Facebook Video Ads Made Easy

social marketing with fb video ads

In the article Local Business Marketing with Facebook Ads, the advantage of video ads had been mentioned briefly. Video ads are said to be more engaging than static ads. Actually, Facebook users seem to favor video content in general. Just take a look at these numbers:

  • Facebook’s daily views doubled from 4 billion in April to about 8 billion in November 2015.
  • As of January 2016, Facebook announced that about 100 million hours of video is being viewed a day.
  • 84 percent of all consumers liked a company/product video shown in their newsfeed. 48 percent of these consumers shared company/product video on their timeline.

This trend doesn’t seem to slow as it is predicted that by 2017, 69 percent of the Internet’s consumer traffic will be consumer-based video and by 2020, it is set to rise to 82 percent. To further emphasize the growing role of video in marketing, it is estimated that 41 percent of total spending related to desktop display. Video is basically replacing static ads. That’s why video can’t be ignored as a crucial component in any marketing strategy. Not convinced yet? It’s not just about views but also conversion:

  • Viewing a video increases the likelihood of purchase by 1.81 times. Consecutively, purchase intent increases by 72 percent after viewing just 10 seconds of the video.
  • Marketers who use video increase their revenue 49 percent faster. Retailers also cite a 40 percent increase in sales attributed to video.
  • 4 out of 5 consumers consider a video showcasing a product or service important. 1 out of 4 of these consumers would immediately lose interest on a company that doesn’t have any video and 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video than read an article about a product or service.
  • About 51.9 percent of marketers consider video content as having the best ROI and 50 percent of these marketers are shifting to digital video from TV advertising.

But what video are we really talking about here?

Types of Video Ads with the Highest ROI

Some types of videos perform better (content aside) in terms of conversion.

Short Video

Most short videos are curiosity-based, trivia or preview of a product that range from 15 to 30 seconds.

Standard Commercial

This type of video ad range from 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length. Some marketers shifting from TV to digital video often adapt the same practices from their experiences in TV advertising. This is a popular type of video ad, leveraging on the appeal of familiarity but this doesn’t always assure the best performance.


This type of video ad range from 3 to 6 minutes in length and is often informative and content-rich. Edutainment videos can come in the form of:

  • How-to videos. This can include instructional videos about your product or service. Product demos and explainer videos can be categorized under the “how-to” umbrella and can be presented in a variety of styles. You can also create informational videos related to your business in order to raise awareness and position your brand as an authority in the field.
  • Interviews. Interviews with experts and testimonials can your brand’s credibility and social proof.
  • About the company. People want to know your story, especially your business’ goals.
  • Conference and presentation videos. These videos are excellent for B2Bs.

The type and length of the video is just part of the formula for high ROI. Content is king they say, something that is true even in digital video. The value derived from ads increases the longer it is being watched. Ads should be optimized depending on the campaign objective and the end result desired should go beyond view counts.

It is said that every part of the video drives value. Let’s take a closer look at these parts from start to finish.

Dissecting a Facebook Video Ad

  1. Initial Impression. Facebook newsfeed video ads are on auto play (for CPM campaigns). Views are counted just after 3 seconds. But since the audio is by default muted, you should find a way in order for the viewers to either select the ad to turn the volume on, or build the ad so that its message can still be transmitted even without volume. Thus, catching the audience’s attention in the first 3 seconds of the ad is vital. But how can you catch an audience’s attention in such a short time?
    In a guide on video for mobile feeds, Facebook stated that for video ads to be immediately noticed, colors, themes and imagery should be used at the start of the video to evoke an instant connection to your brand/product. This design and imagery components may include product shots, recognizable endorsers, lifestyle/action scenes or a vivid background.Let’s take a look at this Smirnoff ad:Smirnoff AdThis video thumbnail is for the Moscow Mule video ad, celebrating the product’s 75th anniversary. The signature color dominates, showing strong brand connection. The background scene shows an easily recognizable bar setting, creating a perfect atmosphere for the endorsed product.John Martin - Smirnoff PresidentThere is a captioned voice over from the very beginning of the 15 second video. The company’s former president appeared even before the 3 second mark.
  1. Content Format. Even up to early this year, Facebook noted that 41 percent of the video ads are still meaningless without audio. It seems that it’s the reason why Facebook is testing for auto-volume video ads. But still, 85 percent of video views in Facebook happen without sound. This is true even with organic videos that the trend is now leaning towards text overlays and captions supplemented with audio instead of the other way around.
  1. The Presentation. The main goal is to educate, demonstrate and/or entertain. Any information should be presented in way that gives more value to the video. As earlier noted, captions, logos, and product presentation are useful in communicating the desired message but you can also experiment with visual composition. Layout, dimension, and scale techniques like zooming and cropping can help in presenting things in a new perspective.
  1. Call-to-Action. Whatever the ad’s marketing objective may be, engagement and conversion should be the end goal. As with other ad formats, CTAs should come natural and seamless. The ad copy should complement any CTA button, making it so that it will appear as though clicking the button would appear as an instinctive next step in the process.
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A “soft CTA” can also be used, where you provide links and/or any other access options within the ad copy itself. In some promotional videos, soft CTAs can also be used by means of a few second mention about the offer or through text overlays.

