LIGHTS, CAMERA, CALL-TO-ACTION!Getting Creative with Facebook and Instagram Video Advertising
Video ads are no longer just the domain of brand marketers
Video ad growth is exploding, driven by direct response$30.3 billion worldwide video ad spend by 2018Source: ZenithOptimedia, March 2016
VIDEO ADS ON FACEBOOK + INSTAGRAM
Flexible ad formatsEye-catching autoplay functionalityIntegrated direct response tools
For direct response advertisers driving real revenue growth through Facebook and Instagram, the power of video ads is clear. Digital video ad spend is expected to top 30.3 billion worldwide by 2018. And its just the beginning.
Videos rise to dominance comes as no surprise to those keeping an eye on the latest trends in advertising, mobile, and consumer behavior. This dynamic format is perfectly suited to capture peoples attention on mobile, tell a quick and compelling message, and inspire viewers to take action. Whether thats making a purchase from your mobile website or downloading your latest app, video is a powerful medium for driving measurable direct response impact.
The potential for increasing advertising ROI using video on Facebook and Instagram is especially promising. These platforms offer flexible ad formats, eye-catching auto-play functionality, and integrated direct response tools to help maximize your return on ad spend. If youre not taking advantage of the video ad opportunity, you may be leaving revenue on the tableso theres no better time to press play than right now.3
Creative best practices and inspiration
Tips to jumpstart high-performing campaigns
Analysis of exemplary ads and why they work
Since creative is perhaps more important with video ads than with any other ad type, this eBook is full of insights and tips to make your videos shine (and perform). In this guide, youll find:
- Creative best practices and inspiration- Tips to jumpstart high-performing campaigns- Analysis of exemplary ads and why they work4
Creative best practices for videos that inspire action
1. Follow the 3 second rule
ENGAGE RIGHT FROM THE START
Capture viewers attention in the first 3 seconds
Start with a captivating visual hook
Experiment with video length
The first three seconds of your video ad are pivotal. Thats how long it takes for people to decide if theyll continue watching, or keep scrolling and abandon your message. Right from the start, videos should include a strong hook to capture the viewers attention.
After the first three seconds, its important to consider the length of the rest of your video ad creative. While Instagram specifies that videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds long, Facebook allows for much longer videosup to 45 minutes!
Short attention spans and conventional wisdom dictate that longer videos may not hold peoples interest, but its always worth experimenting to find the perfect length for your advertising goals. If the theme or atmosphere of your content call for a longer-form video and its performance is delivering high returns, dont be afraid to push the limits of each advertising channel. As long as you captivate viewers in those first three seconds, the rest of your video offers endless opportunities for creative messaging and experimentation.
This ad for Qubec City tourism grabs the viewers attention right from the start. It begins with a man walking down a beautiful city street as the scene around him changes three times in the first three seconds. The result is a visually interesting hook that may mean potential travelers are more likely to keep watching and click to learn more.6
2. Choose thumbnails wiselyAUTOPLAY IS NOT A GUARANTEE
Viewers may see your thumbnail first if the video does not start playing automatically
Choose a bold, eye-catching thumbnail image
Avoid using a random still from your video
Your videos thumbnail image matters just as much as the video itself. Much of the time, video ads will begin auto-playing as soon as they come into view; however, auto-play is not a guarantee. Depending on mobile data connectivity and an individuals app settings, ads may display a static thumbnail first. In this case, videos dont start playing until someone taps the play button, so the thumbnail image becomes your best chance to catch someones eye.
Visually appealing, colorful images that boldly communicate what your videos all about are strong bets. Make sure you choose a thumbnail that is clear, well-framed, and looks appealing as a stand-alone image. This means that simply picking a random still from your video may not deliver the best results. Steer clear of using frames that show blurry mid-action scenes or people facing away from the viewer.
In its Instagram ad, Ralph Lauren Fragrances uses a clear, bold thumbnail image to catch peoples attention even if the video doesnt start auto-playing right away.7
3. Stick to a sequenceFAMILIAR PATTERNS CAN HELP PERFORMANCE
Introduce your product and build up to a compelling call-to-actionGive viewers a clear next step using the ad copy or content in the video itself
Videos are one of the most flexible creative ad formats available, but structuring digital ads around a familiar pattern should help drive performance. Throughout your video, introduce your brand to viewers and build up to a compelling call-to-action (CTA) at the end. Progressing to the CTA is essential, as its the key to enabling viewers to take further action from your ad. Especially for direct response advertisers, compelling people to click the CTAto make a purchase, download an app, and moreis everything.
