhaps best known for its long-form ads (sometimes called hero ads) on television, with a similar sensibility as “Jump Splash.” Corona is a brand associated with hanging out on the beach, traveling, and living a care-free life — things that appeal to young people. However, many of its intended clientele are cord-cutters who don’t usually watch TV.
Using digital media channels like Facebook and YouTube helps Corona communicate its values to millennial consumers.
It’s a good illustration of how businesses can leverage long-form ads they’re running on traditional media channels like TV, and tie them in with short-form digital content that reaches a younger demographic.
Short form content can be utilized cross-platform
One of the best parts of the six-second format is that longer ads can be segmented or repurposed into shorter videos for different channels like Instagram or Snapchat.
Take Under Armour’s recent “It Comes from Below” campaign, with this six-second ad featuring baseball star Bryce Harper.
The Harper ad was repurposed from a longer ad that Under Armour produced for Instagram, and integrated with a larger “It Comes from Below” campaign featuring other superstar athletes like Steph Curry and Cam Newton. They even took the short-form aspect of the campaign even further, vowing to produce a three-second Steph Curry video ad for every three-pointer he made in last year’s NBA playoffs.
So, if you’ve already invested in long-form video ads, analyze them and think about how some of the content can be repurposed into various mini videos. It’s a great way to boost your video ad presence on mediums like Instagram and Snapchat without having to spend more money on additional video production.
Short form can tell a longer brand story
One of the reasons that brands like Under Armour are repurposing long-form content into very short videos is because consumers are developing a lower tolerance for interruptive ads. But that doesn’t mean you have to develop multiple six-second story arcs to meet these evolving digital demands.
“Instead of watching a two-minute video or a full episode once a week or month, now in a single day consumers have multiple engagement points of short content,” says Halko. “Over time, these combine to tell a larger story.”
Take KFC’s recent short-form “Unboxing” campaign for the Malaysian market, in which a new menu item’s release was promoted using a six-second ad inspired by movie trailers. The short teaser ads were presented as a series, finally leading to the big reveal: The new Super Jimat meal.
The KFC “Unboxing” ad is just one example of how brands can use short-form video to build up anticipation for a new product and serialize videos to tell a larger story.
Are 6-second ads right for you?
Ad Age reported over the summer that a test done by Tropicana and Facebook, for which the juice company made ads of varying lengths to show on the social platform (6, 30 and 45 seconds). The test revealed that the six-second ads performed the best, leading to better consumer recall and brand recognition.
Halko also cites the benefit of using short-form video in terms of gathering and analyzing customer data to better determine their preferences. Brands can use six-second ads to A/B test certain variables in their products, branding, or messaging to pin down what their customers like — and what they don’t.
“This is the power of short-form content, when it’s combined with data analysis. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, smart consumers and users curate their feeds carefully,” he explains.
In the end, though, there are certain universal truths that apply to the six-second ad format that businesses need to be aware of to be able to use the format to its full potential, says Halko. “It’s the brands that find unique ways to tell stories with short media that will win. Creativity, cross-channel integration, and purpose are still key — no matter the length.”
Even if you think your brand’s story is too long and complex for a six-second ad, you shouldn’t dismiss the format. Map out the story you want to tell, and break it down into smaller chunks to that it’s easily digestible for today’s distraction-prone digital consumer.
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