Facebook Video: The Marketing Opportunity
Since releasing mobile products earlier this year, Facebook has made huge inroads into the mobile ad market share and will likely continue its progression at the same trajectory, if not higher. According to eMarketer, Facebook has jumped from 5 percent of the mobile market ad revenue in 2012 to nearly 16 percent by this year's end.
On Oct. 21, Facebook announced its newest product release: video ad units that will appear in mobile users’ News Feed.
The video itself is click to play and can be purchased on a cost-per-impression or cost-per-click basis in the same auction as Facebook's standard app install ads. The initial limited supply of inventory coupled with higher advertiser demand for these units will likely result in a slight premium on prices however. It will be interesting to see if Facebook makes newly announced CPI bidding available for the video units, in which advertisers would only pay for installs. Advertisers should be wary of bidding on a CPC basis for fear that they could end up paying for clicks on the install as well as on the video unit.
While the video format undoubtedly is a medium to tell a rich brand story, experienced app marketers already leveraging Facebook's static creative units for app install ads know that the new video formats provide not just another way to drive installs, but higher quality installs. Fetch clients that currently leverage mobile video advertising in general tend to see higher lifetime value users from video versus standard units. It makes sense — users who have seen a product demo or commercial for your brand are more likely to download your app and perform in-app actions. This is huge for direct response app marketers, especially in verticals like gaming, travel, e-commerce, retail, fitness and others, where there are direct conversion events within the app.
The robust targeting options will still be available from Facebook, which sets the social network ahead of many of its nearest competitors (e.g., Google) and other mobile ad networks because of its unique pool of data on each of its users. It's important to continue to leverage these features in order to hone in on the most qualified audience.
Your creative team will be crucial for success in this area. To drive high response rates, advertisers will need to use video that's both compelling and directs users to download. Facebook recommends videos that showcase the best features of your app, including use of lifestyle or product shots along with in-app screenplays. However, leveraging a video that only lists product features might not capture the attention of users.
At the same time, repurposing a TV spot may not be relevant to a mobile user's specific mind-set and context. Marketers will need to find a balance between the two, especially when designing ads to look and feel as "native" as possible. Good native ad design will make ads feel less intrusive to users, making them more likely to engage, while great ads will feel like consumable content more than advertising.
Additionally, Facebook's choice to ensure users initiate the video ads as opposed to forced play (like YouTube) was a smart move. It ensures users still feel a sense of control over their News Feed and that they're not being bombarded with advertising which takes away from their experience. Choice-based ads could also increase Facebook's ability to serve up more relevant video ads. Instagram, Vine and long-term video content through Hulu, YouTube and Netflix has paved the way for normalizing video consumption on mobile platforms. Marketers shouldn't be afraid to test the waters with Facebook.
Guillaume Lelait is the North American vice president at Fetch, a mobile marketing agency.