#1 Keep your video as short as possible.
Online attention spans are shorter than ever. If your video is too long, most people will likely keep scrolling before you get a chance to introduce your product and make a solid pitch. So how short should you make your ad? Facebook recommends making ads that are 15 seconds long or shorter. In fact, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, recommends making ads that are no longer than 6-seconds. Facebook tested 6-second ads with the popular juice brand Tropicana, and saw “higher brand metrics across the board.” Since then, 6-second video ads have become a major part of big brands like YouTube and Fox’s advertising strategies.
Nielsen Holdings, an American information, data, and measurement firm, also found that 47% of the value in a video ad is delivered in the first 3 seconds of the video. Up to 74% of the value is delivered in the first ten seconds.
Not only will short, snappy ads better grab your audience’s attention, capture more views, and ensure a higher completion rate, but it will also make your video eligible to run on Instagram Stories and Facebook in-stream. If you don’t already know about Facebook in-stream videos, keep reading to find out why they should be a major part of your Facebook ad strategy.
Try Facebook in-stream videos:
What are in-stream videos? They’re essentially a 5 – 15 second commercial break style ads that are inserted into the middle of a longer video you were watching on Facebook on your mobile phone. Imagine you’re watching a two minute Facebook video on your cellphone about “how to make carrot cake.” An in-stream video ad would pause that two minute video after the 60-second mark, play a 5 – 15 second ad for a different product, after which the original video would resume. These ads are highly effective as they appear when someone is already engaged in a video, and are willing to wait through a 5 – 15 second ad to get back to their original content. In other words, most people are going to watch your full ad.
In fact, a full 70% of these ads are viewed to completion, and have an 89% on-target rate. Most of these ads are also played with sound, since your audience was already listening to a video with audio.
To create a Facebook in-stream video, simply go to “Ads Manager” and click “Create.” Choose your video’s objective from the options (including brand awareness, video views, app installs, etc.). Fill in your campaign details (audience, schedule, budget, etc.). Finally, choose whether you want “Automatic placements” or “Edit Placements” to customize further where your video is placed.
#2 Introduce your brand in the first 3 seconds of your video ad.
With video ads getting shorter and shorter, it’s more important than ever to introduce your brand to the audience right off the bat. Facebook conducted a meta-analysis of video marketing data, and found that viewers were 23% more likely to remember a brand if it was introduced in the first 3-seconds of an advertisement. After three seconds, consumers’ abilities to remember brands and correctly connect them with the videos they just watched starts to plummet.
Whether brand awareness is your #1 goal, or a side objective, you’re going to need to introduce your brand at some point in your ad. If you’re not doing it in the first three seconds of your video, there’s a high chance your audience will forget your brand.
However, there is a caveat. Studies have showed that if you present your brand in a “floating logo” type way, the audience is more likely to click away. Even if they remember your brand, if a viewer didn’t get past the first three seconds of your video, they’re not going to buy your product. Instead of pinning a logo in the corner of the screen, try to creatively work your brand into the video in a “product placement” type way. For example, maybe your product is sitting on a table in the background of the video with the name of your brand on the box. That’ll subtly introduce viewers to your brand without putting them off and making them click away.
#3 Choose your title and description carefully.
Catchy video titles and descriptions can be make or break for your ad. The words you put in your title and description are also used by Facebook’s targeting algorithms to sort your video according to topic, therefore it’s important to include relevant keywords.
There’s a number of key phrases you can use in your video titles to increase views engagement. Take a look at this graph assembled by Wochit as an example. After studying 33,000 Facebook videos, Wochit discovered that certain phrases used in video ad titles were yielding much higher views than others. The phrases are ordered from top to bottom in terms of how often they were used.
As this graph shows, certain phrases like “things to know” or “what you need” yield consistently higher results than phrases like “to do this” or “5 ways to”. Even a slight tweak in working can drastically alter results. For example, take a look at the difference between the performance of videos with “5 things” in the title compared to “5 ways”. And the phrase “7 things” knocked average video views out of the park compared to “5 things” and “10 things.”
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should include “7 things” in your title if it’s completely irrelevant to your content. All of this is to say that every single word used in your headline counts. That, and if you’re running an ad that enumerates “10 things,” maybe consider scaling it back to “7 things.”
#4 Assume your audience will be watching your video with the sound off.
It’s both true, and a bummer, that most video views happen without sound. In fact, 85% of all Facebook videos in 2016 were viewed with the sound off. Just think about the way most people are consuming Facebook videos. Maybe you’re scrolling down your feed on your mobile phone while sitting on the bus on the way to work. Chances are you’re also listening to music. The last thing you want is for some noisy video to pop up on your feed and ruin the best part of the song you’re listening to. So, most people turn the sound off on their Facebook videos—and that’s the way it stays until they decide to switch the sound back on. Therefore, chances are your video ad will be viewed with the sound off.
So what can you do to hold your audience’s attention without sound? The answer is simple: add captions.
Facebook has long recommended that you add captions to your videos, and even use graphic overlays to really drive your message home. In practice, Facebook has found that adding captions increases video view times by 12%.
