How to Create Profitable Facebook Mobile Video Ads for Every Placement (News Feed, Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, Canvas)

How to Create Profitable Facebook Mobile Video Ads for Every Placement (News Feed, Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, Canvas)

How to Create Profitable Facebook Mobile Video Ads for Every Placement (News Feed, Pre-Roll, Mid-Roll, Canvas)

Why Brands Can No Longer Ignore Facebook Mobile Video Ads

Mobile is fast becoming the primary media consumption device, and people people are watching for longer - especially on Facebook. More than 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day, so video ads now give businesses the potential to reach a huge audience.  Amazingly, US mobile ad spend is projected to grow to overtake TV ad spend during 2019.

To give you a sense of the impact of mobile content (including ads) on Facebook, the site says that it takes people just 1.7 seconds to consume mobile content on Facebook, compared to 2.5 seconds on desktop, and that people report recalling mobile feed content after seeing it for just a quarter of a second.

Unlike TV where the majority of commercials are still 30-seconds long and non-skippable, mobile video ads appear in a variety of skippable and non-skippable formats on Facebook: in the News Feed, and before and during videos.

The challenge for businesses, then, is how to create mobile video ads that generate the best return, wherever they are placed. In this blog post, I will cover the three main video ads types on Facebook, highlight their benefits, and offer some key techniques for helping you to succeed with each.

News Feed Mobile Ads

When a mobile video ad appears in the News Feed on Facebook, it is not alone - it has to compete with all of the other content around it. Despite this, a News Feed ad that grabs someone's attention can persuade them to stop and watch for a significant duration (especially if the video is on the longer side). The result is a better-engaged viewer, hopefully one more connected to your brand, and ready to take action on whatever the ad wants them to do.

Key Strategies for Mobile News Feed Ads

  • Create mobile ads for feeds that grab attention in the first few seconds and encourages the viewer to stick around. People have total control over what content they watch and for how long in the News Feed, so the faster you communicate your message in a video ad, the better. For example, begin with stunning shots of your products and vivid backgrounds.
  • People's mobile device volume is often off as they scroll, so better if the message can be communicated without sound (or with captions). Internal tests from Facebook show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%.
  • Don't forget to think about the video thumbnail image and video title. As people scroll their feeds, brand colours, themes and imagery can help people connect the video to your brand.
  • Similar creative could apply to News Feed ads that, when tapped, convert mobile full-screen Canvas ads, which include additional information and visuals. 

Pre-roll Mid-roll ads

Pre-roll ads play before a Facebook video starts, and mid-roll ads plays a minimum of 20 seconds into the video. Depending on your ad objective and placement, they can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as 115 seconds.

And since these ads appear during content that a person has chosen to watch (and wants to continue watching), in-stream ads tend to get high completion rates, making them particularly useful for advertisers who need to deliver longer or more complex messages. Facebook's internal reporting shows that more than 70% of in-stream video ads are viewed to completion.

Key Strategies for Effective Pre-roll or Mid-roll Ads

  • Since viewers will often be in a watching mood with their volumes up, ads with sound work well when placed within video streams. In fact, one of the many strict guidelines for in-stream video ads on Facebook is that they have to have sound.
  • Drop-offs and annoyance grow with ad length, and since no ads is un-skippable anymore (all a user has to do is look away, even if an ad is "un-skippable"), 6-second and 15-second ads are emerging as cross-platform standards.
  • Consider how you can creatively structure an ad to work for those who only watch for 6-seconds and for the smaller percentage of people who will watch for longer. For short pre-roll ads, keep in mind that a lot of viewers have trained themselves to look for and tap the "skip" button as soon as possible, so their attention may be even harder to grab.

Canvas Ads

Although Canvas ad content is a mixture of formats (images and text in addition to video), the fact that its content loads and displays almost instantly within Facebook makes the inclusion of video appealing, so I thought it worth mentioning here - especially given Canvas' mobile-first outlook.

When people click on the photo, video, carousel, slideshow, or collection ad within their mobile News Feed, Canvas opens up a rich, fullscreen experience inside of Facebook where they can interact with the content.

Key Strategies for Effective Canvas Ads

  • Hook people in with a strong ad (like a News Feed example described above) that gives them a reason to tap to see Canvas content.

  • Canvases that only a single video or image get less attention compared to longer Canvases that mix 5-7 components. Use compelling headlines and succinct copy to guide people along. Words can help break up your Canvas into consumable sections.

  • People might not reach the end of your Canvas before leaving, so highlight your strongest points early or throughout the Canvas to keep them interested.

Over to you

How will mobile video ads fit into your strategy now or in the future? Whether you're already experimenting with them or just looking into it, it's an area of opportunity that brands, particularly given Facebook's preference for video content, can't ignore. I'll finish with this, from Facebook itself:

"By playing with new ad formats and creative types, testing new approaches and, most importantly, putting mobile at the center of our strategies, we can find new and better ways to inspire people to stop, look, feel, share, do and buy."

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


Andrew Macarthy is a social media consultant and the author of the #1 Amazon Web Marketing Bestseller, 500 Social Media Marketing Tips.

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