Facebook, a company that makes its money selling ad space, has the same problem that everyone who deals in advertising has. How do I capture the consumer's attention? Or, more aptly put, how do I make people stop and give a damn – if just briefly?
Advertising on Facebook has evolved over the years to include the rather in-your-face tactic that's currently being employed – autoplay, in-feed videos. First, there were sponsored photo posts – which were static. Then, there were videos – which move about at an often startling pace.
It's the kind of jarring assault that makes the average user want to scroll, and scroll away as fast as they can.
But could there be another type of in-feed ad, one that moves enough to capture the eye but is subtle and – dare I say – pleasing? Apparently, Facebook is putting its weight behind the cinemagraph.
You've likely seen cinemagraphs floating around the internet for years now. Basically, cinemagraphs are still photographs that feature a very small, controlled element of movement from one aspect of the frame. Like this:
The technique of creating cinemagraphs has been around for some time, but the term was coined (and trademarked) by photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg in 2011.
And apparently, that's who many high-profile companies are tapping to create their cinemagraphs. Adweek reports that Burg and Beck have been in talks with Facebook about cinemagraphs, and that Burg and Beck have "had all kinds of new inquiries [from brands]."
Here's what a cinemagraph ad could look like on Facebook. This is a cinemagraph that Burg and Beck's Ann Street Studio created for Ecco Domani wine:
Much more aesthetically pleasing than an autoplay ad, you have to admit.
"You're going to start seeing a ton of these on Facebook," an advertising executive told Adweek. They say they know this because they've seen "a guide produced by Facebook for marketers called 'Hacking Facebook Autoplay.'"
Facebook's autoplay feature in the News Feed is a powerful one for marketers – but right now it's only being used bluntly. Something like a cinemagraph could make use of the autoplay feature and still keep users from scrolling by in abject horror.