Digital ad spend surpassed TV spend for the first time in 2016, and additional ad spend on video ad units and content is projected to accelerate even further in the next few years.

Social platforms are a vital component of a strong video strategy.  As of Q1 2017, just over 50% of brands in L2’s recent Video study deployed video on all four of the major platforms analyzed–Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat–while another 47.5% deployed on all but Snapchat.

Although brands seem to agree on a general deployment strategy, approaches to content diverge. Some brands, for example, can bank on their existing TV spend to boost digital video organically, while others view digital channels as a distinct area for investment and create bespoke content to spark engagement online. Content strategies produce varying levels of viewership and engagement, with a common goal of maximizing ROI for video content.

L2’s analysis of 60,000 videos, 293 video campaigns, and 201 brands across Activewear, Auto, Beauty, Consumer Electronics, CPG, Fashion, Financial Services, Retail, and Travel, identifies seven key variables that brands must take into consideration when creating and distributing video content for optimal impact. These include:

Paid Reach: Facebook outpaces the competition in its ability to offer a vast, global audience that enables brands to pay for broad reach and awareness.

Organic Reach: Instagram has the most opportunity to drive engagement organically, with Snapchat following closely behind. Brands can also gain organic reach through YouTube, which registered a 19% organic view rate during Q1 2017.

Duration: While the overall trend is toward shorter and shorter videos, longer videos can still garner a high number views and strong engagement, particularly on YouTube, if built around tentpole content and supported by ad spend.

Cadence: A consistent publishing cadence should be maintained on Snapchat and Instagram, while YouTube and Facebook lend themselves to tentpole content.

Mobile: While the vast majority of video is now consumed on mobile devices, some platforms draw more mobile video traffic than average. Mobile video optimization is particularly important on Snapchat and Instagram.

TV Halo Effect: Brands that make large investments in TV and then deploy digital video assets digitally benefit from an organic halo effect, especially on YouTube.

Core Demographic: While millennials over-index on most social media properties, not all sites have the same ability to reach this coveted audience in such a targeted fashion. In particular, Snapchat can help brands reach young consumers.


L2 identified several key considerations around which brands should build their video strategies: distribution of spend, platform-dependent content deployment, and the blending of paid and organic strategies. For example, brands seeking organic reach should prioritize Instagram and YouTube, while brands looking to buy a large volume of views should rely on Facebook.

The third L2 Intelligence: Video report analyzes 60,000 videos, 293 video campaigns, and 201 brand sites, and surveys the videos brands are deploying across social, site, mobile, and TV, to determine which platforms and strategies drive the most engagement.

Despite the fact that a slim majority of brands deploy on all four major video platforms, leader brands are aware that each platform has a distinct value proposition and create content accordingly.

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