Liz shares recent observations regarding video ads on Facebook as well as some updated best practices you should consider incorporating into your ad campaigns.

Episode 0335


An Update on Facebook Video Ads


Sandro: [00:00:06] Welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We’re the podcast that gives digital marketing news, advice, ideas, tips and all of the other good stuff that goes around helping your small business grow. Today Liz is giving us some insight on video ads on Facebook. 

Liz: [00:00:23] Yeah, I wanted to chat about videos, specifically in Facebook ads, share some things I observed over the last several weeks. And maybe debate a few things and I would certainly love to get some insight from our listeners as well. So it’s no secret that over, with all of the shifts in Facebook over the last several years, that almost all of our ads have been video ads. I think probably at least a year if not longer, that’s, that’s really been our go to at this point. And throughout this process I’m always trying to get a sense of what is working, what doesn’t work. Of course Facebook throws us curve balls when they add new features. We need to be nimble, we need to test different things. And, yeah we just do the best we can in that arena certainly. 

Liz: [00:01:08] But at any rate, a client came to us in the last couple of weeks and they said ‘Hey, we have something we want to promote.’ It was not a full campaign. It was literally just, ‘Hey, throw this on our page, let’s boost it, we want to get a little bit of traction with this.’ And I’ve taken a step back. By the way, we are updating a lot of our internal systems. So I find myself taking a step back a lot lately. But certainly in this case, I took a step back. And I thought, OK what, what needs to happen here? Because for this particular topic actually that the client wanted us to promote, we didn’t have a video ready to go for it. So, I’m like, OK, what do we need here? 


Video Ads Over 15 Seconds. . . What’s the Point?


Liz: [00:01:47] And I was thinking, we are spending so much time creating videos that are 30 seconds or a minute long, what’s the point? You know, they, as Sandro knows, and if you are playing around in the Ads Manager, the percentage of video viewing tanks significantly. You know, I think, I think in Facebook they give you stats for 25 percent of the video watched, 50, 75 and so on. And yeah, those, those numbers just decline rapidly as, as time progresses. So I went to my team and I said, ’15 seconds. Tell the story and the message in 15 seconds.’ That’s it. 

Liz: [00:02:27] Quite honestly, the ad didn’t perform all that well in terms of clicks and I won’t get into why. I think some of our targeting was off. Yeah, that’s a conversation for another video. But what was very intriguing to me was that in this particular instance, a good majority watched 75 percent of the video. Like I think it was like a thousand, eleven hundred some views and nine hundred of those views were still engaged at the 75 percent mark. Which yes, by the way was all of nine seconds. But, but that’s the world we live in. You have seconds to capture someone’s attention. Maybe a few more seconds to get the story going or else you’ve lost them. So I was like, OK hey whoa, what what did we do with this video that was clearly so engaging? 


Use Text On Screen


Sandro: [00:03:22] And you showed me the video and one of the things I loved was that it had text, text overlay or it had text that I was reading to see what was actually happening. And I wanted to keep watching and see what the next bit of text said to tell me what I was seeing, what I was gonna about to see, what this was all about. 

Liz: [00:03:38] Yeah, so we used Lumen5 to create the video, which allows you to create some text overlays. And I do like that. And I started to do a little bit of research into this, and I’m going to need to do more digging. I mean I’m, I’m fascinated by why people like this this style of video so much. 

Sandro: [00:03:58] With the text? 

Liz: [00:03:59] Yeah, I mean I find, look I’m not, Instagram is my preferred channel. I’m not on Facebook all that often. But whenever I do hop in there I find myself stopping and watching those, what are they, like crafting videos or you know, cooking videos with, with some text overlay. You know add two tablespoons of butter, add your sugar, like whatever it is, like something about those videos just makes me stop and I’m not sure what it is. Truthfully we are not a large enough agency. We’re not churning out enough of these Facebook ads to really collect massive amounts of data to know why. But yeah these, these videos are clearly intriguing to people. 


People Love Closed Captions


Sandro: [00:04:42] It could have something to do with, I love closed captioning. I’ve been watching everything and anything with closed captioning on for the past 15 years to be honest with you. And I thought it was just me getting older but I noticed a friend of mine, she’s 24 and she discovered closed captioning and she watches everything with closed captioning. And I just love it because then, you mentioned it earlier, I don’t miss out on maybe some little whispers in the background. There are some spoilers sometimes, it’ll tell you who’s speaking and maybe you’re not supposed to know who’s speaking right now on the phone. It’s the evil villain and they’ll name the evil villain in the closed captioning. But it is something that I’m addicted to. I watch everything with close captioning on to be honest with you. 

