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Facebook Video has quickly grown to rival YouTube, so it is unsurprising that video ads have also become a major part of Facebook’s advertising platform. But, as more and more companies share their ads on Facebook, it is becoming significantly more difficult to stand out.

To help companies make the best ads possible for their platform and best engage their audience, Facebook took it upon itself to test out their video ads to see what is best in the eyes of consumers.

Facebook showed 965 video ads targeted to the United States and Europe to a panel of consumers in a way that mimicked Facebook News Feed on mobile and asked the participants to evaluate each ad based on four factors: first impressions, branding, messaging, and video features.

Let’s break down the biggest findings of the report:

Engage Users Fast Without Audio

The majority of marketers aren’t taking how users watch videos into account when they create their ads, according to the report. Despite the fact that videos play silently in the News Feed by default and many users watch without sound entirely, only 24% of the ads were comprehensible without ads.

Additionally, only 23% of these ads included brand messaging that was easy to understand within the first 10 seconds of video and less than half (46%) featured recognizable brand links.

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Brands that ensured their ads quickly established their messaging and were understandable without sound were drastically more popular among respondents than those who didn’t.

Keep Your Messaging Clear To Spark Engagement

Videos that were intended to create a conversation and succinctly communicated a brands’ message were also more liked by participants in the study.

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For more insights from Facebook’s study, read the report here.

 OnlineVideo

Advertisers are seeing more value in online video ads than traditional TV advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureaus’ third annual Video Ad Spend study.

The annual survey asks 360 marketing and media buying professionals about their past ad spend habits and how they plan to spend their ad budgets in the next year. The takeaway from this year’s findings is that advertisers are moving away from traditional advertising channels in order to reach the more diverse audience online.

“Marketers and agencies are telling us they clearly see great value in original digital video programming,” said Anna Bager, svp and general manager of mobile and video at IAB.

The majority of advertisers surveyed by IAB (72%) said they plan to move advertising spending away from TV ads in favor of focusing on improving and sharing digital ads in the next year.

Out of those advertisers who said they intend to increase their digital video spending, 41% said they plan to pull from cable TV advertising. Similarly, 47% of these advertisers plan to pull from broadcast TB spending.

Some advertisers said they would also pull from non-video ads online (30%), advanced-interactive TV (30%), and mobile video ads (28%).

Most tellingly, more than two-thirds of advertisers and marketers (68%) said they believe original digital video will be as, if not more, important than, original TV programming within three to five years.

The study also found that advertisers and media buyers have increased their overall investments in digital video by more than 114 percent over the past two years, averaging more than $10 million annually spent on digital video.

As promised, Google is launching ads in Android search results which will allow users to test out games before deciding whether to download them. Google announced the feature was coming in the next few weeks during its Developer Day at Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on Monday.

With the launch of AdWords Search Trial Run Ads, app advertisers can now create ads with a “Try now” button as well as a download button. If Android users choose to try out the app, they will be able to preview the app for 10 minutes before deciding if they want to download it from the Google Play Store.

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Google has been testing out the feature since December, however, those app previews were limited to just 60 seconds. The longer trial period should allow test-drivers to get a better feel for the app and make a more informed decision.

The new feature is aimed at helping users choose to download only apps that will actually be used. According to Google, just one in four apps are ever used after being downloaded. Hopefully, the test-drive feature will increase the chances a user will stay engaged with the app beyond the time of install.

During the conference, Google also announced that Portrait Video Ads in mobile apps will be coming shortly. The company says 80 percent of video ad views in mobile apps on the Google Display Network are viewed vertically, however, the majority of ads are created to be viewed in landscape orientation. Early tests suggest the new ad orientation significantly improves both click-through and conversion rates. This leads to lower cost per install and more installs overall from Portrait Video Ads.

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Facebook is overhauling its Video Metrics section of Page Insights with several new improvements and features to improve how it allows users to track video engagement. To start with, the company is completely redesigning the entire interface to the Video Metrics section. But, it is also launching a few highly requested metrics to better gauge how users are watching videos on the platform.

Since Facebook has launched the video portion of its platform, it has allowed Page owners to track total view counts on videos. However, it did not provide any information on how long people watched for or if they clicked away at some point in the video.

Now, Facebook will display the total minutes viewed watching a video, so Page Owners can tell if they are losing viewers mid-watch and get a better perspective on the effectiveness of their videos. The company says it was the number one most requested feature.

