The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Video Ads

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June 08,2016 by
Keith Krance

Facebook video consumption is skyrocketing, and it’s surpassing and closing in on YouTube at every turn…

Facebook receives over 4 billion video views per day.

On top of that, Facebook has finally caught up with YouTube in Desktop video viewing numbers. And, Facebook is crushing YouTube in mobile video minutes watched per month.

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This is great for marketers because people just flat out buy more when they watch video. The majority of our clients’ most successful Facebook ad campaigns are video ads. (And we’re managing over $1 million per month ad spend across 60+ different client accounts at either the coaching or fully managed level.)

The numbers don’t lie. According to Adobe, shoppers that view videos are 1.8 X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.

Facebook conducted a study with Refinery29 comparing traditional direct response campaign focused on driving subscriptions vs. a sequenced story-based approach where the direct response campaign was preceded by a “brand video.”

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Refinery29 ultimately had an 87% increase in traffic to the landing page and a 56% increase in subscription rate for those people who saw the branding video first.

Then there’s a recent study by Nielson showing cumulative brand impact on Ad Recall increases 74% after just 15 seconds of a video ad, and Purchase Intent increases 72% after just 10 seconds of viewing!

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With most of our clients, we have seen this type of impact first-hand. And we are managing (or consulting) over $1 million per month in Facebook ad spend now, in dozens of industries with small, medium, and large businesses in B2B, B2C, and E-commerce markets.

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Build Your Custom Audience Retargeting Lists 10X Faster… (and Cheaper)

Facebook wants to make it easier for you to use video ads to create custom audiences and retarget viewers with a more direct promotional type ad.

Here are just a few recent updates to video ads that make this process much easier:

  • You now have the ability to create 6 different “Video Engagement Custom Audiences” based on the length of time people watch your videos. This is game-changing!!

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  • And you can create “Lookalike Audiences” based off the interests and behaviors of these engaged viewers! (This is awesome for those of you just starting out and don’t have a large list or fan base to create Lookalike Audiences out of.)
  • You do not have to use the “Video Views” Objective to create custom audiences out of videos anymore. You can use other Objectives, such as Website Conversions, Clicks to Website, Brand Awareness, etc. and still create Custom Audiences based on your engaged viewers.
  • Facebook removed the limitation where you have to have at least 1,000 views per day in order to create custom audiences from viewers.

Think about how much faster you can build your custom audiences when using video ads… As the average cost per video view we normally see across several markets is between $.01-$.06 cents per view.

This means you are adding a new user to your custom audience lists by $.01-$.06 per person, which you can now retarget with other campaigns.

So… What’s the Hold Up?

It’s been challenging for most business owners to jump on the video ads train. Some of the difficulties we’ve heard are…

  • Lack of video equipment
  • Lack of video technical skills
  • Afraid of the camera
  • Don’t understand the Facebook Video Ads Interface
  • Don’t know what to say, how long the video should be, etc.
  • Pure overwhelm

Do any of those reasons sound familiar to you?

If you said yes, I completely understand how you feel! This was exactly how I felt when I first started making videos and running video ad campaigns.

The good news is that with today’s technology, literally anyone can create and run a high-quality Facebook video ad campaign with no prior video experience or technical skills.

I created a video equipment guide for this exact frustration. It’s a list of what the best piece of equipment that I would recommend for each unique situation: Highest quality video to average quality to iPhone to screen capture only video, video cameras, microphones, lighting, editing software, editing outsourcing options, and teleprompter apps.

And the bad news, for those of you still in resistance…

Facebook video isn’t just a hot future trend. This is happening now. This is the best.

(DigitalMarketer also has a great post about the tools they use for video marketing… check it out here.)

But even more important than the quality of your video is the content itself. You could make the worst quality video ever, but if the content makes a connection to the end user then you can hit it out of the park.

