Facebook’s first UK premium video advertiser says it will use it again

Facebook’s first ever UK Premium Video advertiser Comparethemarket.com has said it is prepared to use the format again after its first campaign achieved better than expected lifts in brand metrics.

Comparethemarket.com’s Facebook Premium Video ad.

Comparethemarket launched its Premium Video ad at the end of August to support its major TV push, which saw its brand ambassador meerkats on holiday in Africa. The ads were designed to build affection for a new meerpup character and drive desire for consumers to take out an insurance policy in order to redeem the toy.

Premium Video ads work across desktop and mobile and play automatically without sound as a user scrolls through their News Feed. If the video is clicked, it becomes full-screen and begins to play with sound. At the end of the playback, a carousel featuring two additional videos appears.

The ads are bought in a similar way to TV spots and are based on gross rating points, in order to reach a specific audience over a short period of time. They are measured by Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings tool and marketers only pay based on what the independent third party research house measures.

Comparethemarket had paid to reach 5.6 million of Facebook’s 26 million UK daily active users within a 24-hour period, but in the end 9.7 million people saw the ad. The notched up 5.15 million video views – plays lasting for three seconds or more – and the video was viewed to 95 per cent of its length 1.95 million times. Some 90 per cent of those views were on mobile.

Nielsen data showed there was a 13 point lift in ad recall – from 10 per cent to 23 per cent – versus a baseline group, which the research house deems “significant” and Comparethemarket says was “better than anticipated”.

Comparethemarket says the campaign has also led to improvements in other brand metrics. The comparison site says its performance on Google has improved, leading to improving click volumes to its website. Website visits are up over 50 per cent year on year, the company says.

Gareth Jones, Comparethemarket’s associate director of marketing, planning, digital and direct, told Marketing Week the success of its first Premium Video ad means the brand is likely to use it again.

He adds: “It proved to be a lovely blend of creativity – enabling us to tell a more immersive story about baby Oleg – and media effectiveness. Most importantly, we have been able to build a closer relationship with people on Facebook through the use of more relevant messaging, targeting and data.”

Facebook UK and Ireland regional director Steve Hatch told Marketing Week marketers have become increasingly interested in using Facebook for their video content – both paid-for and organic.

He says that is partly due to Facebook’s 26 million daily active users watching more video on the platform. Between 1 June to 1 September more than 17 million videos related to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge were shared to Facebook. Video views on the platform grew 50 per cent year on year in the May to July period.

Hatch also cites its scale, focus on mobile, the ability to target by “people not pixels”, being able to measure activity across devices and the opportunity to deliver “structured storytelling” via the platform’s other ad products as reasons why marketers are seeking out more video opportunities on Facebook than before.

Last weekend 20th Century Fox became the second advertiser to trial Premium Video, with an ad to promote its new film franchise The Maze Runner.