Liz: [00:05:24] Yeah, Rob does too. I personally don’t like it, but I know a lot of people do. So, so maybe that has something to do with it. Yeah. Again I’m going to do a little more digging and figure out what that is all about. But as Sandro and I were talking about my shift to shorter video, he actually, you pointed out that Facebook is now recommending video be 15 seconds. 


Instagram Stories Are 15-Seconds Max


Sandro: [00:05:48] Right. We started a new client and they had four video ads and were testing all four to see which one hits the best. And they made them all 15 seconds or less fortunately because Facebook said, ‘We highly recommend under 15 seconds so we can distribute it amongst all of our platforms.’ Including, you know, if you’re over 60 seconds they won’t put it on Instagram. If you’re over 15 seconds they won’t put it on Stories because Stories have to be under 15 seconds. And all their ad platforms you may as well try to get to as many as you can and see which one hits. And so it just happened to be coincidence that you said. 

Liz: [00:06:26] Yeah, and you pulled it up on the screen. And I hadn’t seen that before. I had seen a lot of recommendations on the aspect ratio, which we’ll get to in a minute, but I had not seen that recommendation that it only be 15 seconds. Which makes sense and that’s where we’re headed. Yeah. 

Sandro: [00:06:43] Agreed. So we are saying, keep your ads at 15 seconds? Video ads.

Liz: [00:06:46] Definitely. So whenever we record these episodes I always like to come with some data and some stats. And of course the one I’ve pulled I feel like at this point is outdated because we’re recommending 15 seconds. But the stat that I found said 83% of the most successful video ads are shorter than one minute. And the best performing ones are only 15 to 30 seconds long. I would even argue that when you get to 30 it’s too long. I think really keeping it under 15 seconds is important. As we continue to do more and more with video for social media ads, there are some challenges that we’re running into. And they are nothing that can’t be overcome certainly, but it’s definitely forcing us to kind of shift our process and how we approach working with clients. 


Aspect Ratio?


Liz: [00:07:39] And getting back to the aspect ratio. If you go to, we’ll include a link in the show notes, but Facebook has some best practices for aspect ratios. They’ve got some good visuals. So, a lot of times what we do is, a lot of our clients have footage. You know they recorded it themselves. They’ve worked with professional videographers. There’s footage in Dropbox that we can use, and my team will go take a look. It’s landscape, it looks great. We’re like, oh yeah this video is going to be great. And we also know that there is a trend towards vertical video and square video and we drop it into, again quite honestly we’re just using Lumen5 for now, it’s quick, it’s easy. You know, we’ll drop the video into Lumen5, crop it to a square or vertical and it totally loses the context of the story. 

Liz: [00:08:29] And yeah, it might only be a five second clip, but when your video is 15 seconds, that five seconds is really important for moving the story forward. And if it’s just a dead five seconds of, what the heck am I looking at? Well, that footage is not, it’s, it’s not good. It’s no longer usable. So I think we’re going to have to go to clients and say, ‘Hey, some of this footage, yeah it was really great. But you know, as we move towards vertical video it’s not going to be as useful. So let’s let’s rethink this. Let’s make sure when we film in the future we’re capturing video in a different way or telling the story in the best way possible to accommodate for these new aspect ratios.

Sandro: [00:09:12] Yeah, I totally was not onboard with the vertical video format, but really it’s the way everyone’s watching nowadays. Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories Instagram feed videos are square like you said. 


Vertical Video Is Where It’s Currently At


Liz: [00:09:27] Yeah. And that’s not to say I’m totally ditching landscape videos. We have a couple ads I think running right now that are landscape, that’s just what we have to work with right now. But again, I’m really going to make it a point to say, ‘Hey clients, we’ve gotta, we’ve gotta shift, we have to pivot. And with that pivot also comes a, kind of a change in our process as wel.l Because I was telling Sandro, a lot of times we’ll go to clients and say, ‘Let’s get the project rolling.’ I’ve glanced at their footage. We’ve got some footage. So great. You know, we’ve got something we can work with. Let’s, let’s figure out, let’s dive into personas a little bit more, let’s figure out exactly what combination of Instagram and Facebook we want to use. Let’s, let’s figure that out as we go. 

Liz: [00:10:11] But we can’t really do that anymore because, you know I’m looking at again, this link we’ll include in the show notes. It’s a great visual from Facebook. It shows the best aspect ratios based on the channel that you’re using. 

Sandro: [00:10:25] Whether it’s Instagram or the Facebook feed or Stories. Facebook only… 

Liz: [00:10:29] Yeah. Yeah there is a lot to consider and I’m looking at this going, wow, we almost have to decide what channels we’re going to use ahead of time. Like from the get go. Like I can’t, by the way, so I’m a thinker. I like to think and sleep on things and apparently I’m not going to be able to do that anymore. I’m going to have to make much quicker decisions and recommendations and say, yup we’re going to go with Instagram & Facebook feed. But, we’re not going to do Stories because of links and aspect ratios and all of that. And we’ve got to create a video that’s this and let’s get it done. Yeah we’re going to have to kind of shift the, I guess the order that we’ve been making decisions and presenting things to clients. 

