4 things every filmmaker needs to know about storytelling native video

by Kobi Shely

The online video market is booming, in the realm of online video, native has proven to be one of the most powerful advertising channels available for indie filmmakers, especially as the web gradually becomes not just mobile-first, but increasingly mobile-only. A native video is a video that is uploaded to or created on social networks and played in-feed (Facebook feed, Twitter feed, Linkedin feed and so on). Native video formats are specific to each social platform and are designed to maximize video engagement (i.e. number of views), discovery and distribution.

A native video, for example, would be extracts taken from your film and placed on Youtube tagged by interest keywords, videos made by your team for Kickstarter / IndieGoGo fundraising, videos made to engage communities on Instagram, silly videos effects on Snapchat. Essentially native video goes beyond the trailer ads, taking a bunch of scenes putting them together with a dramatic voiceover, or after effects titles, trailers are usually the same format being distributed on all marketing channels.

Below are four things every filmmaker should know about using native video

Native videos reward audience more than trailers

One of the biggest limitations of traditional trailers is the ability to reward users. Yes, it works for big studios, but studios have the luxury of spending millions of dollars to place their trailers in front of millions of users.

Trailers are essentially competing for consumer attention, In a recent study, researchers at the UCLA brain mapping center used a fMRI scanner to image the brains of 32 teenagers as they used a bespoke social media app resembling Instagram. By watching the activity inside different regions of the brain as the teens used the app, the team found certain regions became activated by “likes”, with the brain’s reward center becoming especially active.

Ask yourself, how rewarding would your trailer be for a generation that has now lived on social media rewards systems. For example, one study showed that the white matter in an adults’ brains changed as they learned how to juggle over a period of several months. They found that if you scan [the brains of] adults before they learn how to juggle, and then three months later, you can see changes in the brain structure.

Native formats, which dynamically insert relevant videos into social media feeds, tap into a much broader pool of online audiences, but more importantly, they are able to engage and reward.

Think about Facebook’s native “in-feed” experience: if you see a video that you like, you can stay and watch it; and if you’re not interested, you can keep on scrolling. A native video gives control and choice back to users in the same way.

You might not be aware but most of you filmmakers are creating native videos for Kickstarter. Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas outreach Producer, Glyniss Ritter, created a native video for her Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was successful raising $27,236.

Personal videos, as oppose to trailers tend to work significantly better than placing a trailer. Glyniss used the personal approach. Kickstarter works on the same rewarding concept. You help make a difference by donating, you receive the message from the person who is creating the documentary, and of course get different rewards for supporting the project.


Native Videos Put Your Film Front And Center

The placement of native video customized within the main feed of social media pages ensures that videos will have not only a higher visibility but also a greater potential to make an impact with audiences. In particular, native video creates an opportunity for filmmakers to share longer stories. Filmmakers can capture audiences’ attention through high-impact, highly viewable placements that then only stay active on the page if a user chooses to engage (and watch the trailer, buy a ticket, or rent the full feature online).

Native Ad Platforms Offer Robust Targeting Options

Just because native video taps into a broader online audience doesn’t mean that it can’t support fine-tuned targeting as well. The breadth of native platforms like Facebook, and Outbrain, provide powerful targeting opportunities, as they can connect filmmakers with a greater variety of target audiences across blogger and publishers sites. Adjusting your videos to social platforms will increase your exposure and engagement, thus making your campaigns more effective.

Native Videos Can Drive Your Call To Action 

In addition to ensuring that viewers both see your video and are more actively engaged when watching it, native video can be optimized towards the desired action – Support the film crowdfund campaign, watch the movie. For example, filmmakers can measure whether someone who clicked on a video ended up going to their website and signing up to receive the newsletter. Native campaigns can also measure other useful metrics such as a number of time users spend on a page, how they move and interact across the site, or the referral path by which they arrived at the page (for example, from a social recommendation versus organic search results). Such learnings can serve as a kind of market research for filmmakers, enabling them to test different video messages and figure out which are resonating most strongly with audiences.

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