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What You Need to Know About Facebook Video Campaigns

Creating Facebook video campaigns is daunting. There are so many options. It seems simple enough until you get into the Facebook Ads Manager. That’s where all the choices can paralyze you.

But, there’s hope. There are best practices that can help you navigate the waters when creating a video campaign, and make landfall with a successful campaign and solid return on investment (ROI).

This article is your map–or cheat sheet, if you prefer–for creating Facebook video campaigns.

To get where you want to go with Facebook ads, you first need an ad vehicle.

What are Facebook Ad Vehicles?

The ad vehicle you select determines where on Facebook your ads are served. The biggest factors to consider when choosing your ad vehicle are your goals, the type of ads you want to create, and your budget.

These are the ad vehicles that Facebook has to offer.

Newsfeed

Facebook newsfeed image
(Source: Nanigans)

If you’ve ever been on Facebook, you’ve seen newsfeed ads. These are the ads that display between your friends’ posts on your timeline. They’re also an effective way to achieve awareness, consideration, or conversion objectives.

Videos in the newsfeed will play automatically–with the sound off–as soon as they appear  on a user’s screen. This makes it extremely likely that users will see the first few seconds of your video. So, make the most of those opening seconds.

The general best practice here is to create ads that fit in with a user’s typical newsfeed. The most prominent types of content on social media are entertaining and educational, so consider this when planning your ad.

Typically, educational content works best for newsfeed video ads. This includes listicle videos, case studies, and stories that educate and inform users about your brand.

Here’s a quick checklist of newsfeed vehicle best practices:

  • Make sure your first 3 seconds snatch people’s attention. Get right to the point.
  • Add captions to make your videos consumable without sound.
  • Use square video to maximize newsfeed real estate.
  • Set up a consistent schedule for your organic content, so your community knows when to expect new content.

In-Stream Video

Facebook in-stream video image
(Source: Adweek)

In-stream video ads play while a user is watching a longer video on Facebook, similar to YouTube midroll ads. And, like YouTube, you can run skippable and non-skippable ads.

Facebook in-stream ads play after a user has been watching a video for 60 seconds or more. So, most viewers will watch your ad all the way through because they want to finish the video they started.

However, this creates a couple of complications for those who want to run in-stream ads.

First, your in-stream ads will run in the middle of a video from a big publishing partner like Buzzfeed or Vice. This means your videos need to be well produced. They don’t need to be Super-Bowl-ad quality. But you’re interrupting high-quality content. You don’t want to look unprofessional.

Second, you need the type of audience that uses Facebook as a video platform. If most of your customers don’t watch a lot of long videos on Facebook, they won’t see your ads.

Success with the in-stream vehicle depends on the quality of your videos and your target audience’s behavior.

Here’s a quick checklist of in-stream vehicle best practices:

  • Only use in-stream ads if your customers often watch long videos on Facebook.
  • Create ads that fit with the videos users are watching.
  • Experiment with skippable and non-skippable ads to see which performs best for you.
  • You’ve only got 5 to 15 seconds to deliver your message, so get attention instantly with your “why.”

Facebook Stories

Facebook stories image
(Source: CNet)

Facebook stories are similar to Instagram and AMP stories and provide short, temporary videos users can watch. The prime strength of Facebook stories is their prominent real estate at the top of the screen when users log in.  So, you’ve got a good chance of getting attention and attracting viewers from the get-go.

The catch? They’re not a strong medium to make a hard sell. 

Facebook stories are all about building relationships with your viewers through authentic, personal content.  Your Facebook stories can achieve this easily with an incredibly low budget. In fact, a selfie video shot on your phone can often do the trick.

Just be sure to shoot the video vertically, in 9:16 aspect ratio. That’s what looks best in Facebook stories.

As with the other ad vehicles, the first few seconds of your video are critical for getting viewers to stick around. So, make your opening shot count.

Lastly, even though you’re not taking a hard sell approach, include a subtle call-to-action. Avoid seeming pushy, and mime a simple “swipe up” action for those who are watching without sound.

