Commentary

Facebook Was Game-Changer For 2015 Branded Video Campaigns

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, January 27, 2016
2015 was a great year for online branded video, with huge viewership growth aided by Facebook’s emergence as a major video platform for brands. All branded videos tracked had a combined total of over 22 billion views — an 88% increase from 2014’s 12 billion views.

In 2015, 56% of the viewership on the top 10 campaigns occurred on Facebook videos — a big jump from 0% the previous year — while 42% came from YouTube. Brands have clearly noticed the strength of the social media platform and have used it to their advantage.

Facebook not only became a major player as a video platform for brands and everyday users of the site, but it also saw success with branded video content it created. The top campaign of the year was Facebook’s “What’s On Your Mind?” with over 295 million views, over 99% of which occurred on Facebook.

This was also the second highest branded video campaign of all time, behind Metro Trains Melbourne’s “Dumb Ways to Die,” which has been viewed over 366 million times since launching in November 2012.

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While Facebook’s ascendance as a video platform was a new trend in 2015, many brands created successful video campaigns by using tried and true strategies. Three of the top ten campaigns in 2015 featured emotional and heartwarming content, a strategy that, when done well, can be hugely successful for brands and capture the attention of viewers: Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels,” “Puppyhood” from Purina with BuzzFeed, and “The Story of Sarah & Juan” from Wrigley’s Extra.

“Love Has No Labels” is a PSA that encourages viewers to embrace diversity and overcome bias, showing couples displayed as X-ray skeletons behind a screen kissing, and then gradually revealed as same-sex couples, of two different races, ages, religions, or with disabilities. Viewership for this campaign from the Ad Council was aided by uploading it directly to Upworthy’s Facebook page, which currently has more than eight million fans. The Upworthy video garnered over 46 million views this year and generated thousands of comments, hundreds of thousands of likes, and over one million shares, helping this campaign become the second-highest-viewed branded video campaign in 2015.

“Puppyhood,” released by Purina with BuzzFeed, shows, once again, what a great piece of content can achieve, especially with the power of BuzzFeed and its network of fans behind it. In this adorable puppy-themed campaign for Purina Puppy Chow, a man adopts a puppy and we get to see their first day together, filled with countless cute moments. The “Puppyhood” videos were uploaded on Purina’s and BuzzFeed’s channels, both on Facebook and YouTube. The main video from the campaign on BuzzFeed’s Facebook page garnered more than 80 million views and millions of social interactions.

“The Story of Sarah & Juan” from Wrigley’s Extra was also hugely successful this, year garnering over 126 million views. The campaign shows moments from a couple’s relationship, starting when they first meet in school, to the moment they get engaged, and the many pieces of Extra gum along the way.

While the video tells a compelling story that pulls at the heartstrings, this campaign’s success was largely due to Ellen DeGeneres, who shared a link on Twitter to a copy of the video. The video that Ellen shared garnered a whopping 88 million views, over 70% of the campaign’s total views. That one upload of the video was both liked and shared over one million times. This goes to show that a campaign featuring great video content and storytelling, combined with a boost from a huge celebrity influencer, can lead to massive success for a brand.

While most campaigns in the top 10 did a good job of engaging viewers and generating social interactions and conversation online, some campaigns fell flat in this area. Amazon’s “Amazon App” campaign, while highly viewed with over 77 million views, generated fewer than 500 social interactions. This shows that even if a campaign gets a lot of views, that doesn’t mean that viewers connected or engaged with the content.

Top 10 Campaigns of 2015
 1. Facebook, “What’s On Your Mind” (295,561,583 views)
 2. Ad Council, “Love Has No Labels” (162,105,208 views)
 3. adidas, “Create Your Own Game” (148,356,018 views)
 4. Wrigley’s Extra, “The Story of Sarah & Juan” (126,093,427 views)
5.  adidas, “Take It” (113, 270,038 views)
 6. Purina, Buzzfeed, “Puppyhood” (102,664,194 views)
 7. Air France, “France Is In The Air” (88,428,160 views)
 8. Samsung, “Galaxy Note5 Official Introduction” (86,603,732 view)
 9. Amazon, “Amazon App” (77,029,734 views)
 10. Samsung, “Assemble” (76,108,853 views)

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