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IRUK Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

IRUK Top500 The Customer Report: 2018

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GUEST OPINION How social video advertising is driving results in retail

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GUEST OPINION How social video advertising is driving results in retail
GUEST OPINION How social video advertising is driving results in retail
Social video is one of the fastest-growing content types across the internet, particularly when it comes to social media on mobile. So how can you make this work for your retail business? Lauren Evans, Director, Global Marketing at Kenshoo explains.

500 million people watch videos on Facebook every day, viewing each for at least 30 seconds, which leads to a 40% lift in ad recall, according to a recent Nielsen study. No wonder that Cisco predicts that mobile video will make up 75% of all mobile data traffic by 2020.

Given this accelerating trend, video advertising on social media is also growing fast, particularly in the retail sector. It doesn’t just build brand, but can directly drive conversions and sales – Kenshoo found that conversion rates on video ads tripled between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016. In addition, according to Facebook, “60% of Instagrammers say they learn about products and services on Instagram and 75% say they take action after being inspired by an Instagram post — like visiting a website, searching, shopping for or telling a friend.”

Backing this up, a recent test of social video ads by a Kenshoo retail customer found that ROI on video ads was 3x higher than standard formats. It is therefore no surprise that according to eMarketer video advertising will make up nearly 20% of digital ad spend in 2016, with rates of growth that are significantly outpacing other ad types.

Introducing dynamic product ads

One of the key drivers behind product advertising on social is Facebook’s dynamic product ads feature. Designed specifically for retailers, and originally introduced in early 2015, dynamic ads provide an effective, automated way for retailers to promote their entire product inventory on Facebook using images and video.

Retailers simply connect their online product feed to their Facebook ad accounts and Facebook essentially does the rest. It automatically pulls information such as product IDs, names, landing page, images, videos and descriptions from your product feed and dynamically generates ads for individual products showing them to relevant audiences. So far over 2.5 billion products have been uploaded to the format.

This removes the overhead of manually creating individual ads, and, provided your product feed is up to date, it will only display ads for items that are in stock, minimising wastage. Within a single ad unit you can display a single product image or video, or use a carousel of up to 10 images/videos. For a clothing retailer you could show a shirt in various colours or a range of similar style dresses or a cosmetics company could display a full range of related skincare products. In our experience between three and five linked products in a carousel produces the best results.

By making it simple for retailers to display their full inventory to Facebook users, dynamic ads open up new opportunities for sales, matching the right product to those that will be interested in it. Such has been its success that dynamic ads were introduced to Instagram in April 2016.

Driving product sales

As with all Facebook ad formats, retailers benefit from a wide range of targeting options with dynamic product ads. You can select people based on their interests, likes or demographic profile, or target custom audiences from your own database or marketing lists.

The format is proving particularly useful for retargeting customers that have visited your website or app. You can track the product pages people have viewed, how many times they have visited specific pages, what they’ve purchased (and the value of the sale), and what has been added to their shopping baskets but not yet checked out through Facebook’s custom audiences pixel. Retailers can then target consumers with personalised ads based on their behaviour, helping to increase conversion rates with relevant information or offers.

Creating successful video campaigns

Facebook introduced video carousel ads for Instagram in May 2016, allowing retailers to use all the same dynamic product ad targeting options to reach the 400 million users of the network, as on Facebook itself. Retailers can run carousels with up to five videos, or a combination of videos and images, that viewers can swipe through.

Given this accelerating trend, how can retailers ensure they are creating successful video advertising on social media? There are five key points to focus on:
  • Most videos are viewed with the sound off. Therefore ensure that your ad is immediately understandable without requiring a voice over.

  • Capture attention quickly. As with every ad format you need to engage quickly with the viewer before they scroll away. In a carousel format you want them to be interested enough to swipe to the next video for example.

  • Tell a story. The carousel format lends itself to storytelling – engage audiences then build to a crescendo through the different images and video ads you display.

  • Create bespoke content for social media. Re-using existing video content, such as TV ads, often fails to engage on social media. Also bear in mind the different expectations of users on Instagram (a network built on visuals), and Facebook, and ensure you are providing the right content on each. Of course, ensure that content is mobile-optimised and easily viewable on a smartphone screen.

  • Have a clear call to action. Experiment with different CTAs but link them to specific things that you want consumers to do, such as download an app, click-through to a website or take advantage of a special offer.


Video is moving into the mainstream on social media, with an expanding audience of mobile consumers happy to watch and engage with video ads. To succeed in mobile video, retailers need to understand the options available on sites such as Facebook and Instagram, particularly around dynamic product ads and carousels, where they have a wealth of powerful the targeting options - and create focused content that drives conversions and sales.
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