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A quick guide to non-disruptive native advertising on Facebook

May 24, 2016

Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users, 1.51 billion of whom log in on a mobile device. 1.09 billion daily active users, 989 million of whom log in on mobile each day with 84.2% coming from outside the US and Canada. The average Facebook user spends 50 minutes a day in the Facebook universe of apps (Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger - not including WhatsApp). Those with Instagram spend an average of 21 minutes looking at photos and videos in the app daily. Every time someone logs into Facebook, there are an average of over 1,500 potential stories from friends, people they follow, and pages, for them to see (Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is designed to sort through available stories and select what it thinks will be most relevant to each user).

There are a LOT of people consuming a LOT of content from friends, family, and brands on a relatively new medium (Facebook was founded in February, 2004), a majority of which is seen on a relatively new device (the first iPhone launched in June, 2009). Marketers must shift their approach from big displays (TV, OOH, print) to storytelling on a platform with the best targeting capabilities to date on a device that fits in a pant pocket.

Advertising on Facebook and Instagram differs from other mediums and there are a few key shifts to keep top of mind:

  1. The primary consumption vehicle is the mobile device. The screen is small, attention is often shorter and there are countless activities people can choose to engage with other than consuming brand content (e.g. games like Clash of Clans. videos of cute kittens and babies etc.)Consumption is also quicker: It takes people only 1.7 seconds to consume mobile content on Facebook, vs. 2.5 seconds on desktop. This speed is not bad for brands as People can recall mobile feed content after just ¼ second.
  2. Users must choose to consume your content as they can very easily scroll past your image or video with the flick of their thumb. This means you can’t get away with posting crappy content.
  3. Context is really important: Your brand is showing up between a photo of the user’s new niece and a best friend’s wedding announcement, not as a break to their favorite television show.
  4. Targeting is more advanced than ever: Facebook has the most robust targeting capabilities of any existing platform. Gone are the days of needing to craft content for a general audience. Advertisers can now better realize the dream of delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.
  5. Video is becoming increasingly popular and important on Facebook and Instagram, leading to the need for brands to create video content (video consumption on Instagram has increased 40% in the last 6 months)

Now What Do You Do With these Facebook facts?

Taking the aforementioned shifts into account, there are key guidelines every marketer should follow in order to enhance chances that your message gets across to the right consumers effectively:

1. Design for thumb-stopping power

People can easily scroll right past your content if you don’t catch their attention, so make sure to stand out in the News Feed

2. Design for mobile

While you can’t have more than 20% text on any image that you boost with paid media, text needs to be legible as the viewer scrolls past on a small screen. Also, remember that video dimensions should be 1:1 to maximize mobile screen real estate. Pro-Tip 1: Review all content in a mobile environment

3. Design videos for social media, not TV

According to a Facebook and Nielsen study, 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first 3 seconds (Facebook counts a view after 3 seconds with at least 50% of the video on screen) and 74% of the value was delivered in the first 10 seconds. Additionally, a lot of people consume content with sound off (Facebook and Instagram default to sound off - users must click to turn sound on) Pro-Tip 2: Grab attention right at the start of the video. Include your brand in the first 3 seconds and don’t wait to have the big payoff at the end
Pro-tip 3: Create videos that get the message across without sound. Use text overlays and/or captions as well as graphics to help tell your story.

4. Right message to the right target

Facebook enables you to target based on their treasure trove of personal data plus a variety of 3rd-party data. Pro-tip: After selecting viable consumer groups, create content tailored to each. This can be as simple as changing the copy or making multiple cuts of a video with different opening frames to appeal to different targets

Summing up

Context is absolutely essential. While taking all of the above into account, it’s important to remember the strategic and creative principles at the foundation of advertising. A good idea based on a human truth is still a good idea. The big shift is in how people consume and interact with your brand and your content. Facebook and Instagram can be incredible tools for marketers, and if used appropriately, they enable brands to get the right message to the right people and ultimately drive real business results.

About the author

Dan Grossman is the Vice President of Platform Partnerships at digital agency VaynerMedia. He works closely with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube to develop innovative strategies and programs for VaynerMedia’s roster of Fortune 500 companies. With clients ranging from consumer packaged goods (CPG) to entertainment to industrial, Dan and his team are laser focused on helping brands market in the year we live in to drive real business results.

Story by Dan Grossman

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