What is the winning formula for creating effective video for social media? Trunki marketer Adam Snowden shared his thoughts with Skylark’s Creative Director James Sampson at a recent sit-down. From cause-related to topical advertising, here are our key takeaways from the chat. You can watch the full videos here. 

Build up your video assets and optimise depending on your social media platform 

Duration is key. Don’t blow your budget on just one long-form video. Create a library of video assets and snippets off the back of that one video and distribute it accordingly. Adam adds, ‘People want to see a teaser on Facebook and then they’ll go to YouTube to type in and watch the whole long version.’ The average attention span on Facebook is 3 seconds – that’s less than a goldfish! 

Ride the coat tails of viral hashtags. 

Though obvious, planning is essential to getting this right. It’s easy for Social Media Managers to fire off a tweet in response to a topical subject, but it’s also possible to incorporate this into video. Adam says, ‘Social media is instantaneous. If you look at hashtags, what’s trending, you can create video content or adverts by latching on a topical event or hashtag. You can get potentially thousands or possibly millions of organic views that’s not costing you anything just because you’ve managed to capitalise on the right thing at the right time.’  

Don’t be afraid to change the format.   

Research shows that videos of up to two minutes long hold viewers’ attention before dropping off. Attention picks up again for videos between 6-12 minutes long. One brand decided to go to the extreme to illustrate its tagline. Dollar Shave Club’s ‘Life can be dull but your blade shouldn’t be’ ad went for the ultimate long-form, an hour-long video of a man sat behind his desk filling a jar full of Jelly Beans. Whether viewers actually watched the entire video remains to be seen. But for Dollar Shave Club, they got the point across – life can indeed be dull. 

Taking some responsibility. 

Cause-related marketing has been on the minds of many marketers this side of 2019. Consumers respond better to brands that display corporate responsibility, something that James believes is on the rise. ‘Airbnb harnessed the message of inclusivity which is really hot right now’ citing its controversial ‘We Accept’ ad which promoted cultural diversity and inclusivity shortly after President Trump announced the temporary closure of its borders. Be mindful of the risks though – Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner-fronted protest ad failed to move its audience due to its lack of authenticity. 

Time to ditch product-based videos? 

James cites Dollar Shave Company as one that’s hit the sweet spot when it comes to impactful videos. ‘It’s the go-to example when a company says I want to do something a bit different, poke fun at myself and look cool at the same time.’ Comedy triumphed over actual shots of the product in this 90-second ad which to date, has attracted nearly 30 million views. 


Jo Dec 6th, 2018

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.