Mobile activity on Facebook spikes during TV commercial breaks – company promises to boost transparency

Facebook wants to focus on added transparency and new measurement options across its mobile advertising business, following a recent survey by the social media giant which suggests that mobile users scroll through their news feed 41% faster than desktop users.

Facebook analysed 537 peoples’ behaviours during commercial breaks of a TV show season premiere. It found that during each advertising break, social media site activity went up.

It also noted that auto-play videos on Facebook, which occur around 70% of the time due to people’s device settings, were viewed an average 16.7 seconds. News Feed videos fetch an average 5.7 seconds.

However, with individual session times down, advertisers are having to put their cash into campaigns that are going to be worth it. That’s why Facebook has created a playbook to help solve these challenges.

These are the company’s top best practices for mobile video ads:

  • Build brand new, short-form, mobile creative. Ensure the video rewards people’s attention and tells its story, even if only the first few seconds are watched. Use mobile native tools, techniques and styles to echo the organic content people like to see.
  • Re-organise to test and measure adverts on a weekly cycle, not every six months. Build organisations that can deliver quality creative inexpensively and at short notice. Align creative, measurement and media teams to connect and work together as a single team. We recognise this can be a formidable challenge, but mobile is evolving too quickly for a traditional, fragmented approach to work well.
  • Don’t try to equate disparate platforms. Each new mobile format (e.g. News Feed, Stories, advert breaks, TrueView) has different consumer expectations and behaviours. Be careful of false equivalences or standards between them that can blind your organisation to their unique nature. For example, a guaranteed ten-second advert break requires different creative than a video in a feed that may be seen for six seconds by the average person, but for 30 seconds by 10% of the audience. Facebook isn’t YouTube, YouTube isn’t Search, Search isn’t Snapchat.
  • Measure results, not seconds. It’s true that this new world is complex, but it’s worth the investment to map it. To do this digital reconnaissance, it’s crucial to measure business value and results on a per-creative, per-platform, per-audience basis. An advertiser’s ability to measure the right things properly will be the biggest predictor of their mobile advertising success.

In addition, Facebook noted that transparency was vital and marketers had to ensure they gained full insights on their consumers’ behaviours. Measurement is another vital hurdle and still underdeveloped. Given the lack of attention span among consumers, advertisers are urged to create meaningful stories.

Mark Rabkin, VP Core Adverts, Facebook, explained in a blog post:

“The best marketers, whether they’re digital native, direct response or brand, are working with the diverse consumer behaviours in the new mobile medium, not against them. They recognise that when it comes to mobile, the people and the platforms are so new, fluid and non-uniform that success is being driven by rapid adaptation and novel methods. Like TV, and radio before it, mobile creative has to match the medium – it has to be immediately relevant. With vision, a little flexibility and continued experimentation from the best creative minds in the business, we’ll find ourselves at the threshold of a new golden age of advertising.”