Readtime: 5 min approx
Auth: Deri Watt

The advertising landscape has changed forever. In 2004, when Mark Zuckerberg suggested that it would “be nice” for his small company to feature adverts on their website, he couldn’t have known the huge impact it would have. The major social networks followed Facebook’s lead with advertising, resulting in brand spend and reach growing with the growth of their user bases.

Whilst video advertising used to be constrained to programmatic ads on TV or cinemas, now it can be shared directly with the demographics who we are trying to reach, which is a great opportunity for creators to have their work seen by the people who their message will best resonate with. 

This has, however, led to a lot of bad content. The accessibility of social media advertising, as well as shrinking timescales and budgets, and the wide ranging input from many different stakeholders can impact our quality of work. 

It is important to remember that, whilst this new format of social video is much easier to get out into the world, it still benefits from in depth creative thought, backed up by a high production value.

The frequency of communications that we put out on social media is, of course, far higher than a single TV campaign would be, but research supports the idea that one of the best formats to use on social is something that we wouldn’t expect to see offline.


The six second video. 

These are micro-length adverts that take into consideration the attention span of viewers on social media, and also enables us to reduce production costs significantly. They are really useful on feed-based platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn) or on Stories (for Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram), where attention spans are lower than say YouTube users or people watching TV.

Media Dean LLC’s founder, Patrick Dean Hodgson says, “It’s essential to examine which videos are performing best with audiences and getting watched. Marketers should strive to have a video completion rate at 60% or higher.” Completion rate is an incredibly important metric, as longer videos will not really get their message across unless the viewer watches the whole story. A 6-second ad basically removes the risk of not getting your message across, and also pushes the message itself to be incredibly clear and concise. 

It is a totally different conversation when talking about brand pieces or ‘hero’ content, where budgets can still be high and creativity can flow with more time to play with, but being able to effectively tell a story in six seconds takes a lot of thought and practice, and combined with the effectiveness of getting your message across before someone loses their interest, it is definitely something worth considering in your social plan.