Sandro: [00:11:15] Think mobile first. 


Think Mobile First. . . duh!


Liz: [00:11:16] For sure. So I would recommend that you start to consider this in your business, in your agency’s short videos, figuring out how to tell the story in under 15 seconds. And thinking through how you’re going to capture new video so that it fits best with the device that it’s going to be viewed on. 

Sandro: [00:11:38] And consider text overlays too I would say. 

Liz: [00:11:40] Yeah, because those are magical, I don’t know why. I stop and watch them too. Yeah, and I feel like several years ago I did glance at an article that explained why people love them, but I can’t remember the science behind it. 

Sandro: [00:12:03] Well thanks Liz. It is evolving, video is evolving obviously on all of our platforms, but for now I agree. Fifteen seconds or less. You’ve got a lot of choices to make and its aspect ratio is something you want to think about right away. And consider using text graphics or text overlays. Yeah. 


Consider Text Under Instagram Video Posts


Liz: [00:12:22] But see, I’m also really particular. I’m very particular about what the video, the text that’s used in the video and how it accompanies the text in the ad. Because I don’t want to be totally redundant. You know I want some, I want the two lines of text or multiple lines of text to build on each other. And then what’s tricky is in Facebook, you see that, the line of text above the video, in Instagram it’s below. So you have to almost be writing… 

Sandro: [00:12:56] Wait, what does that mean? I don’t understand. The text? The overlay? Or… 

Liz: [00:13:00] Not the overlay. Like a post in Facebook, you have the sentence and the videos below it. But in Instagram, you have your video and then the caption I guess, is below it. 

Sandro: [00:13:13] The ad copy or the post copy. 

Liz: [00:13:15] The ad copy, yeah the post copy is below it. So what, what are you seeing first? And it’s really hard for me, for an agency my size to, to test some of what I’m talking about. I don’t even necessarily, I don’t even necessarily think you could focus group that I think. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ve read about some studies that hook people up to computers, that you know, devices that study you know, reaction to brain waves. They are capturing where the eyeball is going and then you can really better understand what text is being processed. Like what text and images are being processed first. 


Focus Group Tests?


Liz: [00:13:59] A lot of our clients are smaller we, we don’t even go the focus group route. You know, we do like what you use just said, you’re like, we’re testing four ads, we’re going to figure out what works and move forward. So you’re kind of testing and failing forward as you go. I think that’s how most small businesses are, are approaching marketing which is my recommendation. Anyways, I actually think you could probably focus group the heck out of something and it could still fall flat. Anywho, I’m probably overthinking the fact that the ad copy, the post copy appears above the video on Facebook but below it in Instagram. My point is, I try not to be super redundant. 

Sandro: [00:14:38] Or the copy in the video you said. 

Liz: [00:14:39] Yes. You see, these are the challenges of a perfectionist. 

Sandro: [00:14:44] If you had enough money, you could ad test or test the heck out of everything. 

Liz: [00:14:49] Yeah, if the client did. 


YouTube Video Ads?


Sandro: [00:14:51] Yeah, right. Well thanks so much Liz. I love these conclusions and it’s almost like a state of digital video. By the way, we’re talking Facebook and Instagram video ads right? There’s no Google. YouTube. 

Liz: [00:15:04] Yeah, I did not want to get into other platforms. 

Sandro: [00:15:08] YouTube or LinkedIn or Twitter. 

Liz: [00:15:10] Or LinkedIn. By the way, they just announced a live video feature. LinkedIn, yeah. But I didn’t want to talk about that in this video. Yeah, no I mean, video, video is used in so many different ways depending on the channel and you just have to be very mindful of that. 

Sandro: [00:15:28] Even Amazon now has, if you sell your stuff on Amazon you can have a video. So you have a live Q & A kinda thing. 

Liz: [00:15:39] Oh wow. 

Sandro: [00:15:40] Yeah, it’s kind of funny. All right, well thank you so much Liz. I appreciate this and hopefully everyone’s doing some video, some form of video ads. Dip your toe in the water. 

Liz: [00:15:51] Yeah, and we’d love to hear from the audience. What are you, what are you seeing, what’s working, what’s not? What challenges are you facing? We’d love to hear from you. 

Sandro: [00:16:00] You can reach us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’ll also leave our email address in the show notes. If you like what you hear, we’d love a review. Thanks again for joining us. We’ll see you next time.