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Super Bowl

How Butterfinger's Super Bowl Campaign Is Perfecting the Art of Facebook Autoplay Videos

Getting users to slow their scroll

The candy brand is using digital video leading up to the Big Game. Facebook

Facebook's autoplay videos give marketers big viewership numbers to boast about, but they also pose a creative challenge: How do you grab someone's attention with a muted clip, enough to make them stop scrolling through the newsfeed?

That's why Super Bowl advertiser Butterfinger is working with Facebook's creative team to make short, clicky videos as part of its "Bolder than Bold" campaign from creative shop Santo and digital agency 360i. Unlike the string of Super Bowl advertisers rolling out their final spots before the game, Butterfinger is keeping its creative under wraps until Sunday and is instead teasing bits of creative through social media.

"You've got to stop someone's thumb as they're flipping through their feed, so there are certain things you can do with your color, font, characters, size and positioning of branding that will get consumers to stop, engage and turn on their sound," said Kristen Mandel, Butterfinger marketing manager.

Last week, the brand posted a 30-second teaser with Billy Eichner on Facebook and YouTube. The opening title card for the clip shows Eichner popping out of the brand's tagline, which Mandel said was a production tip from Facebook designed to hook viewers from the first scene.

The brand also played with far-away and close-up shots of Eichner, settling on an angle that almost makes the comedian appear to pop out of the screen.

"They helped us get to that opening card—there were multiple iterations and [finding] the right balance between the creative components to maximize consumer engagement," explained Mandel.

And since autoplay clips automatically play without sound, subtitles run along the bottom of the screen when viewed from a newsfeed as a way to entice folks to click on the video. Once the video is clicked on, it expands to a full-screen view and the subtitles disappear.

In another example, Butterfinger created an 12-second GIF, using a scene from the spot that shows Eichner singing next to a motorcycle driver, who is taking a profile picture for his dating app.

Besides slicing up the teaser, Mandel said the candymaker is also upping the number of posts focused on products, including a short GIF-like video that shows a Butterfinger repeatedly snapping in half.

And while Mandel declined to reveal the brand's social media plans for Sunday, she said her team is running paid ads to amplify content and is also working with Facebook to prolong the Super Bowl ad's length after it airs during the third quarter.

According to Facebook research, Butterfinger has good reason to fine-tune its video for the platform. The social net claims that 45 percent of people who watch the first three seconds of a video go on to watch at least 30 seconds, and 65 percent of folks view at least 10 seconds of a clip.

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