Video's popularity on social platforms like Facebook has sky-rocketed with video getting higher rates of engagement than other types of posts. So it's no surprise that video ad campaigns are highly recommended to be a part of your advertising mix.
There are two distinct ways to leverage videos within your Facebook Ad strategy.
First, you can run Video View Ads. These ads require that you use a video as the creative element, and they optimize to get you the most video views possible that your budget will allow. These ads are great for “top of funnel” marketing because you can get video views very inexpensively, then Facebook allows you to retarget ads to people who have watched your videos.
Secondly, you can use video as the creative element for a number of different ad types: from engagement to traffic and conversions. These ads will optimize based on the type of campaign you've chosen, while displaying your video creative.
Either way you choose to leverage video in your Facebook advertising strategy, there are some best practices you should always keep in mind to make the most of your advertising dollars.
What are the best size & specs for Facebook video ads?
1. Aspect Ratio's
Facebook supports ratios from 16:9 to 9:16, but videos may be masked to an aspect ratio of 4:5, which is the recommended ratio. The reason 4:5 is the recommended video ratio recommended is because most people are using social media networks with their phone held vertically, so uploading a video with that vertical aspect ratio will maximize the screen space. When these videos are displayed on the desktop newsfeed they will be shown with a 1:1 ratio, and black bars may be added to either side of the video for that reason. That being said, most users access Facebook video on mobile, so I would not let the desktop formatting deter you from optimizing for mobile views.
Facebook can accommodate very short videos (1 second – though, I am not sure how much you'll get across with a one second video) and very long videos (up to 4 hours) as long as the file size stays under 4 GB.
Videos can be uploaded with or without sound. It's recommended that you include sound for people who will watch with the volume up, and captions for those who will watch with sound off. The goal is to get people to consume your content, so it's best to offer a positive user experience for as many people as possible.
Facebook video ad placements
When we talk about Facebook Ads, most people instantly think of feed ads, the ones that you see in your Facebook newsfeed as you're scrolling – but there are actually many different ad placements.
First of all, Facebook owns Instagram and so your ads can display on the Instagram Feed as well as Facebook. Facebook Ads Manager automatically will format these ads so that they look similar to organic posts on their respective platforms.
There are also dedicated feeds for Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Videos, and your video ads can be placed within those dedicated feeds. The great thing about placement in the Facebook Video Feed is that the ads are displayed in between organic videos on the feed, and one auto-plays after another, so you can pay to put your video into the mix.
Another way to benefit from someone already watching a video is to include in-stream video ads in your video marketing strategy. These ads are like little commercials that show in the middle of another video. They can range from 15 seconds to 4 minutes, but the user will see the first 15 seconds before they can either resume their original video, or continue watching your ad. These videos tend to do best if they're professional looking and well produced.
Stories Ads are full-screen vertical ads that appear between organic stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. Video content longer than 15 seconds (for Facebook Stories) and 10 seconds (for Instagram Stories) are split into different story cards that play one after another and after the first 3 cards a viewer chooses to keep watching your series of video or return to organic stories. Stories ads do not have to be highly produced. Because many of the organic stories videos are raw and live, ads can feel more native if they're not high quality videos.
Best practices for Facebook video ads
#1 – Use Subtitles & Captions
As mentioned briefly before, it's highly recommended that you caption all of your videos. The vast majority of people are watching online video with the sound off. The only exception to this is with stories, where the average user has the sound on.
Because the sound tends to be off, the best way to ensure that your audiences are not only seeing you video, but receiving the full experience – is to caption the video.
The good news is that Facebook provides video captioning from right within the ad creation tool, so you can have Facebook auto-generate the captions, then edit them as needed to accurately represent the video content.
If, on the other hand, your video does not have audio that accompanies it, I do recommend adding a royalty-free audio track so that if users have the sound on, there is something they will hear while watching.
#2 – Focus on the beginning of your Facebook video
Attention spans are short, so the first few seconds of a video are undeniably the most important. You will want to ensure that the first seconds are attention-grabbing, so that people are compelled to keep watching, and that you are quick to display your branding, so that people become aware of your business.
You will also want to choose video thumbnails that is on-brand, attention-grabbing, and compells people to start a video that does not auto-play.
#3 – Think mobile-first
Video will display differently across different device types. Because mobile use is on the rise, it's essential that we design our video campaigns for mobile devices. This is why we recommend 4:5 vertical video ratio (since most mobile users hold their phone vertically), and why we recommend captions (since most mobile users have the sound off).
We know that social media video platforms are always evolving, so a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to always think mobile-first, so you ensure the type of video you are creating will display optimially to your target audience.
#4 – Use relevant Facebook ads CTA
Finally, know where your videos fall within your overall advertising strategy and use relavant calls to action in the video, in the accompanying ad copy, and with any CTA button you attach to your video ad. Prospective customers need to be told what to do if you want them to become paying customers, and delivering a strong and relevant CTA is an essential step that somehow gets looked over in many cases.
Retarget Video Viewers With Facebook Ads
Finally, let's talk about retargeting. As we explained in the beginning, many marketers select the video views objective for their video ads so they can benefit from low costs per video view, then they create a custom audience of all people who have watched that specific video (or a collection of videos) so that they can deliver other advertising campaigns to them. In many cases, this strategy of targeting a warm audience means traffic, leads, and sales are easier to get because those people have already been introduced to the company/organization through the video ads.
Retargeting Ads may also include video, or they may be more traditional single image ads, using high-quality images. We always recommend testing a variety of creative types and watching to see which results in the best conversion rates.
Once you've run a video ad or two, you can also leverage those custom audiences to build lookalike audiences to drive more qualified people to your video view ads as well.
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