How to improve the effectiveness of your Facebook Video Advertising

Apply these principles to your Facebook Video Adverts to drive improved performance

Facebook Video Advertising

Social Video has very rapidly evolved into a significant media channel, lead by Facebook who launched auto-play video into its Newsfeed in mid 2013, and which today sees over 100 million hours of video being consumed each day.

Recent data released by Cisco suggests that there’s plenty more room for growth in our consumption of social video, as it forecasts that close to 1 million minutes of video content will cross global IP networks every second within the next 2 years.

With this audience reach and sophisticated targeting capabilities Facebook Video Advertising represents a compelling alternative to the traditional broadcast channels, though it’s not a simply another channel to air your 30 second TV commercial.

When consuming video content on Facebook the audiences behaviour is very different to when they are watching TV, consequently for your video content to be effective across Facebook it needs to be produced in synch with how it is consumed.

The 9 principles outlined below are designed to guide you through the process of creating the most compelling and responsive video content for publication in your Facebook video ads.

1. Video Duration

In January 2018 Facebook released the findings of internal research which looked at how quickly viewers stop watching different types of video content.

The graphs opposite clearly indicate that the average number of viewers of video ads drops off exponentially very early on, with the effect even more pronounced across Facebook and Instagram Stories Ads.

The key outtake from this research is that it is imperative that you communicate your message right up front within your video ad, engaging your audience from the very first frame.

2. Keep it short

For in-stream video ads (ads placed before or during other video content), Facebook recommends a length of 5-15 seconds though they permit a video ad duration of up to 31 seconds. 

For standalone ads published in News Feed, Facebook recommends an ad duration of 15 seconds or shorter, as they have found that, “Shorter videos have higher completion rates, so you can successfully share your entire message.

Facebook's COO makes it clear, short edits win .....

”There’s also an increasing trend in mobile advertising toward making tight, snappy 6-second ads. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg stated in 2017 that compared to 15 and 30 second ads, 6 second ads showed “higher brand metrics across the board”.

3. Leverage your Brand

Meta analysis of video marketing data conducted by Facebook conclusively found that viewers were 23% more likely to recall your brand if the brand was featured within the first 3 seconds.

And if it was featured later, 13% more likely if the brand was featured after four seconds, when compared to video ads where the brand was not included within the video ad.

Source: Facebook IQ

4. No dependency on sound

Facebook released data back in 2016 that confirmed that 85% of Facebook video views occurred with the sound turned off.

Today Facebook auto-plays video with the sound on for desktop users, though its common for these users to mute this before browsing.

On mobile if a user switches just one video to sound-off mode, all future videos will auto-play with the sound off until they switch the setting back.

With this consumer preference to watch Facebook ads on silent mode, it’s critically important that your ad is effective at communicating your message without sound. 

This recommendation is further validated by the data that indicates that your video view times will increase by 12%, on average, when you add subtitles.

Facebook's recommendation.....

Facebook has repeatedly recommended that advertisers add captions to their videos. Their best practices for political ads state the following:

“Your videos should communicate your message even without audio. Don’t rely on voiceovers or dialog to relay key information. Use captions and graphic overlays to make sure your message gets across with sound on or off.”

5. Follow the Facebook Video Advertising Specs

Following the specs will ensure your video ad looks its very best when published and also will be favoured by Facebook in its algorithm, so improving your chance of views.

Facebook has pretty specific recommendations for formatting your video ads which we have listed opposite.


Facebook Video Ad Specs

  • Aim for a H.264 compression
  • Square pixels
  • A fixed frame rate
  • Progressive scan
  • Stereo AAC audio compression at 128kbps or higher
  • Video ratio between 9:16 and 19:9
  • The highest resolution that fits within the file size and ratio limits
  • Video duration can be up to 240 minutes, though whatever the duration it will need to be a max file size of 4GB
  • Recommended video formats are .MP4 and .MOV.

6. Vertical vs Square?

To achieve the maximum video views and audience engagement you’ll want your video ad to dominate the viewers screen, the most effective format to deliver this is the square at aspect ration 1:1 and the Vertical video at 9:16.

Given that 95% of Facebook users currently access the network on their mobiles you’ll want to format your video ad to be dominant in this environment. In the mobile version of the News Feed the square format occupies 78% more screen space than landscape videos.

As we use our mobiles in portrait mode 98% of the time it’s wise to follow the majority and so publish your ad relative to this preference for a portrait orientation.

7. Call To Action

The placement of your call to action should be at the point in the video ad where you have successfully captured your audience’s attention and communicated your core message.

This tends to be at the mid point within the ad, so for a 15 second ad the CTA should be introduced at 7.5 seconds.

This midpoint placement of the CTA is supported by research conducted by Wista, who found that mid point placement generated conversion rates of 16.9% versus 10.9% for CTA’s placed at the start of the ad and 3.2% for ads with CTA’s at the end.

Calls to action positioned in the middle of a video ad clearly outperformed those at the beginning or end. Source: Wistia

8. Facebook video Ad Formats

Facebook offers a range of Video Ad Formats, to help create content that communicates your proposition in the most effective way.

These formats include, vertical video ads, video carousel ads, Facebook Stories ads, canvas ads, collection ads, sponsored live videos, sponsored 360 videos, or in-stream ads.

The question is which is best your campaign?

When selecting the Ad format best for your campaign it’s important to consider your marketing objectives in conjunction with the intended duration of your video. The formats and the objectives they best meet are previewed opposite.

Facebook Ad Formats

Here’s an overview of the Ad formats and the marketing objectives they best fit.


  • Vertical Video Ad – Delivering video views and driving awareness.
  • Video Carousel and In Stream Video Ads – Brand awareness and brand recall.
  • Sponsored live or 360 video – Preferred longer format, which is immersive and effective at driving engagement, discussion and comments.
  • Collection Ads or Canvas Ads – Focused on driving conversions and sales as both these formats enable you to display a video highlighting your products or services while also including clickable images of your offerings below.

9. Upload multiple versions of your video content

When creating a Facebook ad you have the opportunity to upload up to 10 versions of your video to create a 10-way test.

Under this approach Facebook runs these 10 versions of the video ad and optimizes the campaign in real time, ensuring that the most effective version of your advert is aired most frequently.

This 10 way test is designed to minimize the level of subjectivity in the content selection process by letting your target audience decide which is the most effective purely by their actions.

The Playable Algorithm and AI edits your video to be fully optimized for maximum effectiveness in your Facebook Video Ad.

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