Another idea is to try using the ads copy to give viewers clues about next steps. Videos should hold the viewers attention every step of the way, so establishing a strategic sequence can help increase the likelihood people will take action.
In this example, Azar shows a logical progressionthe story of two people meeting each other using Azars video chat appfollowed by a corresponding CTA to download the app so you can have fun meeting people, too.8
4. Be creative with your call-to-actionLIGHTS, CAMERA, CALL-TO-ACTION!
Use Facebook and Instagrams built-in CTA buttons, like Watch More, Download, Book Now, Shop Now, and Sign Up
Test in-video CTAs, using bold visuals to inspire action
Lights, camera, call-to-action! To spark any downstream behavior beyond simple views, videos need a strong CTA introduced by a compelling sequence of events. To ensure that youve picked the optimal CTA, its smart to test all the available built-in options on the ad type youre using. On Facebook and Instagram, for example, you can choose from Watch More, Download, Book Now, Shop Now, Sign Up, and more.
Another tactic is to emphasize your CTA in any ad copy accompanying your video. To give potential customers every opportunity to take your desired action, in-video CTAs are another creative approach to consider. Try including a screen in your video dedicated to your CTA, or even feature an integrated verbal prompt.
Explore every strategy available to maximize the effectiveness of your CTA, and ultimately, the return on your video ad spend.
Using an end card with a text-based or spoken CTA, like in this example promoting The Walking Dead: Road to Survival mobile game, is just one way to spark action from potential customers viewing your video ad.9
5. Dont limit your definition of videoTHINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Experiment with different video formats to help your ads stand out and drive maximum performanceStill Image SequenceCinemagraphsStop Motion Animation
Not all videos require a big budget, actors, or a camera crew. One of the most exciting aspects of video ads is that they offer the chance for marketers to be incredibly creative with how they promote their products and services. Here are some interesting alternatives to a typical live-action video.
Still Image SequenceA fast-paced sequence of still images can be a creative way to produce an engaging video ad without the need for actual video footage. Here, Michael Kors does a great job leveraging this technique.
Cinemagraph Cinemagraphs are still photos that incorporate a subtle element of repeated motion. In this eye-catching example of an Instagram ad for the Chef Nightly app, the visual appears entirely still, except for animated steam that continually rises from the hot skillet on the table.
Animation Whether its digital or stop motion, animation can be a powerful visual tool to catch peoples attention. On platforms like Facebook and Instagram, people are used to seeing real life photos and videos, so a colorfully animated ad is more likely to stand out. This Facebook ad from Too Faced Cosmetics makes great use of stop motion animation.10
6. Keep it fun and positiveENTERTAIN AND DELIGHT VIEWERS
Many people use Facebook and Twitter to be entertained
Integrating humor can help your video ads resonate with your audience
People use social media to connect with friends and discover new things they care about. Many times, using Facebook or Instagram can be a fun escape, so dont be afraid to match your video creative to fit into this context. Taking an approach anchored by humor or human interest can be a fun strategy to test. Videos that are upbeat and entertaining may be more effective at driving your desired action.
In Dollar Shave Clubs Instagram ad, the company tells a short, funny story that immediately conveys the value of their product to viewers.11
7. Optimize for silenceADS ARE SEEN, BUT NOT ALWAYS HEARD
Music and dialog are important tools, but viewers might not hear them
Use creative overlay text and bold visual storytelling to get your message across without relying on audio
A videos music or dialog can be an important storytelling tool, but you should plan your ad creative assuming that the soundtrack may never be heard. Video ads on Facebook and Instagram auto-play with the audio muted, so people wont hear anything until they click on the video itself. Through the use of creative overlay text and bold visual storytelling, you can convey the value of your product without speaking a single word.
This Instagram video ad from Gap gets across the modern style theyre promoting without the need for audio.12
8. Make your content immersiveBRING VIEWERS OUTSIDE OF FACEBOOK OR INSTAGRAM
Transport audiences and give them a unique, engaging experience
Help people feel like theyre interacting with your product firsthand
Transporting audiences into your video makes for a more memorable experience. Try using an immersive perspective to help viewers feel like theyre interacting with your offerings first-hand. This Facebook video ad from Walt Disney World makes viewers feel like theyre shooting down a water slide at Blizzard Beach.13
Ideas to Jumpstart Your Video Ad Campaigns
Creating and launching your first video ads can be fast and simple. These creative ideas will help get you up and running quickly, so you can start seeing how video can improve your bottom-line ROI as soon as possible.14
1. Repurpose a TV ad or demo videoUSE EXISTING VIDEOS TO GET UP AND RUNNING QUICKLY
Repurposing other videos for Facebook and Instagram can make them even more actionable
Consider some light editing to optimize existing videos for each ad channel
If youve already created a TV ad for your brand or product, then you have a great starting point for video ads! While theres ample opportunity to produce custom video content tailored to each specific digital advertising channel, repurposing existing creative assets is a smart way to hit the ground running quickly.