If you’re really afraid of doing poor videos, just think about this for a second…

People scrolling through their newsfeed are looking for natural, fun videos that a friend or relative may have posted or shared. Not a perfectly polished commercial…

To make it a no-brainer for you, I’ve laid out a simple 5-step process for crushing it with Facebook video ads.

But, first, let’s talk about…

The 3 Stages of a Facebook Video Ad 

1. The First 10 Seconds

Facebook video ads displayed in the newsfeed (on desktop and mobile) will be on auto-play with the sound all the way down. Therefore, you either have to get the viewer to click the video player so it un-mutes it, or you need to tell the same story visually even if they don’t un-mute the video.

The best videos do both. (At least in the first 10-20 seconds.)

Use text overlays in your video to highlight the most important points in your video, or to give the viewer a call-to-action. (Example: “Click to Hear Important Message,” or “Click the Learn More Button to _________.”)

In the 3 examples below, you can see different ways to use text overlays to get people to take action.

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The great news is now you don’t have to create text overlays with your video editing software – you can just tell Facebook to “Add Captions,” and they will automatically add a text overlay for you!

You just have to be careful with these as Facebook is captioning word for word, and it can sometimes mess up the text or be too much all at once for the viewer to comprehend.

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2. The Meat: Educate, Demonstrate, and/or Entertain

The more you educate and demonstrate, the more people will trust you and want to continue watching and to take action.

And the more value you provide, the more people will share your video.

Sharing gives you free impressions and views, AND signals to Facebook that your video is engaging and improves the user experience, and you get rewarded with cheaper views, cheaper clicks, and more impressions – which equals better ROI for you!

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3. Call-To-Action (CTA)

The key to success here is to make your CTA natural and seamless. You want the viewer to feel like the most natural next step is to click through to learn more about your product, buy your product, register for a webinar, etc.

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My favorite strategy is to have a “Soft CTA” in the first 25% of the video and a “Strong CTA” at the end, where you tell the viewer to “click the button you see on the screen or the link in the post.”

Here’s an example of a Soft CTA:

These are the first four audiences you should start any new Facebook ad campaign with. In my Free training you can access by clicking the button on or below the video or the link in the post, I have a more advanced training on each of these audiences and ad sets, but here’s an overview…

Check out the way I use a Soft CTA in this ad by informing the audience that my book is up for grabs for free, without telling them to go add it to their cart.

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Here’s another great example of a content-rich video ad with a Soft CTA by Andy Harrington. Andy gives value throughout the entire video, which is 5 minutes long, while also letting the viewer know that you can get his book for free plus shipping. He makes a quick 5-second mention of the free book in the first 20 seconds, then teaches the entire time, then has a CTA at the end of the video.

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Now we’re ready to dive into the nitty gritty of Facebook video ads. Let’s do it!

5 Steps to Crushing it with Facebook Video Ads

Step 1: Make an Engaging Video

You’ll want to choose one of 3 proven video styles I’m sharing with you below.

Use your iPhone or other smart phone to record your videos. The HD quality of iPhone’s now compare in quality to $1,500 video cameras, and the iPhone has the amazing ability to make great videos without optimal lighting.)

We’ve seen 3 main styles/lengths of videos work well as Facebook ads:

Short Video Snippet (0:15-0:30 seconds)

A short, curiosity-based video where you give a preview of what the user will see if they click through. Or give a “nugget” of information or a “did you know?” factoid, and click through to find out the reason why.

These are the key elements you would want to script out for a short video ad:

1. Grab attention. Possibly use a Pattern-Interrupt.

2. Build interest or curiosity. How can you quickly make your audience aware of a problem your product or service solves? Can you create an open-loop?

3. Show your authority or credibility without looking like you’re boasting.

4. Try and give an “aha moment.”

5. Natural CTA. A good video ad makes the CTA the obvious next step for the viewer.

Traditional “Commercial” Style (0:30-2:00 min)

This is the most popular style, although not necessarily the best performing. Just because I used the word “commercial,” doesn’t mean you want your video looking like a TV commercial. You want it to look interesting and authentic, yet still persuasive.

