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Simple Ways to Adapt Your TV Com- mercials for Facebook and Instagram

August 3, 2017
11 minutes read
Simple Ways to Adapt Your TV Com- mercials for Facebook and  Instagram

Attention on mobile is vastly different



Mobile video is exploding:  Over half of all video views are on mobile  [Inc.  2016, “Why 2017 Will Be the Year of Online  Video”], and  mobile  video consumption is increasing exponentially on Face- book.  Mobile is where  your customers watch  everything from video ads to branded content—and it’s time  to adapt  yours to match.



People  overwhelmingly prefer  shorter  ads to longer  ones [Business  Insider  2016, “Consumers prefer shorter  video ads across  all devices”].  But on mobile,  consumption is fast and  attention is short—so the bar to and  capture  and  keep attention is even higher.  Our research shows that  video- watching on mobile  is fast, frequent and  needs  to work  with or without  sound.  [Facebook  research

2017] Think about  how you use your own mobile  device,  and  those  qualities  will probably  ring true.



TV commercials typically air in a ”forced  view” environment where  people  watch  the entire  spot, so it makes  sense  to have the punchline at the end.  But on mobile,  47% of a video’s value is deliv- ered  in the first three  seconds,  and  74% is delivered in the first ten seconds  [Nielsen  BrandEffect studies  2015, commissioned by Facebook  Marketing  Science]—after that,  attention starts  to decline. If your brand  message  is at the end  of a 30-second spot, this may mean  people  are less likely to

see it.


What if you could optimize your TV assets for mobile?



PockeTVCs are “pocket  television  commercials”—a low-cost,  low-barrier  approach  to optimizing  as- sets that  you already  own for a mobile  audience. As of January  2017, the Creative  Shop has helped over 250 clients  around  the world to create  highly effective PockeTVCs from their  existing  assets. Along nearly  all metrics,  PockeTVCs had  a higher  success  rate  than  standard TV commercials and higher  brand  lifts than  norms  [Facebook  data  2017].



Through  our work and  testing,  we’ve also arrived  at some  early takeaways around  how to create your own high-quality  PockeTVCs.  Below, we focus on five key principles  that  can help you adapt your existing  TV assets  and  storylines  to fit the best practices  for mobile  video.





Make sure your brand  gets credit  and  your message  is delivered.


  • Include your brand early.  The earlier  you can place your brand  in the video and  the clearer you can make  the message, the better.  Many mobile  videos underperform because  the mes- sage is unclear,  the branding isn’t distinct  or the viewer simply doesn’t  know what to do next.


  • Remember branding is more than just a logo. What other  aspects  of your brand  are iconic or easily recognizable—a font, a color, an aesthetic? Use them  early and  often.


  • Reinforce the campaign message visually. Focus on communicating information without words. Use graphics,  motion  and  explanatory visuals to convey your message.


  • Set the scene quickly. Most TV commercials spend a long time  setting  up context.  On mobile,  it’s important to capture  attention immediately and  plunge  people  directly  into the drama.






Clarify your message  using text and  graphics  instead  of voice over.


  • Create visual interest. The original TV commercial for the new Camaro  SS was almost  two minutes long and  didn’t  hit the main  message  until 69 seconds  in. For the mobile  video ad, we introduced the product  up front.  We also added  a visual countdown and  infographics to call attention to the car’s features.


  • Context is everything. To make  your message  meaningful, get people  oriented quickly.

When  running  a campaign  for 11/11—the largest  mobile  shopping  day in China—we needed to inform  people  who might  be unfamiliar with the event.  We led with a clear opening  mes- sage in multiple  languages:  “The  World’s Biggest Online  Shopping Event.”


  • Make a cover for your story. This is a simple  way to add  words or context  that  would prob- ably be delivered via audio  in a TV commercial. For an Alzheimer’s  Research  ad, we got people  to tune  in with a title card  advertising that  the spot was narrated by a well-known celebrity.






How can you frame  your asset  to make  the most  of the content and  space?


  • Optimize your ratios for mobile. Square  and  vertical  videos often  perform  better  on mobile—people don’t have to turn  their  phones  sideways  to get the full effect.  Brand  lift tests show a 3 to 9 point lift for vertical  videos compared to horizontal ones.  [Facebook  data  2017] We recommend a 4:5 ratio for Instagram and  2:3 for Facebook  feed.


  • Play with grids and stacked images. Sure, the mobile screen  is small—but there’s  so

much  you can do with it. Try splitting  the screen  to show two or more  parallel  storylines  at once. For a Beck’s lager ad, we used  split screens  to juxtapose  hero product  shots  alongside the story to deliver  more  visual drama  and  rhythm.


  • Be clear with your benefit. Lead with a single focused message  around  what you’re offering.

Hone  in visually on your product  or promotion.






Deliver  your full message  within  an optimal  time  frame  for mobile.


  • Play with shorter spots. What can you communicate in an extra short  time  frame?  Focus on the key takeaway  or benefit.  We’ve seen  great  success  with 6-second spots in feed  and  15- second  spots in stream.


  • Start with your most intriguing frame. Select one or two key frames to bring your message together effectively and  in less time.  Attention  on mobile  is an action—be sure to reward  it.


  • Use several short vignettes with the same end reveal. This is a punchy alternative to longer

TV commercials. If your TV spot has a lot of good material that  can’t be easily condensed, try splitting  it up into a mini-series of short  spots that  end  with the same  clear message.







Experiment with new ways to tell a story beyond  the traditional narrative arc.


  • Play with speed. The speed with which we consume content on mobile  has increased. Peo- ple are mesmerized by speedy  visuals, so challenge what’s possible—how much  can they read or understand in a short  amount of time?


  • Start with the end. Flip your story around  to deliver  the message  quicker.  What if you started with the main  point?


  • Create a rhythm or a “heartbeat.” Creating visual rhythm or repetition can give your video the same  addictive  backbeat as sound  often  provides  in a TV commercial.



In short,  look objectively  at your TV commercial as a collection  of assets  rather  than  one untouch- able narrative. You can create  more  visual interest and  drama  when  you distance yourself  from the story arc of the original  spot.  Splice, dice and  rearrange the story to create  something totally new for mobile.  You’ll make  your mobile  spots more  entertaining and  impactful  when  you use stills, slides and  loops to supplement or even replace  video.



In April 2017, we worked  with McDonald’s  Malaysia  to turn  their  original  TVC assets  into six mobile-optimized spots—helping it achieve  its highest  sales month  in history.



When McDonald’s optimized their TVC content for mobile airing primarily on Facebook, we sharpened the message and focused on spicy chicken across six video and still assets. This campaign outperformed most of McDonald’s digital campaigns to date and they had to stop running the ads because they ran out of chicken.”—Eugene Lee, Marketing  Director  at McDonald’s  Malaysia



Go bigger to see bigger results



If we’ve learned anything  from the PockeTVCs we’ve worked  on, it’s that  smaller  changes  tend  to lead to smaller  impact,  and  bigger changes  tend  to result  in bigger impact.



Examples  of smaller  changes  include  adding  a logo or subtitles  to the original  TVC or simply trim- ming the video to be shorter.  Examples  of bigger changes  include  things  like weaving  your mes- sage into the video in the first three  seconds, bringing  the story to life with dynamic  supers  and graphics,  and  exploring  different  aspect  ratios  such as split screens  or grids.



The more  committed you are to delivering  clear messages that  delight  in a short  time  frame,  the better  you’ll do in the mobile  environment.




Read the first post about mobile video creativity and stay tuned for the third post about the future of mobile video.


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