Facebook Cinemagraphs: The Latest Addition to Your Ad Unit Arsenal

Facebook recently unveiled a new advertising format: ‘Cinemagraphs’. What are cinemagraphs, you ask?

They’re a clever manipulation of a video to give the effect of a still image with certain elements animating in a loop.

Confused? View these examples and all will become clear: House of Cards’ Tumblr-friendly promotional cinemagraphs beautifully capture the tone of the show, and this varied selection of examples from other brands (including Chanel and Coca-Cola) showcase more possibilities.


Image taken from the official House of Cards Tumblr

Cinemagraphs are usually formatted as animated gifs (ensuring quality control, auto play and loop and maximum compatibility), however Facebook is likely to offer functionality that utilizes the auto play feature of videos on the platform. A similar ad product may roll out for Instagram (as the platform recently enabled the ability to loop videos, meaning brands are already creating cinemagraph-style content).

Facebook is describing the addition as an ad unit – suggesting it is unlikely to be available without a media spend.

Should your brand be investing in them? Potentially. It may be worth waiting to see how they perform before creating your own, but they can be cheap to produce and are a novelty, so it’s not a huge risk to give them a go (pending a reasonable cost from Facebook).

Sold already? The release date for this ad unit is not currently known, although we’re expecting it to be very soon. If you want to get started ahead of time, cinemagraphs can reside on any platform that can handle animated gifs. Just make sure that whoever is preparing your creative is doing so in a way that makes it possible to transfer it to Facebook at a later date. Production costs can vary, ranging from a simple task for a designer/ animator to a more complex video shoot.

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