Long-Form “Edutainment” Style (3-6 minutes)

This has been one of our most successful styles of video ads.

A content-rich video that educates, informs, possibly entertains, and persuades.

It doesn’t have to be between 3-6 minutes either – some of our most successful video ad campaigns are longer. We have a 9-minute and 12-minute video ad that have both knocked it out of the park.

Your goal should be to make a big impact on the top 5% of people – not every single person. On average, 4-5% of viewers will watch 100% of the video, whether it’s 45 seconds long or 12 minutes long…

Once you have a video that’s ready to go, it’s time to use Facebook to amplify it out to the perfect audience, which we’ll cover in…

Step 2: Create New Campaign Using the Most Optimum Campaign Objective

The Objective you choose will play a big part in the performance of your campaign.

If your goal is to generate conversions, such as webinar registrations or product sales, then you should start out using the Website Conversions objective.

Now, if you’re looking for speed and ease of use, the fastest and simplest way to get a video ad out to your target audience is to “Boost Post” right from your Facebook page (without using the Ads Manager or Power Editor).

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Another great reason for Boosting posts is that this is the easiest way to test different types of videos. You can boost several videos on small budgets as you create them, and the videos that get the best engagement and have the best performance out of the gate are the ones you can focus on scaling out using the Website Conversions objective, or any other objective you’d like to use.

We’ve seen huge conversion cost swings just by changing the objective from Video Views to Website Conversions. And vice versa.

In most cases, we’ve seen the best results using the Website Conversions objective when the main goal is to generate conversions. The cost per view may be a little higher than Video Views, but Facebook is putting that video in front of the best segment of people inside each audience – the segment of people who have a higher likelihood of converting instead of just watching a video.

With Facebook’s recent improvement on Video Views objective bidding, we can now optimize for 10 second views instead of just 3 second views – a higher quality view.

And we’ve seen this objective outperform Website Conversions in some cases.

Also, Facebook’s improved the Brand Awareness objective, where you can now track “Ad Recall Lift,” which shows the estimated number of people Facebook estimates will remember seeing your ads within 2 days.

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My suggestion?

Start with the Objective most aligned with your ultimate goal  be it conversions, clicks, Likes, views, etc.  Then test other campaign objectives and see which one works best for your video type.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Step 3: Create First Ad Set Based on Your Target Audience

We like to start out most campaigns with “warm” audiences, as you’ll see in the screenshots below.

Warm audiences are people familiar with your brand.

(Check out this great guide from Molly Pittman on defining your traffic temperature and know the audience you’re speaking to.)

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The first ad set is targeting all website visitors (DWM Site wide 180 Days) and all subscribers (DWM All Contacts) and excludes webinar registrations. (As an aside, we exclude webinar registrations by excluding all visitors who hit the webinar Thank You Page.)

Step 4: Create an Ad with Compelling Ad Copy

We have seen 3 categories of ad copy that work with video ads.

Short Copy

I consider a “short copy” ad as an ad where the user does not have to click “See More” to read all the content in the post.

Short ad copy is the most popular type of copy you see on Facebook. The goal is to get the viewer to watch the video and/or to get them to click through. In the ad below, the first line focuses on getting you to watch the video.

The second line is all about clicking through to get the survival can opener.

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This video ad by Tom Breeze barely makes the “short copy” category, but all the ad copy is visible without clicking “See More.”

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This ad follows the same framework as the short copy ad above: The first half of the post copy is focused on getting you to watch the video, and the second half is focused on motivating you to click the link to download the masterclass.

Long Copy

This is where you have to click “See More” to read the entire post copy. We normally follow the same framework of first half focusing on the video and the second half focused on the CTA.

The screenshot below was taken during the first 10 seconds of a 6-minute video, before clicking “See More.”

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The second screenshot (below) is the same video, about 90 seconds into the video and after clicking “See More.”

