Between the two memes below, which one captures more of your attention, the static one, or the dynamic one?
Are video ads more effective?
In the circle of FB Advertising, it’s a well-known fact that video ads generally convert better than any other ad formats such as text ads and photo ads.
- Facebook native videos have an 86% higher reach than similar content on YouTube.
- 54% of people wanted to see more video content from a brand or business they support. Those people are also 85% more likely to purchase after viewing a product video.
- Video ads received 20% more clicks than images.
A video ad also allows for retargeting, a standard technique that boosts conversions by showing the same ad or an improvised version of the ad to those who have viewed the video for a certain length of time.
You may check out the latest trends and statistics about video advertising here.
Consequently, many marketers have made video ad their top choice of ad format for promoting an e-commerce product. And so should you.
But before you rush to join them, it’s worthwhile to invest some time into learning how to make a good video ad.
Video Ads vs Photo Ads
The reason is, compared to photo ads or other ad formats, a video is much more expensive to make. So a poorly done video ad suffers a worse ROI.
It also takes you a longer time to optimize a video ad’s performance. Because unlike photos, you won’t have many different videos available for split-testing.
Ad optimization time
Potential ROI / ROAS*
Potentially better or worse
*return on ad spend
So what are the secrets behind those killer video ads that experienced FB marketers made? How did they manage to drive the engagement and conversions to sky-high?
To answer these questions, we studied the best video ads we could find, from which we derived a few fundamental principles. We hope through sharing them, you can apply the same principles in your video ads and replicate their success.
The basic best practices of Facebook video ads
We conduct sales funnel audit as a service for new e-commerce stores to help them understand why they are not making any sales. Over the years, we have seen many store owners struggled with conversions because of some fundamental mistakes they were not aware of.
Therefore, before we go into the advanced section, we want to cover some common-sense practices regarding video ads that many ad agencies and FB themselves have recommended.
The expected quality of a FB ad video
To begin with, you should use high-quality photos or source videos to compose your ad video. In the age of Blu-ray and HD video streaming, your audience expects to see photogenic imagery on their feed.
I’ve seen many e-commerce businesses made the mistake of using poor-quality source material they acquired from their suppliers or scraped from youtube to make their ad videos. Those ads just failed to convert.
Likewise, you should also use proper language in your ad texts or subtitles. Your audience automatically associates professionally made videos with trustworthy brands.
The ideal length of a FB ad video
FB users nowadays have a shorter attention span. It is thus necessary to keep your ad video concise so that you can deliver your marketing message to your audience before they run out of patience viewing it.
Hubspot’s research put the optimal length of an ad video to be 1 minute in the FB feed and 30 seconds in the Instagram feed.
Consequently, you should select only the top key value propositions (benefits) of the product and focus on promoting them in your video. And the rest? You can leave them on your landing page.
An ad video should have at least one CTA (call-to-action) message to encourage the viewers to take the intended action. You should place the CTA somewhere after the 30-second mark and before the end of the video.
The rule of thumb is to pick the time where the interest of the audience reaches climax. Usually, that is after seeing the product in action.
When shown, the CTA should stand out on the frame.
Finally, it’s unlikely you can get the ad right on the first try. Successful marketers split-test their campaign to success.
They make more than one video of the same product and write more than one version of the ad copy. They then put all combinations in either a CBO (campaign budget optimization) or A/B testing campaign to pick the winning ad based on statistical criteria.
The secrets behind highly converting product video ads
Having covered the basics, we now discuss what drives the conversions behind winning product video ads. You will find that the answers are mostly related to human psychology.
1. Do comprehensive research
What type of video is the best for a FB Ad campaign?
The answer is, “it depends.”
Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.David Ogilvy
He advised the readers to start an advertising campaign by learning all the facts about the product and its targeted users. A marketer should know what the consumers like about the product, what triggers them to make a purchase decision.
Furthermore, he should analyze competitors’ advertisements for similar products. In particular, what language do they use and what offers do they make in their ads.
Different audiences like different videos. Also, different products call for different ways of presentation. If your product’s core value is in its usage, an instructional video will likely attract the audience’s interest.
