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Facebook's Silent Cinema

Earlier this week, publishers like LittleThings, a feel-good lifestyle site oriented around shareability, and Mic, a millennial news site, reported that about 85% of their 150 million monthly video views that occur on Facebook play without sound (both sites released the same numbers). Other sites say that anywhere between 50%-85% of their views are soundless.

Back in 2013, when Facebook started auto-playing ads, the rest of the industry quickly followed suit, with sites and apps like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo (and recent whispers of Pinterest going after video ads) all jumping onto the auto-play video bandwagon.

Combined with the fact that users are spending an ever-growing amount of time on social media, and that Facebook only counts a view as three seconds, means that advertisers are spending a lot of money to perfect the silent video format.

Some agencies report that sound makes no difference in native video spots, but those tend to be tailor-made for Facebook, and don’t necessarily have to check the same boxes that a pre-roll ad on YouTube would.

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The videos usually feature an attention-grabbing title, compelling visuals, and heavy text overlays that explain what’s going on without the need of a voiceover.

So whether it’s a recipe video with a pair of disembodied hands putting bowls of various ingredients into a pot on an impossibly clean counter, or a video of an army homecoming that we shouldn’t be watching while chopping onions, we can rest assured that the techniques employed in their creation are proven to be the most effective.

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