And if you look at the video closely, you will notice that it is a Keynote slide, not my face in front of the camera. I am only on camera for about 15 seconds of this video, then it is just a screen recorded video of a Keynote presentation. (Using Screenflow software.)

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Long copy ads are my favorite ad type, whether we’re running a video ad or a non-video ad. In most cases, long copy ads have outperformed short copy ads in terms of ROI.

In many cases, our lead costs go down while the lead quality goes up.

Whenever I’m creating an ad, or Ralph Burns and his team are creating an ad for a client, we’re always thinking about how we can get the highest quality click, not just about getting cheap clicks or cheap views. (Ralph is my partner in crime at Dominate Web Media; you’re probably used to hearing him drop paid traffic knowledge bombs on the Perpetual Traffic podcast.)

You don’t get penalized or charged more when people click “See More,” it signals to Facebook that your ad is engaging, and you get rewarded.

Another hidden benefit to long copy ads (as long as it doesn’t appear too salesy or hyped up!) is that they give a higher perceived value to the average user on Facebook.

Even if someone doesn’t watch your video, but they see that you’ve shared some useful or interesting information by glancing at your ad copy, they will share it tag one of their friend’s in the comment thread.

The #1 Principle (out of 6) in why people share things, according to Jonah Berger in his book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” (one of my favorite books) is: “Social Currency.” People want to seem smart and want to look good by sharing something valuable.

The 5th Principle is “Practical Value.” People like to share useful or valuable information. When you give useful/valuable information in your ad copy or video, people will share your video. It’s that simple. And this means cheaper clicks and more impressions!

Long-Ass Copy (LAC)

Ralph Burns gets credit for naming this ad copy, and we even created an acronym for it – LAC! There’s no rule of thumb here – it just means really long copy. In some cases, we will take an entire blog post and put it into the post of the ad.

We will edit out some content, but sometimes we have a mini-blog post as post copy of the ad… and it works!

The ad below is one of the best performing ads I’ve ever created for the Dominate Web Media brand products — even with me doing a lot “wrong,” but we’ll get to that in a moment.

This ad links to a sales page where people can get my book free + $4.95 shipping in the U.S. and $19.95 outside the U.S., and it is generating new customers for less than $4 per customer, targeting 80% cold audiences and 20% warm audiences.

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This is a long, 9-minute video with really poor lighting for the second half of the video (it was filmed outside using natural light, and it was getting dark, but the next day I was going to be out of town for 10 days, so I had to use it), and a typo in the ad copy.

I write “Top 4 Fast Start Questions I get Asked” and I only listed 3. 😉

I’m doing everything wrong according to all the experts.

  • Too long of a video.
  • Too much ad copy.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Not the typical ad copy focused on fear of loss and scarcity…

…yet, it is generating leads for $2 and customers for $4. It’s a 2-step order form where you enter your name and email first, then get to the full order form.

And building Video View custom audiences for $.05 cents per person.

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To see this video ad live in Facebook you can click here and dissect it. 

Step 5: Monitor Reporting, Adjust, & Optimize

As soon as your video ad starts running, you can start to monitor performance.

Use the “Customize Columns” dropdown menu in the Ads Manager to filter out the unnecessary metrics and focus on the most important metrics for your situation.

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Use the “Search” feature inside the customize columns window to quickly select the metrics you want to analyze.

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Notice the “x” options on the right side of the window.

Here you can remove un-needed metrics that can clog up your report, and re-order your metrics to make them easier to analyze.

Some important metrics unique to video ads are:

  • Cost per conversion (lead, registration, purchase, etc.)
  • Cost per video view (10 seconds and 3 seconds.)
  • duration of video viewed. (This is important especially if you’re testing different intros to the same video or different ad copy.)

Next, dig into the Breakdown data – specifically Placement and Device. Here you can compare desktop vs mobile, newsfeed vs right column, etc.

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That’s the 5-step process for crushing it with Facebook video ads!