Bottom line? Do as much as you can to make you video ad visually impactful, rather than relying on sound. In the very least, add captions. And if you really want to engage your audience, add graphic overlays too.
Photo by Adobe Stock
# 5 Carefully tailor your video specs for success.
You could have the best looking video in the world—on your camera. But if it’s not tailored to Facebook’s recommended video format specs, it’s not going to come out looking good on the platform you’re advertising on. Luckily, Facebook has laid out a very specific set of guidelines to ensure success on their platform.
For starters, your video should contain “H.264 compression, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan, and stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps+” according to Facebook’s guidelines.
Here are the other guidelines you should follow when making Facebook video ads:
Aspect ratio: Choose either 9:16 for full portrait/vertical videos, or 1:1 for a perfect square. And if you’re trying to choose between these two aspect ratios, we recommend that you go with the 1:1 perfect square ratio unless you have a specific reason to use a full portrait/vertical video ratio. That’s because square videos actually occupy 78% more screen space than landscape videos when viewed on mobile. And believe it or not, 95% of all Facebook users are using their mobile devices to access the social network. Furthermore, market research from Buffer found that these 1:1 square videos received on average 35% more views, and 100% more engagement than landscape videos. This was even backed up by an A/B test run by the Jane Goodall Institute: square videos received a whopping three-times the amount of shares, and twice the amount of views, as landscape videos with identical content. So, if you’re trying to grab your audiences attention and make your videos contents easier to view, go big—go square.
Video resolution: Facebook recommends that you upload your video with the highest possible resolution while adhering to file size and ratio limits.
Video file size: Make sure your video is no bigger than 4GB.
Video length: We’ve already covered the ideal video lengths at the beginning of this article. But if we’re talking in terms of the absolute video length limits you can operate in, the minimum would be 1-second, and the maximum would be 240-seconds long.
Text: If you don’t want your text to get truncated, make sure it doesn’t exceed125 characters.
Video thumbnail: If more than 20% of your video thumbnail is occupied by text, your video may experience “reduced delivery.” So keep the text to under 20% of the thumbnail.
#6 Put your call to action in the middle of your video.
Many people may think that the end of the video—after you’ve shown your product off and made your complete pitch—is the right time to give your audience a call to action. However, doing this means your call to action isn’t going to reach the large percentage of viewers who simply aren’t going to stick around for the entire duration of your video. As a result, putting your call to action at the end of your video could mean missing out on potential conversions.
If you’re thinking of shaking things up by putting your call to action at the beginning of your video, don’t.
As we’ve covered previously in this article, the beginning of your video is a crucial time to introduce your brand and capture the viewer’s attention. Besides, why would anyone follow a call to action before knowing what your product is, or who the brand is selling it?
The best place to put your call to action is right in the middle of your video when the audience is the most tuned in. This method is backed up by data.
A test run by the video hosting company Wistia, in which over 300,000 videos containing Calls to Action were analyzed, revealed that while over 95% of companies were giving their calls to action at the end of their videos, the companies with the highest conversion rates ran their calls to action in the middle of their videos. Specifically, mid-video call to actions had an average conversion rate of 16.95%, while end-of-video call to actions had an average conversion rate of 10.98%. Videos that tried to break the mold with beginning-of-video calls to action had an average conversion rate of only 3.15%—owch.
What this study tells us is that while the majority of your competition are putting their calls to action at the end of their videos, you’ll actually have the highest conversion rates if you put your call to action in the middle of your video.
#7 Create an audience funnel to target people that will actually buy your product.
One of the number one misconceptions about good salespeople is that they’re experts at convincing people who are uninterested in a product to buy that product. While good salespeople are certainly persuasive, and can occasionally flip a firm “no” into a “yes”, the majority of sales aren’t made by converting non-believers. Sales is a numbers game. So if someone isn’t going to buy your product, your goal should be to cast them aside as quickly as possible so you can continue searching for someone who will.
The same premise applies when targeting an audience for your video ad. No matter how good your ad is, a significant amount of viewers simply will not buy your product. Finding these people and eliminating them from your audience as quickly as possible, and therefore making room for actual potential customers, is crucial.
Facebook offers a feature called “Engagement Custom Audience” that lets you do just that, so you can create a sort of advertising funnel to eliminate firmly disinterested parties, and zero-in on those who’ve shown an interest.
To do this, you will first need to run a video ad at least once. After you’ve run your ad, select “Create a Custom Audience,” and in the blank “Engagement” slot, choose from one of the options, including “people who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video,” or “people who have watched 75% of your video.”
The next time you run an ad, you will be targeting people who were at least interested enough the first time around to watch a significant portion of your video. Even if they didn’t buy your product the first time, according to their attention metrics, they’ve at least shown an interest in engaging with your brand. Hopefully, these interested viewers just need another nudge. And if you’re running a campaign with multiple video ads, you can take these viewers on a journey so they can get more familiar with your brand with each video, nudging them ever closer to actually buying your product.