Planning to use Facebook Messenger's video ads? Be bespoke, not creepy

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Facebook Austin office

Source: Facebook

Video ads in Messenger open up new marketing opportunities for fmcg brands

Digital channels have become more important to grocery shopping and integral to the path from brand awareness to purchase. Recent news announcing Facebook’s new advertising format - video in Messenger ad posts - opens up another more engaging option for fmcg advertisers to consider.

Ads in Facebook’s Messenger platform aren’t new - video ads on Facebook have been the most successful type of post on the network since its introduction. But this new advertising opportunity for brands is a more engaging version of its highly targeted Messenger ads, particularly if the content is right.

Read more: As Instagram hits one billion users, what’s its impact on food?

Fmcg brands should consider this advertising channel carefully. While another way to target specific people based on interests or conversations, the nature of these more everyday brands rather than lifestyle brands such as Samsung or Nike often means that getting that content and activation timing right is crucial for it to not seem creepy.

The first thing for fmcg brands to consider is when they should choose to activate this channel. If they do so it must be for the right reasons given the myriad digital advertising options available. If the brand’s objective is to educate about the product or usage occasion then video formats could have a role to play, but it’s worth also considering if the video is best delivered via a personal communications platform or somewhere less intrusive.

Secondly, fmcg brands need to ensure the content they want to promote is relevant to the conversation being interrupted and bespoke for the platform through understanding the use of Messenger. Is an auto-play video content adding value? Ultimately the more useful the content provided seems, the less intrusive it can come across as the user sees the value in the advertising. Too often, we’ve seen fmcg brands make the mistake of just using their TV ad in social video posts, which fails to connect as it isn’t bespoke for the social environment.

Social can be hugely influential to what we buy, and digital channels are being invested in more by fmcg brands as a result. Brands should ensure they measure the effectiveness of any new channels, whether this be through linking to purchase online or understanding the ROPO (research online, purchase offline) impact in physical stores, in order to truly know its value as a marketing tool.

Lastly, they need to weigh up the benefits of niche vs broader targeting to avoid the brand being associated with intrusive advertising. For example, providing specific recipe inspiration in the moment a user is having a conversation about what meal they can make with chicken could be deemed highly relevant but potentially too intrusive. Providing this inspiration on the main Facebook platform, however, can make it seem less like the conversation is being listened to by the brand.

The challenge for fmcg brands remains the same as for static ads: how contextually relevant or useful can you be without feeling too ‘Big Brother’?

Matt Lee is managing director of Capture 

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