Below, I’ve added a few more examples to help give you more ideas and inspiration for your next video ad…

I love this Zenreach video ad, because it shows the product in action. In the intro the guy makes you aware of the problem (not getting repeat customers), and the rest of the video shows the software in action.

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This is a video ad I helped my designer and assistant Rachel set up to help raise money for her 3-month old Siberian Husky puppy who came down with an unknown condition where she couldn’t get any food down without yelping in intense pain.

She told me she had a 30-second video she took to send to the vet, so we took that video and turned it into a video ad sending people to a GoFundMe campaign that a friend helped her set up.

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Here is the email reply I got from Rachel when I was checking in on things a couple months after we got things going.

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We created this campaign in about 30 minutes and recorded the whole process and put the video inside Facebook Ads University for people to see how quickly you can do this if you just bear down do it!

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This is a video ad I recently ran while I was promoting The Machine coaching program as an affiliate. I used email marketing combined with Facebook video ads and page post link ads to promote this launch.

I figure that if I’m going to promote somebody else’s product I might as well build my own audience along the way, as a collateral benefit.

How did I do this?

I initially used video ads driving traffic into their landing page, which was building my own video view custom audiences the entire time, as well as branding myself to my exact target audience.

Then I started running page post link to a couple different blog posts on my own site where I had another video about why this coaching program is so awesome, and about the bonuses I was giving away for people who bought the program.

Again, building my own custom audiences and driving traffic into my own site.

I ended up taking 5th place in the Joint Venture competition among some of the biggest gurus in the digital marketing industry and selling a lot more than other affiliates with lists much larger than my list, while getting a 10:1 ROI on my Facebook ads.

It’s worth noting the combination of my email marketing along with Facebook ads was the key. One without the other wouldn’t work as well…

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This was the second video ad I decided to run last minute the day before The Machine closed. Notice the cost per view of $.03 and the Relevance score of 7/10 on a highly promotional ad.

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I ran this video ad in 2013 to promote DigitalMarketer’s Black Friday Boot Camp $7 webinar. Again, back then nobody knew who I was, and I hardly even had an email list at that time. I took 2nd place in this promotion — but there weren’t as many big “gurus” to compete against in this promotion though, haha.

This campaign was mostly driven 90% by Facebook ads and 10% by email marketing. As opposed to my recent Machine campaign which was closer to 50/50 Facebook and email… As it was also a $2,000 product compared to a $7 webinar.

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The ad you see here is driving Facebook cold traffic directly to an Amazon product page. This is normally something we would NOT recommend doing, as Facebook ads are “interruption marketing” and you normally need to lead with something higher up in your sales funnel.

You normally need to educate and/or really build in some desire before you can go in for the sale.

However, in some cases you can skip this entire process with the perfect video that gives instant third-party credibility and also educates at the same time.

In this case study the campaign was not only getting a positive ROI, but it also took the Amazon rankings of this product to pretty non-existent to the 2nd page on it’s way to the first page, in a matter of weeks.

A Must-Use Strategy

It shouldn’t be a matter of if you should be running video ads vs. more traditional page post link ad campaigns… Or a matter of comparing the performance of a video ad campaign vs. a page post link ad.

It should be a matter of and you are running video ads alongside your page page post link ads, and how your different video ads compare to your other video ads – not how they compare to your link ads. It’s apples and oranges.

The amount of collateral branding that is happening when you are running a video ad campaign is 10X what a typical Page Post Link Ad is giving you.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy & paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)


Keith Krance

About Keith Krance

Keith is the founder and president of Dominate Web Media, a full service agency and consulting company specializing in helping businesses scale their marketing and increase their reach by using strategic Facebook Advertising, Retargeting, and tapping into dozens of other online media channels and social media marketing platforms. His team has managed several million dollars in Facebook advertising spend which has generated hundreds of thousands of new leads, and several million dollars in revenue generated directly from Facebook and other online media channels.

View all Posts by Keith Krance