“Ask L2” is a weekly series where we answer questions about all things digital.

Question: We want to be a leader in video. What should we do?

With wide range of platforms and rising consumer usage, digital has maximized the impact and scale of video. To benefit from this, brands must first decide where the video will be placed – which will in turn determine quality and length. For example, Snapchat videos are more authentic and casual relative to Instagram, and can be of lower production quality. Facebook videos achieve the highest engagement rates when shorter than 15 seconds, YouTube video ads perform better when long-form.


For smaller brands, the high cost of creating videos (multiples of creating photo and other content) can be a barrier to entry. However, user-generated content (UGC) (see last week’s Ask L2 post) can supply brands with original video content at a minimal cost. Events can also be a gold mine for videos, and are often underleveraged. For example, leader in the video space Chanel created four YouTube videos in addition to its Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show broadcast: a highlight reel, an interview with Creative Director and Head Designer Karl Lagerfeld, and two behind-the-scenes pieces focused on the fashion show and the collection. While the cost to produce the videos were high, this strategy extended the life of the event and amplified the brand’s reach. Chanel’s original fashion show broadcast accrued more than 709,000 views and all five videos combined amassed 1.1 million views, 66% of which were achieved organically.


With organic reach limited on larger social platforms, brands are able to get the desired reach through advertisements. On YouTube, 75% of videos with more than 47,500 views benefited from TrueView in-stream advertising, which accounted for approximately two-thirds of the overall views. Additionally, on Facebook, Specialty Retail brands that advertised videos experienced the greatest uplift in shares—1,356% vs. 619% for photo posts. High-engagement, shareable content drives not only organic reach, but also paid reach at a more efficient CPM.


As the shift to a mobile-first world continues, new video opportunities have become available. Vertical videos, which were popularized by Snapchat, are beginning to extend to other platforms like Facebook. In July 2016, Charlotte Tilbury reformatted YouTube Beauty video assets for Facebook’s new Canvas video ad format aimed at mobile viewers. Charlotte Tilbury activated targeted Canvas ads for to promote its Hot Lips collection featuring celebrities such as Emily Ratajkowski and Miranda Kerr. The mix of photo and video full-screen content was also shoppable, effectively closing the loop between video content and commerce.


However, as brands explore new technological opportunities, they should proceed with caution. In September 2015, Facebook released its 360 Video, a virtual 360-degree viewing experience, which required specific video equipment, resulting in lackluster adoption. This new feature accounted for just 0.41% of video uploads in Q1 2016 and garnered an average engagement rate of just 2.19%.

While this answer only scratches the surface of the video opportunities available, more findings can be found in the L2 Intelligence Report: Video 2016.


Submit a question for L2

Daily Insights in Your Inbox