Bold Words, Text Tips and Pooping Unicorns: How 10 Modern Brands Are Harnessing the Power of Muted Video Ads

on The Future of Advertising, Native Video

When Facebook first tested muted, autoplay video in late 2013 it could not have expected how quickly and drastically it would change both how audiences watch video on the internet and subsequently, publisher and advertiser video strategies.

Fast-forward to 2016 and the trend among either new or successfully modernized brands is moving quickly toward videos that fit how almost all consumers prefer to watch video now: on mute.

Here are 10 best-in-class examples from the past year from forward-thinking modernized brands, new brands and product launches, which created or adapted their videos for muted autoplay across platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Sharethrough.


Modernized Brands

More and more, established brands are realizing the need to modernize their ad strategies by moving away from disruption in favor of creating content, especially videos, that earn (rather than force) audience attention.


truth:

Reaching a Gen Z and Millennial Audience

Truth is constantly adapting their marketing strategies to the media behaviors and slang of 15-25 year olds. In a way, they’re the canary in the coal mine for advertisers trying to reach a young audience. Their recent ad strategy features made-for-muted autoplay videos with large, bold words, shareable stats (smokers earn 20% less than non-smokers) and the internet fad that never dies...cats.

These video ads are effective at reaching the decreasing cohort of young people that can be interrupted with TV ads by earning their attention across social content feeds, Sharethrough's collection of publisher feeds (example below) and on Snapchat when recut for vertical video.



Bank of America:

Earning Attention with Money-Saving Tips

When Bank of America wanted to increase awareness that their Cash Rewards card offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% on groceries, instead of only creating traditional TV spots that repeated that message, they created short videos with money-saving tips that earned the attention of their audience.

Did you know gas prices are highest on Fridays and that you can earn 3% cashback on gas purchases? Now you do.



Bud Light:

Simple but Effective Videos for Team Cans Launch

Bud Light’s team-themed cans have a simple message that translates well in an autoplay environment. When you combine them with targeting by geography and likelihood to support that sports team, the message becomes even more successful at grabbing attention and increasing awareness.



Hillary Clinton:

Self-Aware Muted Autoplay

This year political digital ad budgets are expected to hit $1 billion, which is a 14.6% increase on the total share of the political advertising media mix we saw for digital in 2012. This puts digital ads spending nearly at par with cable TV, while all other mediums, including TV, have decreased in total share.

With modern news outlets like NowThis and DailyMail dominating social video viewership with made-for-autoplay videos, innovative political advertisers are adjusting their video strategies to create similar text-heavy videos that earn attention. Both Trump and Clinton have adapted to this trend. The highlight to date is Hillary’s video of deaf activist, model and Dancing With the Stars winner Nyle DiMarco, signing why he’s voting for her. This is one of the best, most self-aware autoplay videos since hotels.com’s 2015 Captain Obvious ad.


New Brands

Just a few years ago, the launch strategy for most new brands was to try to create a "viral" video like the one that catapulted the Dollar Shave Club to success. Today, most brands realize "going viral" is not a practical strategy. Instead, new brands like these are focusing their limited creative resources on more predictable and scalable success with autoplay videos.


Casper

Casper is one of the latest startups to successfully disrupt an established industry, taking on the $14 billion mattress industry. They’ve done so through simplification. Simplifying the process of buying a good mattress and simplifying their advertising message: the perfect balance of soft and firm, free shipping and returns and a 100-day risk-free trial.

They’re now scaling that message through autoplay videos like this...


Air Lounges

This spring, ads in my Facebook and Instagram feeds were dominated by new inflatable air lounges like the video below that KAISR created with Unilad. By summer, the ROI was tangible as my Instagram feed was filled with pictures of friends on their new air lounges.


Beltology

With menswear sales on the rise, Beltology sought to stand out from all the new menswear brands with their fashionable line of flexible belts built in New York. They did so by running videos like this on Facebook and Instagram.


Squatty Potty

A stool that helps your stool should be funny. If you know anyone with a Squatty Potty then you've probably heard of it because Squatty Potty customers are surprisingly eager to share it's health benefits. Most of that word-of-mouth is a regurgitation (pun intended) of information customers learned from Squatty Potty's autoplay video ads that are the perfect blend of informative (bad toilet posture leads to health problems), attention-capturing humor (pooping unicorns), and autoplay-friendly text (captions/video infographics)


Product Launches

Any guess on a common theme for some of the most successful product launches of the last year? You guessed it. Interstitials. Wait...no...


Rocket Mortgage:

Creating TV Ads That Also Fit Autoplay

When Quicken Loans launched a greatly simplified way to get a mortgage, they created video ads with huge bold words and a simple message: “Push Button. Get Mortgage.” The brilliance is these TV ads, which ran during sporting events, are even effective in loud bars, skipping through DVR and, of course, in content feeds.


iPhone 7:

Launch Event Recap Video

How did Apple capitalize on the buzz of their iPhone 7 launch event? With this text-forward recap video.


Frank Maguire

Head of Market Development, Brands & Agencies at Sharethrough. Leading development of the native advertising market through research and education