According to HubSpot, roughly eight billion videos are viewed on Facebook every day — and those aren’t just limited to cat videos. Views for sponsored video content have increased by an impressive 258 percent since 2016. But even after your video appears in a person’s news feed, it can still be hard to retain their attention. An analysis by Locowise found that, on average, most people only watch one third of a given clip. Approximately 53.2 percent of viewers watch 30 seconds.
For entrepreneurs, this presents a twofold challenge: creating content that actually engages your audience, and ensuring that it reaches them in the first place.
Focus on your audience
Consider who your target audience is and what type of content will appeal to them. You may not be working with a multi-million dollar budget, but minding details still makes a difference.
Pay extra attention to the first three seconds. An engaging thumbnail or opening image will catch a user’s attention and keep them from scrolling past your content. Then, keep the video focused on a single compelling message, ensuring that viewers stay tuned long enough to catch your call to action.
Facebook videos should generally be focused on a mobile-first audience. Research from VentureBeat indicates that more than 90% of Facebook users primarily access the social network through their mobile device. With this in mind, a case study by Buffer found that Facebook video ads should use a square aspect ratio, as this can result in up to 35 percent more views and 100 percent higher engagement than landscape videos. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that a square video will actually take up more space on a smartphone screen.
Sound and captioning also require special consideration. A report from Digiday found that 85 percent of Facebook videos were watched on mute. Facebook ads autoplay as a user scrolls past them, so it makes sense that most users would prefer to not have sound. However, this means that you must add captioning so your message can still get across.
Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a professional production crew. One tool that can greatly streamline this process is Boosted, an app that offers a variety of predesigned templates. The ability to use stock clips and music, paired with quick-edit capabilities, allows users to get new ads ready for distribution with ease.
Targeting: the essential ‘sauce’
No article about Facebook advertising is complete without an emphasis on audience targeting — and yes, it is just as important with video ads as with any other content. Appropriate targeting will help you get the video in front of the right people at the right time for ultimate desired impact.
Custom audiences are a great way to build your target audience, allowing you to focus on valuable information beyond basic demographics. Using detailed targeting to build an audience based on their likes and interests, as well as other pages they engage with, will help you identify and reach people who are more likely to connect with your video content.
Facebook video ads can also be triggered by lead events. Consider this case study from AdEspresso: “Madison Reed, an at-home hair color startup, sends a targeted video ad to people once they complete an online style quiz. This is a great idea because Madison Reed knows these people are interested in their product. Also, using the information from the quiz, they can display ads that fit the potential customer’s personal preferences.”
A lead event could even include watching another of your video ads. If someone watches an ad all the way through, it indicates a greater level of interest in your products or services. Retargeting these audience members will help you better understand their interests and purchase intent, so you can present them with even more persuasive followup content.
This process ultimately allows you to create a sales funnel in which videos don’t just get more engagement — they also drive Facebook users toward a purchase from your brand.
Creating engaging video advertisements for Facebook requires a decent amount of work — and more than likely, some level of trial and error. But as you focus your efforts on producing content that truly connects with your target audience, you will get more views and engagement, which will ultimately translate to greater growth for your brand.