Television ads can work well as social ads because they give your audience a high-level introduction to your brand while remaining short, easily digestible, and entertaining. Repurposing TV ads for paid digital advertising gives you the opportunity to make the ad even more actionable with CTA buttons and informative copy.
If you want to reuse an introduction or demo video from your website, make sure that its short and instantly understandable, even without sound. If thats not already the case, some lightweight editing can go a long way in making an existing video more effective for advertising on channels like Facebook or Instagram. Remember, people can easily visit your website or app to learn more, so dont feel the pressure to bog down your video by including every single detail or selling point.
In this example, Thumbtacks video could work equally well if it were broadcast on TV, featured on their website, or promoted as part of a digital ad campaign.15
2. Make a video product catalogA LITTLE MOTION GOES A LONG WAY
Turn existing product photos into a short video slideshow
Try featuring just one product per video for maximum impact
An easy way to dive into using video ads is to approach them in the same way you would a product-focused photo ad. Dedicate each video to just one product, showing off its unique details or filming it in action. Enhance the impact by styling these videos to have atmosphere and attitude, creating a visually engaging experience.
Keep in mind that your videos can be very short, even just a few seconds. By using existing product photography or short video clips, you can experiment with featuring your offerings in a whole new way. Adding just a little eye-catching motion to your ads could be the trigger that inspires your target audience to make a purchase or download your appgrowing your revenues in the process.
Here, Neiman Marcus Facebook video ad keeps things clear and simple when showing off the LAGOS Jewelry line with an eye-catching visual.16
3. Show off gameplay or user experienceOFFER A GLIMPSE INTO YOUR GAME OR APP
Previewing in-app content can result in higher intent clicks to install your app
Showcase a visual experience that puts the viewer in the center of the action
Video ads are the perfect way to give audiences an idea of what its like to use your app or play your game. Offer up a visual experience that puts the viewer right in the center of the action.
When someone has a sense of what theyll get prior to downloading your app, they may be more inclined to click the ad and download the app to explore for themselves. Even better, these new users downloading your app will already be familiar with the in-app experience, which could mean they are more likely to turn into high-value, revenue generating users.
In the Facebook mobile app install ad below, Kabam uses in-game footage from its hit title MARVEL: Contest of Champions to give their audience a taste of the action.17
4. Create a how-to videoPROMOTE YOUR VALUABLE EXPERTISE
If you use an existing how-to video, make sure the format and style suits your advertising channel
Dont forget to include a link to learn more, or shop the products in your video
Offering up your unique knowledge and expertise through an instructional video is another interesting approach for video ads. By presenting helpful content in a visually engaging way, you can encourage more video viewers to click through to your website to learn more. Videos featuring handy tips related to your product or service can be a high-value alternative to a standard direct response message.
If youre using a preexisting how-to video, be sure its bright, clear, and visually appealingall key elements to high-performing video ads on Facebook or Instagram. If your existing video isnt quite fit for paid promotion, it could be worth investing in new short how-to clips to maximize advertising ROI potential with the least upfront effort.
In Essies ad, the company uses on-screen text to outline step-by-step instructions for achieving a specific look with their nail polish.18
Video Ad Examples and Why They Work
Understanding best practices for digital video advertising is one thing, but seeing them put into action is another. To showcase some compelling examples of whats possible with the medium, weve chosen four real-world video ads you can use as inspiration for your next big campaign.19
1. FableticsENTERTAINING, CONCISE STORY WITH A STRONG CALL-TO-ACTIONClearly conveys the value of Fabletics product in a fun way
Expressive characters and on-screen text help reinforce the story without sound
A bold call-to-action (VIP exclusive offer) ends the video to drive purchases
FULL VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/Fabletics/videos/1047555878599783/
In its Facebook video ad, Fabletics tells a short and sweet story that highlights the value of its yoga pants. The video features a woman returning a pair of yoga pants to a competitors store, recalling how the pants left little to the imagination in her last yoga class.
