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April 24, 2017

According to eMarketer, digital video advertising is set to grow at annual double-digit rates through 2020. As video creative becomes the norm rather than the exception, advertisers must learn to cope with a new set of challenges that emerge as a result.

One major challenge of video advertising? How to get your message across to a prospect that is most likely watching with their sound turned off.

In the past, media such as television commercials and radio ads heavily relied on sound as a primary storytelling tool. In digital advertising, we are seeing a shift back a medium almost reminiscent of silent films, in which advertisers must be able to tell a story without the guarantee of someone listening.

How widespread is sound-free listening behavior? The numbers speak for themselves:

  • 80% of people react negatively when video ads play loudly (source
  • 85% of Facebook video content is watched without sound (source

These remarkable statistics illustrate the importance sound – or more accurately, lack of sound – plays in digital advertising.

Given the new era of storytelling we’re entering, here are three best practices to find success with mobile video ads in a sound-free world:


1. Include Captions

Including captions on Facebook increases view time by 12%
From a Wired article: “Facebook says that including captions on video ads increases the amount of time people spend watching them. The company also recommends that advertisers show captions, logos, and products in ads, especially in the first few seconds.”

Facebook’s own studies show a 12% lift in view time with captions on, and we’ve seen instances where captions make a greater impact than this and help drive lower CPAs.

The process for including captions in Facebook videos is quite easy, with auto-generation generally being good enough so that you’ll only need make a few manual corrections.

2. Share Your Main Message Quickly

74% of ad recall impact is delivered in the first 10 seconds
A Nielsen + Facebook study found that key pillars of performance – Ad Recall, Brand Awareness, and Purchase Intent – are all most impacted by the first 10 seconds of a video.Whereas video production for other mediums may prioritize dramatic buildups and storylines, the implications of this research suggest that this is not the approach to take for mobile video. Rather, front-loading your video with your most important messages first is critical for success.

3. Re-engage Video Viewers

Engagement Custom Audiences let you continue with your message
A relatively new audience offering, Page Engagement Custom Audiences allow you to target specific Facebook users based on how they’ve interacted with ads or content attached to your page recently. Think of it as retargeting based on Facebook-specific behavior.One of these categories available for targeting is video behavior. If you’ve run videos without captions in the past, here’s your chance to reach those same users again. Or, you can try sound and information heavy videos on users who have watched over 75% of past videos, hoping you’ll have earned their trust to turn the sound on.
The bottom line? Performance is possible without sound 
This is welcome news for advertisers faced with audiences who overwhelmingly view ads without sound off. As has been the case with much of creative on new ad channels, advertisers must adapt and not be tied to rules of sound-heavy, high-production videos that once were standard. Those who evolve quickly will be rewarded with creatives that balance accommodating changing user behavior and also still manage to drive performance.



Interested in taking your mobile advertising strategy to the next level? Learn more about Bamboo’s mobile advertising expertise and services >

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