In addition to this, Page owners are also now able to track views more closely with the new 10-Second Views metric, which shows how many viewers watched for at least 10 seconds. This is big for two reasons. On one hand, Facebook has received criticism for counting any view over three seconds in their video counts, compared to YouTube’s harsher 30 second standard for view counts.

The new 10-Second Views metric is also important because Facebook announced last summer that advertisers will only be charged for ad views if their video was watched for more than 10 seconds.

Alongside these view-length metrics, Facebook also rolled out an interesting new metric that gives Page owners a better idea of exactly how users are watching their videos.

Within the Insights view of individual videos, Page owners can see the amount of people that viewed a video with the sound on vs with the sound off. This lets Page owners get an idea of their audience and how their videos are being interacted with.

For example, if the majority of views are coming from users with the sound off, there is a good chance your audience is primarily watching videos at work, school, or in another public space where sound shouldn’t be turned on. You can take this into account with your future ads by being sure to optimize sub-titles and perhaps take a more visual approach with your content.

These changes allow Page owners and advertisers to gain a much deeper insight into how their ads and videos are performing, and that means allowing them to make even better ads and videos for their audience. If you want to make sure your ads are really successful, you should consider giving these new video metrics a look.

YouTube has long been the number one platform for video advertisers despite some recent challenges from Facebook. The top YouTube ads for last month give a good indication why so many advertisers trust the platform to help them build their brands.

The top 10 YouTube ads in March generated more than 102 million views, led by the Ad Council’s anti-discrimination spot “Love Has No Labels.” The ad shot to the top of YouTube’s most popular ads after being posted on March 3. Since then, it has garnered over 50 million views on its own.

While it can be difficult to climb to the top of YouTube’s ad charts, anyone can see a surprising amount of success by sharing their content on the platform. Let these top ads from March 2015 inspire you, and maybe you’ll be at the top of the list in the not too distant future.

Top Ten YouTube Video Ads for March 2015

1. Ad Council: Love Has No Labels

2. Durex: #Connect

3. Samsung: Galaxy 6 Official Introduction

https://youtu.be/CnYtWWDor2s

4. Samsung: Galaxy 6 Design Story

https://youtu.be/raAoYFrIm0I

5. YouTube: Music Awards 2015

6. GEICO: Family – Unskippable

https://youtu.be/pvcj9xptNOQ

7. YouTube Spotlight: #DearMe – What Advice Would You Give Yourself?

8. GoPro: Didga the Skateboarding Cat

 9. Valspar Paint: Color for the Colorblind

 10. Clean & Clear: See the Real Me

https://youtu.be/vyNZXQ136oI

After Facebook’s success with video ads, it was only a matter of time before Instagram rolled out their own video ad options. According to Ad Week, you can expect that to start today as the Facebook-owned social image and video platform finally launches their own video ad platform. The only catch is the service is reserved for only five major brands: Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic, and the CW network.

Instagram’s ad platform is still relatively young, and it has been very cautious about how they go about serving ads to the public. Under the current system, CEO Kevin Systrom has said that he personally reviews every ad before it is allowed to run on the platform so that they don’t come off as aggressive or poor advertising.

The caution payed off as initial skepticism and criticism of ads on Instagram quickly died down when image ads first began appearing. It sounds like the method may also pay off for the video ad service. The Ad Week article says Instagram has reported positive brand awareness and ad recall from testing and that all launch advertisers were striving to be perceived as innovators.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for us,” Brian Chang, assistant vp of media at Lancome USA, told Ad Week. “We, as a brand, wanted to take advantage of being first to market.”

The video ads will begin appearing today and roll out more extensively in the next few weeks, and each ad will have a 15-second maximum length similar to the restrictions placed on Instagram users. Videos will also be muted unless users tap the volume control.

Banana Republic’s ad, embedded below, used Facebook’s Hyperlapse app to create the video. You can view other ads at Ad Week.

 

With the constant stream of news coming out of the online marketing industry, it can be hard to keep up with all the latest updates without missing some important information. That’s why we compile all the biggest stories you may have missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. Let’s get started:

Facebook’s Premium Video Ads Could Cost $1 Million a Day

Facebook is attempting to walk the tight rope between monetizing through ads and not overwhelming users with constant advertisements in the news feed. But, as Facebook keeps introducing new ways to advertise on their platform, the ad space is quickly becoming crowded. New reports indicate Facebook may be attempting to manage the shifting balance between ads and user content by pricing “premium” advertising features well out of reach for smaller businesses.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the upcoming “Premium Video Ads”, set to launch in the next few months, will likely cost around $1 million per day, and will initially be limited to a small group of advertisers. If you have a subscription, you can read the full story from Wall Street Journal, but Martin Beck also summarizes the rumors at Marketing Land.