For example, to advertise a makeup brush, an instructional video showing a model using the makeup brush will have a higher conversion rate than other video types.
If your audience follows influencers and has a herd mentality, e.g., in the travel niche, it is advisable to hire an influencer to produce an aspirational type of video.
In summary, research as much as you can about the product and the audience you are targeting. So that you can then design your video ad to tailor to the audience.
2. Grab attention in the 1st few seconds of the video
As your audience views the ad video, they begin to drop off at different stages of the video. It follows that if you can grab the audience’s attention early in the video, you will be able to convert more viewers into buyers.
Nowadays, viewers often stop an ad video in the first few seconds of playing, when they fail to catch a glimpse of anything that seems interesting to them. After all, their time is precious to them.
As a consequence, if you manage to introduce the main value proposition in the first few seconds of your video, you allow more viewers to understand what you offer, compared to adding it at the later part of the video.
So, if your audience has a pain point and your product or brand is the solution, start showing that right at the beginning of your video.
Another commonly used trick is to put some news-worthy items e.g.,
do you know that your mouth is home to 300 types of bacteria?
or helpful information e.g.,
research shows white teeth increases the chance of closing a deal by 10%
there. These are known and tried methods that can grab the attention of your viewers.
3. Tell a compelling and authentic story
In human psychology, there is an interesting cognitive effect called story bias, which refers to human’s tendency to absorb information in story form.
To understand the concept, let’s do a thought experiment.
A: “the boy died, and the dog died.”
B: “the boy died in a car accident, and his dog died out of grief.”
If the above two statements both describe the same event, which one is easier to remember?
The first statement is just a collection of facts, while the second one contains a narrative. Most people will retain the second statement more easily.
Because the second statement has “meaning,” it appeals to the human brain. From our experience, we all prefer events in our life to have meaning, and it helps us to remember them.
As a marketer, you should capitalize on this effect.
When creating a product video, instead of going over a list of benefits or features, why not tell a story that is compelling to hear and matches the real-life experience of buyers?
4. Appeal to the emotion of the audience
Humans are emotional creatures. We often desire something that fulfills our emotional needs, even though it has no or low intrinsic value.
For example, diamond is a very abundant element on Earth, yet it commands an inflated price. It is valued because it fulfills the emotional need of many newlyweds, being a symbol of love.
Likewise, a video ad that targets an emotional need of the audience speaks to their hearts and captures their attention quickly. It ignites a strong urge to purchase the product after viewing it.
Below is a list of common emotional needs that you can target, together with some ideas for video ads.
- Security—We are risk-averse, hate drastic changes, prefer to maintain the status quo in life. Example: renew the vows with your loved one with this ring.
- Change—We want variety and diversity in life. Example: add pastel colors to your wardrobe with this new collection.
- Recognition—We want others to affirm our value and worth. Example: Be at the top of your professional career with this suit.
- Contribution—We want to show others our generous side. Example: We donate every $1 of this sale to charity.
- Excellence—we want the best for our life. Example: When you buy this watch, you buy a piece of the history of watchmaking.
Example #1: Resistance band ad targeting the need for security (maintaining a workout schedule even when gyms are closed).
5. Reuse an idea that works
You might wonder how the most successful marketers can consistently produce video ads with high ROI. It is as if they have an unlimited source of creative juice.
But in reality, they don’t always conceive new ideas to make video ads. They borrow or reuse ideas that are already proven to work.
After all, split-testing ad creative is an expensive endeavor. If you have a winning ad, you want to maximize the return of the investment you have already made to find it, by reusing its idea.
To do that, one should study what works in the ad, then adapt the underlying principle to other products’ advertisements. The psychology underpinning high conversion rate is often reusable.
Top e-commerce marketers regularly spy on the ads from competitor stores, just to learn any new techniques they used in those ads.
You can make a decent product video ad by following the basic best practices. However, to boost the conversion rate, you must first understand the product and the audience, then use your knowledge to create a compelling narrative that appeals to your audience’s emotion. Your video should also convince the viewers of the product’s value as early as possible.
Lastly, if an idea works, reuse it until it stops working.