Short-burst video is worth an eyeball but don’t lose sight of the ROI

There are always new kids on the social media block and right now the latest gang in town are the image-led platforms that reach audiences via apps and include Snapchat, Twitter’s Vine and Facebook’s Instagram. What they have in common is that they offer the ability to easily share very short clips of video content or still images – and in Snapchat’s case imagery that only exists for a few seconds before self-deleting. Welcome to the world of instant or short-burst marketing.


Yes, there are 10-second ads and ‘stings’ on linear TV and pre-roll video but the new proposition is short-burst video served up fast and furious to people when in a sociable mindset on devices to which they have a strong personal attachment.

It is only right that marketers investigate, test and try to get the measure of new channels and technologies that could help marketing innovation, aided by their agencies. Youth-focused brands such as Lynx, MTV UK, Topshop and O2 are already experimenting with the instant marketing form and finding some success with tactics such as quick response competitions. You can read more about what brands are doing with this channel in our essential read here.

But many marketers are still trying to work out the best ways of leveraging the last wave of social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. After chairing a recent roundtable on social media, it’s apparent that marketers are still struggling to link their activity in this area directly back to return on investment. The ability of social media to boost reach and position the brand at the front of people’s minds is well-established but an agreed measurable connection to the bottom line is still elusive – despite the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recent study of three FMCG brands that showed for every £1 spent on social media, a potential value of £3.34 can be generated in terms of repeat sales.

So, the short-burst video campaigns offer two challenges straight away. Brands can measure engagement in terms of numbers actually opening and viewing content but a strong ROI measurement will be a test of ingenuity. Also, marketers will have to figure out the balance between the brand message or call to action and the amusing, informative or eyebrow-raising content in these brief clips and images.

Both problems will have to be solved if the new platforms are not to see their marketing promise vanish as rapidly as a Snapchat image.

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