Video ads will mostly be TVCs: Facebook

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 6 May 2015

Facebook is trying to position itself as a separate channel rather than an alternative to TV advertising, but still expects most of its branded video content to take the form of TV commercials.

Speaking to AdNews, Facebook head of brand Brent Annells said the platform sees itself as a separate channel to digital, which means the challenge it and its brand partners have is understanding where it sits in terms of media spend.

“We have huge scale, but we also have the ability for a personalised, targeted approach,” Annells said. 

“Nothing else in the market is like that.” 

Annells said while pitching it against TV is an “easy comparison”, both Facebook and its Instagram platform have strengths in reach and frequency, which place it actually somewhere between TV and outdoor.

But while Facebook might be trying to distance itself as a competitor to TV, Annells said most of its branded content is expected to be TV commercials rather than bespoke creative.

“Creating video content is a spectrum, we think about it on an axis, from easiest to implement and what is scalable on the bottom left to engagement on the right,” Annells said.

“Easiest is where most content is going to be and that's existing TVCs.”

“You don't want to put heavily retail priced promotions in the newsfeed – that’s not good for the experience – but a good brand ad that is visually appealing is where most of the brand advertising is going to be.”

While that might be the easiest option for brands, Annell said he is working directly with advertisers and agencies in order to work on other types of creative that will work on the platform. He said the second category in terms of the scale is “bespoke video” or cut-down versions of television commercials.

Part of the interest Annells sees in this space is in cinemagraphs – subtly animated images which are almost half-video and half-photograph in style – and said he is working with a number of brands and agencies on that now.

The third content pool Facebook is eyeing off is branded content: longer format, episodic video which lives on the feed, which Annells said is less common because it's less scalable. An example of this, Annells said, is the recent video spot by Optus to advertise its Netflix deal, featuring Ricky Gervais.

Optus director of active consideration Karen Phipson said several videos were created for the campaign and in 10 days it reached six million people, on average 2.8 times.

“The learning for us is that consumers are smart. We need to build on that and be honest with thetransaction, but make it valuable,” Phipson said.

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