Facebook Announces New Upcoming Video Metrics

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On the topic of Facebook’s method of handling video content on their platform, the social media giant also announced new metrics within Page Insights and Ads Reporting will be coming soon. This way, Page owners will be more able to analyze how users are responding to their videos, and how they may be able to improve their content.

The new metrics include more detailed view counts that will show the total number of video views, as well as the number of individual people who have watched, measurements of audience retention through the length of the video, and a breakdown of the demographics engaging with video content. Facebook’s announcement says the metrics will be available for all paid and organic videos uploaded directly to Facebook Pages, and they will be gradually rolling out in the next few weeks.

Bing is Testing Search Results Without Underlined Links

Usually Bing tries to distinguish themselves from Google as much as possible, but several people have reported that Microsoft is testing search results without underlining hyperlinks. This comes just weeks after Google officially redesigned their own search results pages around larger links without underlining.

Bing is constantly testing small changes such as this to see what users respond to, but it is hard to not feel like this test is particularly inspired by Google’s recent moves. However, it is important to remember that Bing’s non-underlined links are just a test for the moment, and not a final widespread change. You can see the version of the search results without underlines being tested below.

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Google Says New Parents Perform Twice as Many Searches as Non-Parents

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A recent survey from Google’s Think Insights says that new and expecting parents perform 2.7 times the number of online searches as non-parents. The survey also says that 56 percent of maternity-related searches come from a mobile device.

According to Google’s analysis of the survey and their own data, they claim parents are trusting the internet more and more for child advice, as baby- and parent-related searches are on an upward trajectory. For a detailed breakdown of what Google says parents are searching for, head over to Think Insights’ report.

Google Maps Now Shows Uber Ride Options, Lane Navigation, and More

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Google Maps is in the process of rolling out several new features for the iPhone and Android app, including more detailed driving directions such as lane navigation which tells you if it is important to switch lanes to stay on the right path. Google Maps also announced integration with Uber, the burgeoning ride service which connects people in need of transportation with available drivers.

According to the announcement, those who already have the Uber app downloaded will be able to compare ride times against walking directions within Google Maps, so you always know what the most efficient transportation option is. Those are just two of several new features Google is unveiling, which are all further explained here.

 

Film Camera

Source: Flickr

One of the most hated forms of internet advertising are videos that auto-play when you open a webpage. You might be surfing the internet, listening to some music, and suddenly the voice from an ad starts clashing with the song or blaring in the middle of a library. Yet these ads are all over the internet and Facebook has decide to make them a part of your News Feed. Are you cringing? Well, don’t worry. They made one important tweak which will make the experience much less annoying.

The social media giant announced today that they will begin testing News Feed video ads that auto-play when you scroll over them. The testing is going to be for a limited number of accounts during the test, but the ads will be very similar to the way user videos are shown in the feed. Search Engine Journal notes that Facebook began recrafting their video experience in September, making changes to make the experience more similar to Instagram. All you have to do is scroll past the video and it begins playing without a single click.

So what keeps these videos from being a huge annoyance? The videos don’t have sound unless you click to unmute it or expand the video you want to see. Facebook is keeping this functionality for their ads, so user experience won’t be disrupted by the tidal wave of ads playing over each other as you scroll down your feed. You can also bet advertisers will be crafting their ads around this functionality.

Facebook explained they don’t intend this format to be used for every video ad, and it is entirely different from promoting a post with a video in it. From their announcement:

This premium feature is specifically designed for awareness campaigns that are meant to reach a large number of people to increase interest in a brand, product or content, in a short period of time. Page post video ads can then come into play to sustain the message of this initial campaign over longer time periods, in more targeted ways.

Currently, the video ad units will only be shown from a limited number of individuals and pages, such as sports organizations or entertainers. Facebook also heavily stressed that the ads are currently only a test and the brand will make long term decisions based on what is learned from the test.

Facebook reportedly began gauging the interest of advertisers in video ad units about 6-months ago and now, as Ginny Marvin reports for Marketing Land, they appear ready to roll out video ads to newsfeeds by July.

The video ads are expected to be available for all platforms, desktop, tablet and smartphones, and at a lower CPM for broadcast television ads. However, detractors have already started wondering aloud how users will react to more ads in their newsfeed. Especially a concern about how autoplay videos will effect the site’s load times, especially for smartphone users.

Advertisers will certainly be clamoring for the ad space in the early going, but we’ll wait and see if it becomes a proven commodity.