The notion that video is exclusively an online marketing format has dominated the discourse surrounding video advertising in recent years however regardless of the mode of delivery – be it via laptop, mobile or television – video benefits from a long history of activating user engagement and is arguably one of the most versatile advertising formats in modern marketing. For instance, it is the only format that can be used in both above and below the line media.

It has been sixty-two years since Britain’s first TV advert aired on ITV for Gibbs S.R. Toothpaste. The 60-second-spot and its print consort was arguably one of the first ever cross-channel advertising campaigns. Not unlike modern-day digital advertising and its techniques, this new and innovative format brought with it an avalanche of controversy.

In today’s fragmented media environment, where online video consumption is growing expeditiously, marketers must craft and execute a cohesive multi-screen, cross-channel video marketing strategy to keep up with consumer expectations.

There have always been hurdles to fulfilling this. Historically, producing TV commercials demanded a significant investment of time and capital, and the advent of online videos seemed to offer a more cost-effective alternative. Despite being cheaper, early Facebook videos came with their own problems with an initial deluge of poor quality video content and a deficit of social advertising expertise, problems that have since been ironed out leaving video a successful and essential tool in Facebook’s advertising arsenal.

Concerns were raised earlier this year when Facebook’s news feed changes rocked the digital advertising world and marketers worried that the accepted balance between TV and online videos would be disrupted, returning the advantage back to TV advertising.

Yet, of these changes, it seems that video now represents the biggest opportunity for continued Facebook advertising growth, with its new and engaging paid media formats like in-stream video ads. As such, advertisers can expect to see the growth of Facebook Live and Facebook Watch for organically reaching audiences with paid content versus organic posts.

Additionally, the feedback loop and audience insights available on Facebook provide considerably more advantages over TV—marketers can take an agile approach to test and learn before scaling up. There are a few other areas where Facebook excels over TV that marketers can benefit from targeting, interactivity and measurement. Because of Facebook’s social, mobile, digital framework, and massive reach of 2.1 billion people, these benefits just aren’t possible with media buys on TV.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of Facebook video advertising to see how you can build the most effective cross-channel strategy:

1. Video creative

TV ads typically revolve around product features, applications and benefits. In theory, given Facebook’s audience targeting capabilities, the same approach should work however it isn’t how social media users expect or want brands to engage with them on the platform. Social, derived from the Latin term socius meaning friend, provides a small clue into how brands should be shaping their video creative briefs for social advertising.

It is common for advertisers to fail to take into account the qualitative difference between TV and social video advertising creative when developing video content social ads. Rooted in the inability to break from traditional product-centric advertising methods, this puts advertisers at a huge disadvantage. So, it is no surprise that 88% of advertisers foresee the creation of quality creative as their biggest video advertising challenge for 2018.

2. Targeting

Advertisers need to maintain a clear view of what’s driving users to their brand and key to this is a well-balanced, cross-channel approach to their advertising strategy

The declining influence of organic posts on Facebook means marketers will focus more heavily on paid strategies especially video ads and the wealth of psychographic, demographic, and first-party data matching options available allow marketers to reach very precise audiences with video content. With TV, media buyers are more limited to reaching people based on the types of shows they’re watching and time of day but when an ad is run in conjunction with a below the line campaign can see a 40% increase in effectiveness.

3. Interactivity

Video is not just red hot due to its massive popularity. According to Animoto, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video. With that statistic alone, it’s definitely time for advertisers to ramp up their video advertising.

Once people have engaged with your video content, you can create Facebook Custom Audiences, in conjunction with your Video Ads, allowing you to reach people who’ve interacted with your brand, online or offline, with personalised content. This means that Facebook marketers can take an interactive approach to the media planning and buying process by aligning video formats with a compelling narrative to drive conversion.

At the moment TV is lagging behind. Although you can continue to buy commercials for specific channels to reach people based on the type of entertainment and channels they prefer, you can’t be 100% confident you’re reaching that exact person. There have been several forays into interactive ads, especially since the invention of smart TVs but the as yet there’s no definitive solution – perhaps with the introduction of 4K and 8K TVs this could change!

4. Measurement and optimisation

Video ads on Facebook provide marketers with instant insights, such as how long people watched for, demographic insights of who interacted, and ultimately whether or not your video impacted a conversion online or off. This allows marketers to take an agile test-and-learn approach to determine which videos are performing the best and then scale budget upwards.

In broadcast TV, Nielsen’s ratings are the de facto performance measurement, capable of providing statistical conversion lift insights. Although data isn’t available immediately, when combined with an online campaign it is possible to see inferred benefits including an increase in brand recall, uplift in website traffic and boosted ROI but exact attribution isn’t possible.

In summary, while Facebook and other online channels do have unique, instant insights and targeting that make them a very attractive proposition, applying a cross-channel strategy means that you can use audience data from one channel to inform and optimise campaigns on another.

Cross-channel is all about creating more touchpoints for brands to create an even bigger opportunity to target users at the right time. It’s rare for a customer to convert the very first time they see an ad, so applying a cross-channel strategy, making the most of search and social data and applying insights to your TV advertising too, not only increases the chance of exposure but allows customers to decide which channel they prefer to engage in, which in turn, is more likely to result in higher conversions.

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