Online Marketing has grown rapidly. Too rapidly? That might be debatable. However, there is no doubt that the avenues and strategies have diversified over the years. There was a time when SEO and Google Analytics were the only boards in the game, so to speak. With the mass popularity of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, among others, the social media marketing game has evolved. This is particularly true for image and video advertising on these platforms.
Given the prevalence of the use of visual elements for ads, is there a marked difference between them? Is using still imagery more effective than full motion video? Is using the Facebook built-in video tools better than linking to a YouTube video? These are questions that online marketing professionals should ponder. Fortunately, we have some answers!
Social Media is a Visual Medium
Ever since the internet had become available for the masses, visual elements have become a staple for any website. It is natural, as humans are creatures that are mainly visually stimulated. However, the limits of bandwidths and processing speed kept videos to a minimum. Still imagery was the main method of promotion.
That was then. Today, it is an entirely different ballgame.
Although Facebook is not the first social media platform that heavily utilized imagery (the defunct-but-fondly-remembered Friendster and MySpace did it years before), it is certainly one of its core strengths. How successful this has been for the platform is beyond a shadow of a doubt.
62% of online marketing pros are convinced that Facebook is the most powerful social media channel for business. That is a very strong statement in how much opportunity Facebook provides for marketing. However, you might be surprised that organic reach is below 20% on the average. This is why an effective ad campaign and strategy is of utmost priority.
Still Images vs. Video: which is Better?
This is where the use of images and video come into play. As we noted earlier, humans are a visual beast. But there is an internal debate as to whether the use of video is actually more effective than still images.
While it is easy to assume that video gets more engagement, that is actually not the case. This is not to say the reverse is true, either.
Surprisingly, there is very little difference between the preferences between still image plus text vs. video plus audio ads. This basically implies that it is not the format that determines engagement. More to the point, it emphasizes that you cannot rely on one over the other as a social media marketing specialist.
What should be emphasized more is getting a well-thought out and executed marketing strategy. Designing and implementing a versatile marketing campaign is essential. That matters more in aiming for ROI (Return of Investment), not simply a question of still images vs. video.
Businesses with a limited budget should find this fact a relief. As small and medium enterprises cannot field the same budget as the bigger corporations, they can focus more on using the tools available for marketing. This also puts into perspective how social media marketers should have a more varied skillset. Therefore, a social media marketer that relies on video ads only is losing out on opportunities.
Key Strategies for Using Social Media Visuals
As still imagery and video are still neck-and-neck with their ability to engage and convert the audience, there are key elements that can be used for both. Here are a few of them to get you started or to refresh your memory in building your own campaigns:
- Simplicity is Beauty – Whether you use a stock image with text or a high production value video, the content should be simple. They should be easy to understand and time efficient. After all, if the message is too complicated, most of the target audience will lose interest. Likewise, if the video is too long, it will leave a bad impression. It’s an ad, not a movie.
- English, Please – If you are targeting a specific region or nationality, then not using English can be forgiven. However, if you really want to get the most reach in the quickest time, then English (preferably North American or Traditional UK English) should be used. Beyond personal biases, this is simply a matter of practicality. This is true whether it is static text, audio, or subtitles.
- Interesting Point – You can make a very attractive image or video ad and if it does not offer something unique, people will scroll past it. Regardless of the product or service you are marketing, it should engage your audience. Do not fall into the trap some marketers use which are “one size fits all” ads. Because there is no such thing.
On that note, I cannot stress how good Rachel Miller’s Facebook Moolah Marketing course is for this topic. As it is constantly updated, new strategies and techniques for maximizing visuals in your ads are included. Check out the full review, right here! For more news, information, and tips on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media marketing, keep following this page regularly!