If you’ve popped into Facebook Land lately, you’ve probably noticed an influx of videos in your feed, with good reason. This global social media platform is making a massive push to become THE leader in video content, not just to broaden its usefulness to users, but also to directly compete with the likes of YouTube, Twitch, Snapchat and other user-generated content machines. Facebook knows that people only have so much free time per day and that the platform with the most prolific, entertaining and valuable content will win people’s favor.
Facebook videos are all over the place — last year they surpassed YouTube for a number of videos uploaded, and currently, users are watching at least one billion videos every single day! Naturally, since everyone’s eyeballs are fixated on Facebook content, all kinds of brands are showing up to follow suit by producing and posting videos of their own. In our first Ultimate Video Ad Guide blog, we give you some serious insight into how to make your Facebook ad stand out — straight from video pros who are on the front lines of making successful video ads every day.
First, make sure your ad is competitive by covering these basics
At the most basic level, Facebook video ads are commercials that live on the Facebook (and Instagram) platform. Brands are taking creative license to intrigue and hook viewers using a variety of innovative methods that go beyond the typical commercial paradigm. Whether your goal is to recruit new customers, build buzz about a new product or grow your brand, Facebook gives you the freedom to create a highly targeted message. With Facebook’s massive reach potential, you can get pretty specific about what type of viewers your video gets put in front of. From local providers of goods and services to global Fortune 500 companies, every type of business can benefit from Facebook video ads as a powerful tool of engagement. Here are some logistical strategies to keep in mind before you set out to make yours:
Pique their curiosity ASAP.
We’ll get into this more below, but you have no business putting an ad on Facebook if you don’t have a plan for how you’re going to stop your viewers in the scroll. Make a plan to get them to engage with your video ad within the first three seconds and make sure to hold on to them for as long as you can!
Drop your brand name right off the bat.
Even if you can’t get a viewer to watch your full video, you can use your ad as a brand awareness booster by featuring your brand or product early in the video — that way, even if you don’t convert on your first view, you are still succeeding in building some brand trust and awareness.
Add a title and description.
Your video ad title and description consist of graphic text that alerts your audience to the nature of your content. Make these words pop, and make strong choices to set the tone (clever, serious, funny, etc.) in order to tease the message that’s to come and get viewers psyched to stay. Remember this is going to be on screen the ENTIRE time your video ad is playing, so you can use this space as reinforcement to further your end goal and call-to-action throughout the story.
Make sure your video works muted.
Since Facebook is most often viewed on mobile devices on-the-go or in places like work and school where audio is not always available, you want to be sure your ad can still accomplish its objective with no sound. Graphic text and clear visuals can help tell the silent story.
Place your call-to-action wisely.
Create a clear call-to-action (CTA) to funnel your viewers to a desired place (call, email, website, etc.). Then play with the placement to find the perfect spot where it will live. In some cases, you may want to open with the CTA to convert a user instantly, or place your it in the middle of your video to assure a casual viewer still gets to lay eyes on it. In others, it might be wise to display the CTA in graphic text during the entire video.
Respect the thumbnails.
Whatever you do, don’t overlook your thumbnail choice. Depending on the platform and the user’s Internet speed, your video’s thumbnail may be the first thing they see. Dedicate some time to developing an eye-catching thumbnail that entices your viewer to stay and see your story unfold.
Pay attention to video specs.
This may be more on the boring technical side, but if you are taking the time and energy to create and post a Facebook video ad, you might as well check to make sure that the ad specs are in line with Facebook’s preferred settings. The right specs assure consistent playback and high-quality views.
Then, go overboard with features that’ll keep them watching
Now that we have the foundation covered, let’s shift gears to the fun part — how to get and keep people’s eyes on your ad! Since Facebook offers a very unique type of ad space, it pays to leverage this fact to your advantage. On YouTube, for example, users are seeking out video content to digest, but are forced to watch video ads as the “fee.” But over on Facebook, viewers are fishing for interesting content, scrolling along glancing at updates, images, memes, and news until something sparks their interest. Your job is to make them sit up and notice in a few short seconds with your irresistible (and unusual!) video ad. Here are some inside tips straight from seasoned video producers on how to successfully “stop the scroll.”
Blur your intro.
