Why brands are going 3D to engage social media users

Brands are using the design of social media platforms for innovative 3D creatives as they fascinate users and clock better results, say industry experts

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Published: Sep 9, 2019 8:20 AM  | 5 min read

Advertising has attained a new dimension with an increasing number of brands opting for the 3D format. This has an almost hypnotic effect on viewers and one can’t resist the urge to stay glued to the very end as rockets come bolting out at you from the ad, the ocean waves silently lap up at your mobile screen or a chocolate bar melts down your social media feed.

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The industry term for these advertisement is 3D IG posts and the ads take the liberty of invading an Instagram or Facebook page by scattering images over the comments section of the social media user.

While ads which can be hurriedly skipped or last for a few seconds on social media are looked at as less annoying, these on the other hand almost evoke a childlike glee as images pop out or surprise the viewers in a fascinating sequence. Perhaps, it is for this reason that digital teams are leaning towards using these creatives for social media platforms.

Karishma Taurani, Group Account Manager, Togglehead, says: "“Instagrammers usually pop in for a quick look at the top posts, lurk, and scroll past some before continuing with their search. The key here is to make a person stop and watch. Marrying the same technology and features with creative solutions, posts with 3D effects have been trending for quite some time now. We have noticed the difference and clocked better results with the number of eyeballs such creatives attract.”

The only drawback of this format is that its scope is limited to certain social media platforms. Throwing light on this aspect, Prachi Karan, Senior Director Media, Isobar, says, “Social media being one of the largest and cost-effective digital advertising platforms in the country is extremely cluttered. More than a thousand brands want to talk to the same consumer about a thousand different things, often at the same time. While marketeers evaluate the ROI on ad spends, for the consumer the ad often becomes a blind spot, unless their intent is too high.”

With such innovation that makes an ad unit a visual delight, brands can ensure that consumers stop their thumbs and engage, Karan said. “We have seen some large brands adapting to this format in the past. However, that percentage is still low. One of the prime reasons is that brands shy away from creating a platform-first creative, and rather invest in common assets that can be used on multiple touch points. If for your brand, Instagram is critical then it is wise to invest in such innovations married to your big campaign idea. It would really push the message across and improve the evaluation metrics.”

When digital is used as a medium for advertising, the preference always falls on shorter formats of video that can cater to the short attention span of digital users. Over the years, advertising agencies have experimented with various formats to fit in with the digitally savvy consumers. In fact, Gen Z’s effortless relationship with technology is evident in user-generated videos, which are a mix of creativity and tech. In such a scenario brands have to go that extra mile to go beyond tried and tested methods.

One such example has been the Cinemagraph that debuted several years back. A mix of video and static image, the ad format was perfect for quick consumption and the recall was high. It was almost surreal to watch a still picture combined with some movement around the protagonist or a brand that was featured. They proved to be a rage at a time when snackable content in social media was just starting to make its presence felt.

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Innovative ad formats are great at driving engagement with their compelling and eye-catching narrative. Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and Co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea, explains, “Brands use the 3D ad format to create a visual mirage. They achieve this by integrating the platform design with their brand elements. By doing so the brands are able to take the most frequently visible platform asset and use it for their brand communication without any platform-level modifications. The camouflaging helps to create an immersive mirage, which provides a welcome break to the otherwise static content or video-filled timeline.”

According to Vikas Chawla, Co-founder, Social Beat, “The 3D ads are a new phenomenon, which uses pure creativity to showcase a different perspective. By using the existing design and interface of the platform in the creatives, brands are able to quickly grab attention.”

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