Instagram began playing videos on loop, which instantly changed the game for branded content. Instead of having a 15-second video with a clear beginning and end, the looped videos enable us to be more creative and also open the doors for cinemagraphs.
In February, Instagram began playing videos on loop, which instantly changed the game for branded content. Instead of having a 15-second video with a clear beginning and end, the looped videos enable us to be more creative and also open the doors for cinemagraphs. While Facebook still doesn’t play videos on loop, it’s easy to mimic Instagram by repeating a clip multiple times in one video. Facebook also rolled out its new auto-play feature for videos, which is another game changer for digital advertising – and a designer like me.
Having videos auto-play while people scroll through their newsfeed is a huge opportunity for brands to grab the attention of their target audiences. The trick is that the viewer needs to watch the video for 3 seconds for it to count as an impression. As a designer, it’s my goal to creatively lure the viewer in for longer than 3 seconds, if not for the whole duration of the video. Enter: cinemagraphs. Cinemagraphs by definition are still photographs in which a subtle, repeated movement occurs. They can either be a GIF or video file. Because Facebook doesn’t yet host GIFS, video files are my preferred method of uploading for that channel.
Cinemagraphs are very captivating. The repeated motion draws immediate attention to what may have first appeared to be a static image. Usually I keep videos for our brands under or around 10 seconds for animations or videos that have a clear beginning and end. However for cinemagraphs, I usually create longer videos, some up to 30 seconds in order to avoid cutting the viewer’s experience short and abruptly ending the video. Since Facebook videos are streamed, the length of the video won’t affect the load time.
My team and I have been encouraging our clients to incorporate more videos into Facebook and Instagram posts, opposed to just the static image posts. Branded Facebook videos can be much more engaging than a still image and can also resemble mini-commercials when executed correctly. I’ve also found that branded videos are a good solve for Facebook’s dreaded 20% rule restriction.
If a brand wanted to promote a static image post on Facebook, the copy must make up less than 20% of the image. Twenty percent is already not much space to start with, but the Facebook grid tool is even more limiting. The grid is made up of 25 boxes and there can only be copy/logos in 5 out of the 25 boxes, which is very challenging to align copy nicely while being confined to a certain area.
Our team recently confirmed with Facebook that the 20% rule doesn’t apply to promoted videos. HALLELUJA! We have been encouraging our clients promote video posts because they’re not limited to 20% restrictions; therefore they can get a lot more messaging across to their intended audiences. Facebook is constantly changing and tomorrow they could slap the 20% restrictions on videos, but so far, we’ve been looking at videos as a work-around for the 20% rule. The same thing goes for cinemagraphs. While they appear to be just a mesmerizing image, they’re actually videos, so we don’t need to worry about copy restrictions… for now. The world of design and social marketing is an ever-evolving one and I’m happy to exercise my creativity to adapt with the changes. Who knows what’s next!
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