Here’s a quick checklist of Facebook story best practices:

  • Shoot videos with a vertical aspect ratio (9:16).
  • Feature team members who are most natural on camera in your Facebook stories.
  • Use a central story or narrative to anchor your Facebook story content.
  • Provide time-sensitive information in Facebook stories, like limited-time discount codes.
  • Make a “swipe up” motion, so viewers can see the call to action as well as hear it.

Instant Experiences

Instant Experiences image
(Source: Adweek)

Instant experiences are a mobile-specific ad format. These ads used to be called canvas ads.

The entire purpose of these ads is to offer the user an immersive, interactive experience without leaving the Facebook platform.

Instant experiences are great for attracting those prospects who don’t want to leave the Facebook app, and for getting viewers to watch longer videos. Once a user clicks on an instant experience ad, they’re taken to a full-screen environment where they can swipe, pan, and watch videos.

This might sound like it would be complex to create. But, Facebook offers templates to make the creation process simple.

The best Facebook video campaign objectives for instant experiences are “traffic” and “conversions.”

Here’s a quick checklist of instant experience best practices:

  • Use a video as the focus of an instant experience.
  • Create engaging visuals.
  • Use, or at least test, the premade templates.
  • Videos should be 5 to 15 seconds long.
  • Build a clear path through your instant experience, so your viewer always knows the next step.

Facebook Live

Facebook Live image
(Source: Facebook)

Facebook Live is exactly what it sounds like: a live video stream that users can engage with by liking or commenting.

One of the best things about Facebook Live is that you can read the comments and respond as you’re on air. So, it creates a real conversation with your audience.

Just keep in mind that Facebook Live is organic content and not a true ad. That means that you’ll need a base of followers in order to get a lot of viewers and interaction on your Facebook Live videos.

The key to a successful Facebook Live is creating a  plan. Know what you’re going to talk about and what questions you want to answer. That way, you can keep the action rolling without getting stumped or sitting with awkward silence.

On the flip side, it needs to feel authentic, so leave room for spontaneity. Don’t over script or over-rehearse.

As you may have guessed, this means that whoever does your Facebook Live posts needs to be comfortable on camera without a script.

If you can, it’s best to set a schedule for your Facebook Live broadcasts, so your audience knows when to tune in.

Here’s a quick checklist of Facebook Live best practices:

  • Wait until you have a fairly large community before going live.
  • Have a plan (and a backup plan) to keep your live broadcasts moving.
  • Schedule your live broadcasts so your audience knows when to watch.
  • Read the comments and engage with your viewers in real time.
  • Ensure you have a good reason to go live. Know what you want to say, so you can cut the stream once you’ve said it.

Now that we’ve covered all the ad vehicles, you need a basic framework for choosing the right vehicle. That’s our next stop.

Choosing the Right Ad Vehicle

Selecting the best ad vehicle is actually rather simple. It’s just a matter of looking at your budget and how developed your Facebook video campaign is. Use these simple criteria to choose your ad types:

  • If you’re just starting to use video on Facebook, and you don’t have a lot of video content yet, focus on the newsfeed and stories vehicles. They’re cost-effective and simple to produce.
  • Once you have more video content to use and clearly identified audiences, create instant experiences.
  • After you’ve built a sizeable audience of followers, start doing regular Facebook live broadcasts.
  • If you have the tools to produce high-quality videos, run in-stream video ads.

That’s it. Just have a look at your current video marketing strategy and see where to head next.

The last thing to consider is a shortcut that Facebook has built into their platform called “dynamic creative.”

Dynamic Creative: The Lego Builder of Ad Creation

Graphic depicting "Dynamic Creative"
(Source: Medium)

Be aware, you need a solid library of ad creative for this tool to work. The dynamic creative tool takes the best performing components from all of your ads and combines them to produce even higher performing ads.

It’s as if all your ads were Lego blocks. Facebook mixes and matches the pieces to build something even better..

Dynamic creative can save you a lot of time in testing and optimizing your ads. Just remember that you need a lot of content for the tool to work with in order for it to work well. 

Conclusion

If you follow the best practices presented here, you’ll reach your Facebook video campaign goals quickly and efficiently. And if you want to dive deeper into using dynamic creative or just learn more about video advertising on Facebook, check out the Biteable Video Marketing Lab.


Rena Frith is a co-author of the Facebook Video Marketing Handbook and a social media scientist in the Biteable Lab.