If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. However, whether or not words and dollars have a one-to-one ratio is a different story altogether.
This summer, Facebook is set to roll out the next logical step in advertising functionality: video ads. If there’s one hypothesis that drives social media marketing it’s that the more comprehensive a piece of content, the more engagement and more conversion can be expected. As of right now, video remains the pinnacle of information-rich, engagement-worthy content and every brand is going all out to try and leverage it. We see video ads on YouTube, blog posts, editorial websites and on television, and Facebook is looking to join the party.
Concrete details haven’t yet surfaced, but the assumption is that the video ads will live in an external player that expands beyond a user’s News Feed, possibly stretching all the way across the browser window. Video ads will be active on mobile as well, but it’s unclear what that functionality will look like. As of right now, Facebook is offering four daily summer slots, each one capable of targeting men or women, over or under 30 years old. Videos will be capped at 15 seconds, a perfect number considering short attention spans and quick consumption, and frequency will be limited so that no user will see more than three a day. All seems well, right up until we get into the most important of all numbers associated with an ad campaign: budget.
It is being reported that each video ad will cost “upwards of” $1 million, “upwards of” most-likely meaning exactly $1 million or not much less. For Facebook, this means a potential revenue stream of $4 million per day, assuming they are able to lock down a client for each of the four demographic categories. It’s great for the platform, but the important question is whether or not it’s good for you. You as the brand or you as the fan.
If you’re a brand, one million dollars is a lot to spend on anything, let alone 15 seconds of ad time that may or may not lead to engagement or conversion. When venturing into the seven figure range, it’s safe to say that you’re going to want something that will have a lasting effect on the profitability of your brand, and a social media video advertisement just can’t make that kind of guarantee. Besides, it’s not like you can’t already post promotional video on Facebook as it stands, with ad dollars promoting the post. Forced views don’t justify the price difference, especially with such broad targeting as “Men over 30.” One million dollars also doesn’t include video production budget, which is an enormous investment itself.
The most important element to factor into any social media-based campaign is user-experience, and let’s be honest, pop out video ads can be annoying. Even on television, where ads have been ingrained in the experience for over sixty years, people are flocking to services like DVR, Netflix and On Demand specifically to get away from them. Are users ready to consume pop out video ads on Facebook in a positive mindset? Maybe, but more than likely there will be negative sentiment, at least in the beginning, and that could easily convert to negativity towards your brand. Advertising is a delicate art. It’s intrusive by nature, but with a little creativity and finesse, it can skyrocket the profitability and sentiment attached to your brand. But just like Real Estate, advertising is all about location, and whether or not Facebook is the proper location for forced video is an insight that may not be worth the price tag.