Since every video starts with a brief blurry view while loading, there’s a handy little hack you can use to make this work for you: Try inserting a blurred image at the beginning, in the first few seconds before your message starts. This can make scrollers curious and get them to wait and check out what’s coming next.
Shock the viewer with visual effects.
Try some fun visual effects that are so off-the-wall viewers can’t help but stop and stare. A few recent trends involve shaking images, bouncing images and sliding transitions. You can see an example of this creative visual approach with the UAG MacBook Drop Test video. Whatever it is, just make sure your visual editing touches add something that people aren’t used to seeing on Facebook.
Don’t be dramatic. Protect what matters with UAG from SPARKHOUSE on Vimeo.
Drop your discount or offer early.
Hoping to use your video ad to recruit customers with a special offer? Why not just put it all out there at the start! Dangle the carrot and tell them exactly what’s in it for them, and you’ll find they’re more likely to stick around and follow through with an action. You can also try A/B testing to compare the impact of different offers.
Go bold with your graphics.
Adding in eye-catching opening titles is a great way to get right to the point and tell your audience just how awesome your product or service is. Graphic intros are a versatile tool that you can use to tease them with the game-changing message they’re about to see on screen. Make your graphics big, bold and colorful to drum up interest.
Be a square.
One surefire way to get your video ad noticed is to make it square when everybody else is using a 16 x 9 format. Both Facebook and Instagram can accommodate square videos, so this one should be a no-brainer. Not only does it catch the eye, but it also gives your viewer more to look at since a square video covers more real estate than the standard size.
Animated videos are sometimes easier to say “yes” to because they’re fun to watch. Start out your story with a few seconds of animation, or create the whole thing in an animated style. Remember that viewers are used to seeing static photos and text on Facebook and Instagram, so the animated effect in an unlikely place just might make them more inclined to pay attention to your message.
Fit in and look native.
Many times, social media users will ignore Facebook video ads that appear over-produced and too polished. It can work in your favor to give your video the look and feel of native content with a homegrown style, like a vlog or selfie-angle product review. Going with a more realistic approach can help your video avoid the instant skip-over scrollers tend to do when they see obvious ads.
Be upfront and explain quickly.
As your Facebook video ad begins to play, it’s always a good idea to drop product details right off the bat. Think “short and sweet” as you communicate your unique product or value proposition. After you’ve got the viewer’s attention, then it’s time to bring in your stronger messaging with testimonials, how-to instructions or a call-to-action.
Make it newsworthy by mimicking the media.
Since a good percentage of shared content is news-based, one strategy is to model your video after news media clips. A newsy approach can get your video more organic shares, and be sure to add in graphic “explainer” text. If you use text narration, write it in the third-person to help recreate the same tone and voice as news outlets.
Play up aesthetic appeal.
Also known as “sex sells,” this piece of advertising wisdom has transcended the ages because it works. Models, actors, and spokespersons who are both attractive and charismatic can go far to hold the attention of your viewers, and even add credibility to your product or service in a way that words and graphics won’t.
Tease your storyline.
If you start out by dropping a hint that you’re about to tell a good story, your audience is more likely to wait a few seconds to see what’s coming. The FOMO (fear of missing out) effect is real, so make sure you don’t disappoint!
Challenge them with a question.
In the front of your video, try leading with a question to achieve two goals — remind/inform them of something that needs attention, and prime them to want to hear the answer at the end of the video. A lot of times you can use the question/answer format to establish your company or product as a trusted brand that’s here to make life easier.
Show how YOU are part of the solution.
Let your audience see you as an expert by being helpful from the jump. This not only captures their focus but also builds trust. Present a problem that your target customers are experiencing and then use your story to offer a solution. If it hits close to home, you’ve likely hooked them for the duration.
Hit them in their “feels.”
Whether aiming to incite nostalgia, anger, excitement, curiosity or another emotion, generating an immediate reaction from your viewers is a great way to get them to invest in watching and engaging with your video — and, as a result, invest in your business/product/brand.
Now ready, set, go make a Facebook video ad!
We hope our unique takeaways have inspired you to craft a winning Facebook video ad that effectively hooks your target customers and drives both sales and brand awareness. If you’re ready to take the leap and build a strong video ad presence on Facebook (which you should definitely be doing because your competitors probably are), why not shoot for making amazing, innovative videos that get people talking? Now go get ‘em, Tiger!