“The ‘build-it-once, run-it-everywhere’ model of advertising is no longer relevant,” declared Adaptly’s Rob Kabrovski at a breakfast briefing hosted by Adaptly last week, at Soho House in central London.

Stressing the need for brands to “really shift the gears when it comes to packaging their stories”, Kabrovski also highlighted declining user attention spans and the implications this has for advertisers. 

“Facebook mobile users only spend 1.7 seconds on any given piece of content,” he warned, pointing to the importance of customisation, particularly for Millennials. UK social media users stay 25% longer with ads they feel are relevant to their individual needs but advertisers have to remember that content is published and consumed differently across each of the major platforms. Kabrovski explained that people turn to Pinterest for inspiration; Twitter for getting in on the conversation; Snapchat for fun and quirky content; Facebook to connect with peers, and Instagram for posting beautiful photos in a more curated way.

A recurrent theme of the morning was the importance of mobile, as well as the habitual or repetitive nature of social media consumption, with consumers often logging in numerous times a day. 

Opening up to a panel comprising Ed Couchman, Facebook’s Director of Agency Partnerships; Deborah Holloway, Social Media Manager at Clarins; and Blue 449 Business Director, Juliet Du Vivier, the debate then focused on ‘snackable versus long-form’ content and how to ensure creative works effectively across platforms, with results being measured as accurately as possible. 

Clarins’ Holloway pointed out that she receives long-form content from the company’s global team, which has been built for TV first. It’s her role to move forward into social, building shorter-form content which will resonate. “That is such a huge challenge,” she admitted. 

But it is ”indeed possible and fundamentally important” to repurpose content across platforms, added Couchman. And, with consumers seemingly scrolling faster and faster, he admitted that it’s tough for brands to capture attention. 

While traditional TV ads have a “narrative arc”, mobile has much more of “a pulse”, he added. 

Broadly speaking, around 70% of content on Facebook is short and snackable - consumed on the go. A remaining 20% is more “lean in”, taking up maybe five or ten minutes, whilst 10% is “lean back”, or long-form. 

Blue 449’s Du Vivier added that, while Facebook can provide a huge amount of data about customers, what is needed today more than ever, to create effective brand messages, is a variety of content. 

When it came to the ongoing industry debate around viewability, Coachman stressed that there is still a discussion to be had around duration, given that “length doesn’t necessarily mean impact”. 

“The whole industry needs to come together to have this conversation about duration,” he said, adding that, “the Facebook philosophy is one of choice”.

Admitting that the industry is generally quite bad at sequential, Couchman also declared that mobile is, in his view, “under-hyped”. He went on to predict that we will see more focus on episodic content, built with the mobile format in mind. “Think about what a show on mobile would look like, if produced by Shine or Endemol,” he said. “Can we put some of the great creative minds to use?”

Finally, Couchman described Instagram Stories, now a year old, as “largely underused by advertisers”, predicting too that Facebook Live will grow in popularity. “It offers brands first mover advantage”, he said, as well as an opportunity to showcase uniqueness and to offer behind the scenes access.

“You can’t be innovative by waiting for someone else to do it first,” added Kabrovski.

Having been focused on a test and learn approach over the last two years, Holloway then added that she plans to “go bigger and bolder and really make a statement” going forward.

“You need to go out there with a bang so that you get people talking,” she said. 

“In this era of information overload, the story is the starting point, not data. You just need to ask yourself, would you watch this?”


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

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