Tips for creating effective thumb-stopping Instagram and Facebook content

The idea of thumb-stopping isn’t unique to social media. The need to grab attention quickly has been at the core of good ATL advertising for decades, but there are some nuances unique to the Instagram and Facebook on a smartphone screen. Covering all the social formats requires good planning and forethought. 

Whilst a striking still image can tell a thousand words, moving image is the best way to create content that grabs attention

  • Video is the number #1 favourite format for consumers when it comes to see brands on social media
  • 46% of consumers watch more video ads on social media than on TV. 
  • Video ads on Instagram and Facebook are the number #1 driver for consumers finding out about a new brand or product before purchase. 16% more effective than sponsored influencer posts
  • YouTube (owned by Google) is the second largest search engine online. Used by people to search for broad information.

Ensure your content tells a story

Whatever the format you need a story because people remember stories. Messages delivered as stories are 22 times more memorable than just facts.

Set the scene quickly and make sure the content is engaging and easy to consume.

Grab attention quickly

Make your opening shot an intriguing scenario or recognisable face. There is no substitution for a strong visual idea. If your content doesn’t grab the imagination in the first two seconds then it’s failed.

Keep the pace

  • Assets which with fast-paced cuts are more effective in keeping attention that long clips.
  • Don’t make your advertising content too long. 15 seconds is the recommended maximum with around 8 seconds for the CATCH phase.
  • Design with the sound off, but use music to add a layer of engagement and to help drive the experience.
  • There are loads of inexpensive online music libraries which have different cut-down lengths of the same track, but it’s worth investing in original music which reflects your brand (and which avoids your campaigning using the same audio track as dozens of other brands).

Previsualise and be creative with the different formats 

Don’t start shooting until every format has been previsualised (sketched/designed). Trying to make a 16:9 work in a 9:16 after the fact is a missed opportunity to create something truly engaging. If shooting original content, your crew may need to shoot using two cameras – in landscape and portrait format to cover all the crops. We find it helps to start with the 9:16 format as it forces us to stretch the medium and be creative with crops, motion and graphics – all of which translate well into the more standard 1:1 formats.

Facebook have a handy guide to formats and video lengths here. And using the Facebook Creative Hub you can test your different ad types and see how they will look using the mockup feature.

Facebook screen formats

Ensure your brand is seen

  • Have your logo visible at all times as an overlay in a corner on paid Instagram or Facebook adverts. 
  • Don’t open with a logo sting – it’s not engaging and will turn potential new customers off.
  • Finish with a Call to Action at the end.

Tailor different content to each stage of the customer journey

Consider the consumer funnel and create content which is relevant to each stage of the journey. Content for catching attention at the start of the funnel should be different to the assets you use for the conversion stage. 

social content funnel

Think about the click-through destination

Having a landing page on your website that reflects the online creative will increase your response rate as well as allowing you to track the campaign effectiveness.

Contact us to help create your next online campaign

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Editorial Team
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