More Ways to Target and Engage Audience

Content is king anywhere it seems. After discussing the basic structure of video ads, we would now look closer into some strategies that can be used to further optimize Facebook video ads. Some of these strategies are no-brainer, some still may surprise you.

  1. Design video for Facebook specifically. Several brands adapt the design and presentation of their ads to fit Facebook specifically. The first consideration would be scaling the video’s dimensions for the small screen and then designing it for soundless viewing.

geico fb adapted adSource

A perfect example would be this Geico commercial that was reframed with added captions. Also, aside from the format and other technical aspects, virality should also be built within the video. This is especially important when advertising for social networks like Facebook. In order to achieve maximum engagement that can lead to a viral loop, the following key characteristics should be present in the video:

  • Attention grabbing. Pattern-interrupt is a great strategy. It basically makes someone stop scrolling down the newsfeed and just look at your ad. Your ad should break the monotony that is visually similar posts flooding the newsfeed.
  • Persuasive. Once the ad grabs their attention, it should hold their interest until the duration of the video. It should have the authentic feeling of a traditional commercial without losing its entertainment value.
  • Foster credibility. Ads aren’t just marketing tools, they can also be used to build rapport between the brand and the customers. That’s why the ad should cast an image of credibility, openness, and authority.
  1. Set Your KPIs First. Facebook is the best option when it caomes to reach but YouTube when it comes to quality watched time. KPIs go hand in hand with your marketing objective and can be used to measure the success of the video ad campaign. It also sets the direction of the campaign, especially in terms of the type of conversion you want.
  2. Create a Compelling Ad Copy. James McQuivy said, ‘a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words’. The quote’s real explanation aside, a short video can convey a message beyond what words can elucidate. But it would be erroneous to consider that because of the rich visual content, an ad copy’s quality (or even presence) doesn’t matter. It’s actually very similar to writing descriptions for Youtube videos. There are 2 main categories of copies that work for video ads:
  • Short Copy. It’s the type of copy where it isn’t necessary to click “See more” to read the full extent of the copy. This is the most popular type of copy on Facebook posts. Most short copies either have soft or direct CTA.

short facebooks ads copy - guitar center

  • Long Copy. This is more of the descriptive type with the second half focused on the CTA. But most of the time, copies like this only show a few words after “See more” and are no more than 200 characters long. The action of clicking “See more” is actually considered as a positive signal by Facebook that a post is engaging. Long copies also tend to have a higher perceived value from a Facebook user’s perspective.

long facebook ads copy - sony singapore

  1. Custom Audiences for Retargeting. You can create 6 different audiences depending on their engagement on your video – specifically the length of time they watched the video. This is possible even if you are not using the “Video Views” objective and do not have 1,000 or more views per day.

custom audience based on engagement

You can also create lookalike audiences based on the behaviors and interests of this engaged audience.

facebook ads lookalike audiences

You can also target “Warm Audiences” and base your first ad set on this audience. Warm audiences refer to those already aware or familiar with your product/brand. In this case, website visitors. First, you need to have a pixel implemented on your website and create a Custom Audience based on “Website Traffic”.

custom audience - website traffic

  1. Boost Posts to Test Videos. You can boost videos on small budgets. Your KPIs should be set first and the best performing videos get to be scaled for conversion. Some objectives perform better than others but the end goal is for the objective’s results to align with your business goals.
  2. Monitor Performance and Adjust. In Ads Manager you can find Adverts Reporting tools that can help measure the results of your ad campaign. Here, you can see and review important ad metrics in real time.

facebook ads report sampleSource

Columns can be filtered so that only metrics pertinent to your ad campaign will appear. Some of the most important metrics for videos are: cost per conversion, cost per video view, and duration of video viewed.

facebook ads report columns

Next, check the Breakdown data. Here you can assess the ad’s performance base on demographic, placement, device, etc.

facebook ads report breakdown

Finally, edit your ad copy as needed in order to boost your ad’s performance. If you monitor your ad performance from the very beginning, you would be able to see trends that you can use in consecutive ad campaigns.

Facebook Video Ads

Mustapha Ajermou
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