Fabletics ad tells a concise story thats not only entertaining, but also clearly conveys the quality of their products in comparison to the competition. A combination of expressive characters and on-screen text helps present a problem and subsequent solution that viewers can quickly grasp, even without the videos dialogue. In under 30 seconds, the video entertains, articulates the products value, and provides a compelling reasona new VIP member exclusive offerfor viewers to click through and make a purchase.20
2. NorwegianSAYING A LOT WITH A LITTLEA simple, calm beach scene conveys the tranquility of the Caribbean destinations where Norwegian can take you
A subtle text overlay hints at the chance for discovery, enticing viewers to book a flight
Picturesque scenery fits in naturally with other organic content on Instagram
FULL VIDEO: https://www.instagram.com/p/_Zvq7zyF1i/
Norwegians Instagram video ad uses very little action to say a whole lot. The video is a simple moving picture, conveying the beauty, tranquility, and warmth of a tropical beach vacation, of course easily accessible by one of Norwegians flights to the Caribbean. By creating an immersive and enticing atmosphere, Norwegian transports viewers to the island getaway. And the subtle text overlay hints at the chance for discovery, encouraging people to click the ads call-to-action button to learn more about booking a flight.
On Instagram, organic posts and ads alike speak a primarily visual language. With its beautiful scenic view, this video ad highlights how powerful imagery can speak louder than words.21
3. PillPackCLEARLY DEMONSTRATING COMPELLING VALUEEasy to understand how to use PillPacks product and the value it providesall in 15 seconds
The message and next steps are clear, even without the audio playing
FULL VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/pillpack/videos/964026706986583/
This Facebook ad from PillPack is a perfect example of how to convey the use and value of a product through video. In the 15-second clip, PillPack quickly demonstrates how to use its pill sorting system to make taking medication simple and easy.
The effectiveness of PillPacks video is thanks, in part, to the fact that its message comes across loud and clear, even without any sound. In fact, even if viewers on Facebook do click the video to start audio playing, they wont hear any dialoguejust a friendly, upbeat musical soundtrack.22
4. TripItAUTHENTIC TESTIMONIALS IN A VIDEO SPECIFICALLY FORMATTED FOR INSTAGRAMFriendly faces communicate the value of TripIts app
TripIt cut down a longer-form video to feel more native on Instagram
The video ends with a taste of in-app functionality before a call-to-action to drive new downloads
FULL VIDEO: http://www.nanigans.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Instagram-Video-Ad.mov
In TripIts Instagram ad, the video features real world users of the companys app speaking about how helpful it is for keeping complicated travel plans organized and easily accessible. The video includes three friendly faces sharing relatable situations in which having their travel plans and documents in a single place made all the difference.
Here, TripIt has customized an existing longer-form video from their website, editing it down to a more bite-sized length of 15 seconds to work well on Instagram. Using the same video across paid and organic marketing channels can go far in presenting a cohesive message to prospective customers. On top of that, its a great way to reduce the time and effort required for channel-specific creative assets.
TripIts video ends with giving viewers a taste of the app itself, followed by a compelling value proposition and a call to download the app from the app store.23
Thats a wrap
The time to capitalize on video ads is nowVIDEOESPECIALLY ON MOBILEIS MORE POPULAR THAN EVERTime spent watching video is greater than ever
Mobile adoption is fueling video growth
Facebook and Instagram are investing heavily in video products
Video ads are a powerful tool for both branding and direct response campaigns
US digital ad revenue from desktop and mobile video ads will top $6.2 billion this year, and will skyrocket to $13.3 billion by 2020. There are a number of factors behind videos ride, including:
The time adults spend watching digital video each day has increased from 21 minutes in 2011 to one hour and 16 minutes in 2015Astronomical mobile adoption rates are driving increased digital video ad spendFacebook and Instagram continue investing in more robust video ad solutions to serve advertising goals across industriesMore data-driven marketers recognize that video can be not only a powerful branding tool, but also a real revenue driver when leveraged for direct response advertising
Armed with the best practices, pro tips, and creative inspiration in this eBook, youre ready to put video ads to work growing revenue at scaleand Nanigans is here to help. In-house marketing teams manage more than $600 million in ad spend through Nanigans advertising automation software each year. In Q4 2015 alone, Nanigans enabled direct response advertisers to increase mobile video ad spend 44% on Facebook, all while optimizing for higher revenue and customer lifetime value.
To start scaling your video ad performance and increasing the revenue impact of your digital advertising, request a Nanigans demo today.25
Visit our resource center for more guides, case studies and benchmark reports.