Facebook and Instagram Video Ads – the Way of the Future?

Late last year, Facebook announced it was beginning to test out video advertisements for brands. Then, earlier this year, Instagram jumped on board this video ads train. (Makes sense considering the photo-sharing platform is owned by Facebook.) If you’re thinking “so why haven’t I seen any video ads yet?” you’re not the only one. The majority of the advertising world is patiently waiting for this new option to be available for their brands. But before advertisers begin segmenting some of their budgets to social video ads, there are a few things they may want to know first:

What will be the parameters for video ads?

The video ads will be 15-second video spots that will automatically start playing as the user scrolls over them. This is similar to how the user-generated videos on both platforms auto play. We know that on Facebook, there will not be sound playing until the user opens it up to a full-screen view.

What will they cost?

A lot of dough! For Facebook video ads, it’s expected to cost between $1 million and $2.4 million a day. Instagram says it doesn’t have a rate card and CPMs are based on factors like targeting, reach and frequency. However, some ad executives are saying that a month-long buy could be anywhere from $350,000 to closer to $1 million.

When can we get them?

Macy’s was the first retailer to run Facebook’s video ads.
Macy’s was the first retailer to run Facebook’s video ads.

Here’s the kicker – both Facebook and Instagram are being VERY selective about who gets to test these out. Facebook debuted its first video ad with a trailer for the movie “Divergent” last November. However, the social media giant is only testing out video ads with a handful of brands, including Macy’s Chevrolet and Progressive.

Instagram is moving along even slower. The app still has not rolled out the sponsored photo ads to all brands, and, therefore, it’s expected that the company will just roll out photo and video ads as two options when they open up the advertising capabilities to more brands. Currently, Instagram is testing them out with Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Lexus, Levi’s, Macy’s, Michael Kors, PayPal and Starwood.

One more thing to consider is the creative control the social media platforms want to have. Facebook is making sure it is heavily involved and engrained within the video ad campaign. This means all the way from conception to execution, the company must approve all aspects of the campaign. The same goes for Instagram where the photo-sharing platform is being very particular on which ads it approves and thoroughly vetting the brands it decides to work with. It’s even turned down some brands that wanted to advertise on the platform!

How is this going to affect brands?

The problem is we just don’t know yet! When will all brands be able to use it? Will the Facebook and Instagram teams still want to be deeply rooted in the campaign creation process? Will there eventually be a self-serving video ad development tool? We will just have to wait and find out all the answers to these questions because the social media platforms just aren’t saying much right now.

However, here are a few predictions t. The popularity of user-generated content in video advertising on television is starting to grow, such as Coca Cola’s new commercial. This style will translate well in video ads on social media.

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XokGFN86ljc”]

Users generally want to see content from other users instead of brands. Therefore, if the video ads look like they were generated by a user, brands can hook the viewer into watching the 15-second ads. By making them look this way, they will flow more into the News Feed when scrolling and not look as intrusive. Just think – an ad disguised as another video that your friend uploaded!

Also showing the lifestyle and humanity of the brand, as opposed to straight product, will be good to see. Especially on Instagram, where the platform prefers to showcase the life of the brand instead of just photos of its products. If the ads look similar in nature, they will fit more into our “daily Instagram lives,” just as targeted photos and updates. Will this be the future? Will brands jump on the video ad train and move more to videos rather than photos? Only time will tell!

MCC creates the right mix of communications for today’s audience – from traditional advertising and public relations to highly interactive digital communications, engaging social media and powerful search engine optimization. With such a broad range of communication services, it’s easy to think of MCC as the big agency that does. With the passion of the little agency that could.

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