YouTube now reaches more 18 to 49-year-olds on mobile devices than any network, including broadcast or cable, and Facebook racks up over 4 billion video views per day. In this article, we’ll dive into the strategies you can employ when creating video ads for both platforms.
Let’s start with how to make video ads for Facebook. According to Tech Crunch, the Head of Operations for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn, said that in five years Facebook will “probably” be “all video.”The world of online video advertising grows bigger and more dynamic every year.
She went on to say, “The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video. It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”
Creating video ads for Facebook: Tell a story.
You need to think of each platform as its own marketplace, with unique consumer behaviors. A common mistake marketers make, is using the same video ad across all platforms. However, an ad made for TV will likely not do as well on YouTube... and an ad made for YouTube, might not do as well on Facebook.
On Facebook, your ad will be in newsfeeds, competing with content posted by friends and pages your target audience have liked. So, how do you compete? What’s that one thing most Facebook videos have in common?
They tell a story!
Facebook held a study with Refinery29, a modern women’s publication with a focus on on trends and lifestyle. The study found that sequenced ads that told a story had much higher success rates than sharing non-sequenced content, that didn’t tell a story. Melissa Goidel, chief revenue officer at Refinery29 said, “By telling the Refinery29 story during the acquisition process, and building awareness and consideration before driving to conversion, we were able to increase our return-on-investment and ultimately acquire a more informed and qualified subscriber.”
Facebook’s autoplay video function: Yes, you do need text on screen.
By now, we’ve all noticed the (sometimes distracting) auto-play function for Facebook video. As you scroll through your timeline, videos start to play automatically - but without sound. Today, 87% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound.
Brands and publishers have adapted by adding eye-catching, smartly worded on-screen text to their video ads for Facebook. Is this totally necessary? We think so, yes! Don’t be overwhelmed by the task of adding titles - Showbox has easy to add on-screen text that will make this necessary process a breeze.
Content timeliness on Facebook: Evergreen or trending?
While creating evergreen content is a classically good move, video ads for Facebook don’t stick around in the same way that YouTube ads do because of the nature of Facebook timelines. So, when considering what types of ads to run on Facebook, it might be helpful for you to keep an eye on trending topics, and see if you can jump on board.
Explore framing options.
Facebook gets about 6 times as many video views on mobile than YouTube, and since most video on Facebook is consumed on phones, it might be a good idea to test out a square video size to make the most out of your limited real estate.
In addition to watching your video ads on Facebook, your ads will also show on Instagram, and now - thanks to Facebook’s new video ad strategy - Facebook will put your ads in front of viewers on the other apps and sites they frequent as well.
“These sites include popular video publishers like USA Today Sports Media Group. In–article video ads will appear on mobile pages of publishers, such as Daily Mail, between paragraphs of text and play automatically when at least half the pixels are viewable. In this format, the viewer must opt-in for sound.” - Facebook
Start with a bang: capture attention quickly.
People click away very quickly if their curiosity isn’t piqued. Start with an eye catching opening (see: Showbox video openers), and if you have a notable element (celebrity, stunt, cute animal, etc), lead with your strengths.
Defining view counts.
Facebook defines a “view” as three seconds of completed video, and on mobile, only 50% of the video screen has to be visible. So how do you asses viewcount value on Facebook? It’s a tough game, but one thing is clear: those first three seconds are the most important.
According to Adweek, “Views are not impressions. An impression simply means that your content has been delivered to an individual, and does not mean that he or she actually watched it.”
Alternatively, YouTube’s TrueView ad format is skippable after 5 seconds, and you are only charged for complete views or views up to 30 seconds – whichever one comes first.
While the pay and viewcount system on YouTube might be more straightforward than Facebook, there are some other important things to keep in mind - like the fact that YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the internet.
What does that mean for you? Well, if someone doesn’t like your video, it could cause more harm to your SEO: If people click away after 3 seconds, then your video gets pushed down in search results.
Which begs the question...
Is YouTube better for video ads than Facebook?
Let’s take a look at what some of the big players are doing:
Global ad firm Interpublic Group (IPG), said it would shift $250 million in TV spending to YouTube, and Toyota (TM) will increase its ad spending by 400% in 2016. The industry is definitely making some choices that speak volumes about their video advertising priorities, and their views on the value of YouTube.
But there’s more to it than that...
The life of video ads for YouTube.
Video ads on YouTube live as individual videos on your channel, unlike most Facebook video ads, that exist for the duration of the campaign. Because of this, evergreen YouTube video ads tend to be more successful.
Video ad content strategy on YouTube.
People come to YouTube for stories, for how-to help, for inspiration, and more. When thinking about how to make video ads for YouTube, use the information you have on viewer behaviors to create extremely targeted video content.
Think of your video ads for YouTube as advertisements for your channel itself, not just for your brand or specific campaign. Take a look at some of these successful video ad campaigns on YouTube.
P&G Thank You Mom:
Always Like A Girl:What do these YouTube video ads have in common? These brands created entire serieses out of their video ads, seamlessly integrating their video into YouTube’s storyteller environment.
Video ad length on YouTube.
Even though people can click-away after 5 seconds, and the usual countdown clock is :30 seconds, you don’t need to stick to it. If you capture their attention, viewers can watch your entire video, so if you start strong, and tell a story, you just might hook them long enough to stay for the duration of your video. And if your video is part of a series? Even better! They can then go explore all the other videos you have to offer.
Work the system: collaboration on YouTube.
Collaboration on YouTube is huge - it’s how YouTube’s star-system of influencers was built. Working with other brands, or influencers, can improve your view and subscriber counts by giving you more organic exposure. Seek out influencers whose target demo matches yours, and see if you can think of a mutually beneficial video collaboration concept. The “mutually beneficial” part is important: YouTubers know that they built their audiences by being authentic - most influencers don’t do classic endorsement deals - they want to provide value to their fans. What can you offer?
Commonalities between Facebook Video ads and YouTube Video ads:
- Both have more mobile views than desktop.
- Both stress the importance of the first 3 seconds.
- Excellent targeting opportunities! Give yourself a tour of the targeting options on the back end for both platforms. Experiment with different targets, and pivot your future campaigns accordingly.
- CTAs: Calls to action are an important part of getting the most out of your video ads.
- A lot of quality analytics are available to you, so you can track the progress of your campaign.
Facebook Video Ads vs. YouTube Video Ads: Do you have to choose?
We think not! Both platforms are important, and even though Facebook’s viewcount and ad charging system is a little harder to navigate than YouTube’s, Facebook receives over 4 billion video views per day and their ad targeting capabilities are seemingly limitless.
Each platform has its negatives, and its positives. Facebook wants brands to pay to reach as many eyeballs as possible, so much so, that any posts that have not been boosted or paid ads, their algorithm significantly suppresses your organic reach. But then again, on YouTube, you’re competing with famed storytellers and content creators for view counts.
So, you don’t need to choose one or the other, but you do need to create unique videos for each platform if you want to be the most strategic. However, that doesn’t mean you need two entirely separate and time consuming video creation processes. In Showbox, the video creation process allows you to save formats in order to easily create multiple different videos within the same visual realm.
That’s just one of many ways Showbox helps brands make the process of creating online video ads efficient and cost effective.