A sound strategy: why brands need to start thinking about silent video

There was a time when people seemed to get angry about autoplay video, with Fairfax in Australia getting a kicking a few years back. Now it seems to be part of the online furniture. Instagram and Facebook launched auotplay video in 2013 and Twitter has also just announced it. But as those videos don’t play with sound unless users click on them, brands and publishers are adapting to an era of silence—and, just as some have done with pre-roll ads, they’re starting to find some creative solutions. 

One of the best examples is a recent campaign from Hotels.com and Crispin, Porter and Bogusky, which, with the help of its mascot Captain Obvious, aims to show the unintended benefits of Facebook’s autoplay silence. 

According to Mashable, the agency said “the first of the two garnered five times more engagement than the agency’s average brand ad, and the comments section has been overwhelmingly positive”. And the second ad featuring the unnecessary interpreter has an added benefit: it promotes sign language and offers up a free voucher for those in the know. 

Plenty of other brands are starting to use techniques like animation, cinemagraphs and stop-motion to capture more attention on these soundless social platforms. And according to Digiday, publishers like NowThis, Fusion and Vox are also using videos with text overlays that work just as well without audio (or, to use knobby marketing speak, they’re ‘volume-agnostic’). 

Chief executive of Decoded Advertising, Matt Rednor, predicted 80 percent of brand content on Facebook in 2015 will be video, so brands need to consider silent video in their plans for 2015.  

And if you were wondering about the current rate of video consumption, Mary Meeker’s fantastic State of the Internet report delves into it, with Facebook video views up by four times in the past six months and user-generated video going gangbusters. 

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