ONLINE VIDEO ADVERTISING: All you need to know in 2020
By Matteo Gasparello
A new Facebook study revealed that people spend 5 times longer watching video content than reading static content.
Gary Vaynerchuk, Larry Kim, and Neil Patel all used video ads to grow their audiences on every major social network, increase brand recall for their products and reach consumers at scale. But how can you take advantage of them?
In this guide, I’m going to show you:
- The 6 elements your video ads must have if you want to outperform your best static ads;
- The 6-second non-skippable video ad that won’t annoy your users;
- How to create a “thumb-stopping” effect that gets your target audience to watch your videos and buy from you.
Ready? Let’s do it!
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Table of Contents
With video ad spend to reach $20B in 2020, we know that more and more companies are investing in video advertising online.
Why? Because they work.
US Digital Video Ad Spending, 2017-2021 (billions)
In fact, the average time viewers spent watching video ads in 2017 has grown by 19% compared to the year before.
On top of that, the Video Completion Rate (Videos Played All the Way Through) reached a staggering 69% in 2017.
Average video ads completion rate:
But if you want to succeed with digital video ads in 2020, there are some things you should know.
First, like for every digital marketing channel, also the video space starts to get saturated (the law of diminishing returns affects any kind of advertisement) and CTR is lower compared to previous years.
To win the video ad war, last year we saw more companies competing with shorter ads. To start, Snapchat limits ads to a max of 10 seconds, and also Facebook recommends video ads to be 15 seconds or shorter.
IAB released a great research and discovered that 10 second videos can help maximize impact among Millennials, who are particularly sensitive to mobile ad clutter. Mobile video ads for this audience should be well targeted, relevant and enjoyable to help maximize its potential impact.
An upside of shorter ads is that they allow more ab testing: it’s much easier to create four versions of a 10-second ad, than four versions of a 30-second ad, give the same budget and timeframe.
The last trend, of course, is about mobile.
In fact, mobile video viewing broke records in 2018.
But that’s not all:
Forrester discovered that mobile is forecast to account for 72% of the growth in spending on online video advertising in the next 5 years.
With a CTR higher than any other type of ad, you start to see why you should invest in video advertising.
But how do you plan and create an effective video ad?
Keep on reading, the answer is in chapter 2.
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So you want to create a video ad. Where should you start?
It’s simple: from a detailed plan.
Who fails to plan, plans to fail, they say, and this is absolutely true for video ads, that require a good investment of time and money.
In this chapter, you’ll discover how to optimize your ad budget for maximum results, and the best practices to create an high-impact ad.
BONUS: Get my video ads swipe file with 14 successful video ads.
#1: Plan before you buy
The goal of media planning is to determine the best combination of media to achieve the marketing campaign objectives. In our case, we‘ll plan for the creation and the promotion of the best video ad possible.
The upside of media planning: you create a comprehensive strategy so you’ll know where you are going and you won’t waste your budget creating an ad that doesn’t convert.
The downsides? None. It’s a crucial step that should never be overlooked.
What I want you to do is to get to know your customer and write down everything you may need for your video ad: the exact words to use, the features of your product you should mention, which social networks to use to promote your web video ad.
You have several ways to gather this data:
MEDIA PLANNING STRATEGY N. 1 – CUSTOMERS INTERVIEWS
Find five previous customers willing to chat with you on the phone for 15-20 minutes, and understand why they bought from you.
Write down the exact words they are using to describe your product (you’ll use them later in your ad).
Understand where they hang out online: you’ll use this info to understand which channels use to promote your video.
MEDIA PLANNING STRATEGY 2 – GATHER AS MUCH DATA AS POSSIBLE
ASK AROUND – Talk with the CEO, VP of Strategy and anyone else from leadership that can give insights on who their dream client is.
TALK WITH SALES – What do prospective clients ask them?
CHECK THE CRM – What are people saying when they contact the company?
STALK CUSTOMERS ONLINE – Get the name and surname of 20 past clients and check them online. Discover which social networks they use every day, what content they share, and which pages they follow.
The interests box at the bottom of every Linkedin profile.
MEDIA PLANNING STRATEGY 3 – CHECK YOUR COMPETITORS
You should also check what your competitors are doing online.
By using Buzzsumo, you can understand which topics are getting the most shares (these can be useful ideas for your videos) and in which platforms they are being shared.
You see where I’m going with this?
You are making your life easier because with these three strategies you understand what your customers want to hear, and where they want to hear it.
PRO TIP: To get more insights and a real example of a detailed media planning and media buying strategy, you should check out my 5-step media buying case study here.
#2: How to put together your video ad
Now that you know who you are talking to, and what your prospective customers want to listen, it’s time to put together your video ad.
Here some tips for a great ad.
1. Recording tips
If you are recording the video yourself, you should put together a script, understand how your camera works, how to set up a basic studio and how to cut and compose the video. Hubspot created the best guide I found online on the topic.
2. Create a video listicle
If you don’t have the resources to create a professional video with talking heads, you can create short listicles, precisely like Business Insider does.
A video listicle is a short video that features a list of interesting facts on a specific topic, and it’s quite straightforward to create. You can use it as a teaser for an in-depth article or show some key features of your product.
There are several tools you can use to easily create videos. With Magisto you can upload your single photo shots and images to Magisto, choose a theme, and the tool will put them together for you with AI.
If you want to create videos entirely from zero, I recommend Animoto or Wave.Video. I created the video above with Wave: it’s more expensive than Animoto, but it has more features than other online tools I tried. I liked it because it’s easy to resize a video for the different social networks with just a few clicks, and there’re lots of text effects.
And if you need completely free stock videos, I got you covered too with Pexels. You can thank me later!
3. Design with mobile in mind
From the moment of conception, you need to be thinking about your video in terms of mobile devices first, everything else second.
First, because most of the people will be seeing your video ad from mobile anyway, second because some apps (like Snapchat) are mobile only.
Some best practices to get mobile ads right:
- Consumers are sensitive to mobile ad clutter: ads should be well targeted, relevant and enjoyable.
- Brand logos, brand cues and product shots are large enough to be easily seen on smaller mobile screens.
- Create ads that can still convey a message if shortened to 10-20 seconds.
- The initial frames of an ad should be well branded and engage to capture consumers’ attention and still have an impact if closed or skipped.
- 30-second ads can be considered for mobile if the goals are to communicate complex information, to increase persuasion among consumers ages 35+ or to drive consumers to take action.
4. Experiment with shorter ads
Ads shorter than 15 seconds (but that are usually around 6 sec) are gaining momentum because they are successful at capturing the attention via mobile.
When you can use a 30 sec ad to tell your full story, you can experiment with a 15 sec version to improve reach and frequency, reinforce your message, and reduce overall campaign costs.
Online advertising research by Google
There are three main ways you can take advantage of them.
You can use a short ad to seed an idea, and reveal the full story with a longer ad weeks later.
Run your long and short ad together to increase ad recall.
When your primary campaign is finishing, you can connect short ads to retargeting (read here if you want to learn how to do effective retargeting video ads) to increase ad recall and convert more viewers, by showing your short ad only to people that saw your full-length video.
For any online video advertising platform you choose, just make sure to follow the guidelines below to create ads of the appropriate length.
5. Design with sound off
As part of your efforts to think about the mobile platform first, design videos that can be fully understood and enjoyed with the sound off. After all, the best sound for facebook video ads is silence.
Use text overlays to convey essential points and always use titles, captions and similar techniques so that people know what is going on.
Netflix is, of course, doing it right:
One nice exception is Snapchat that starts ads with the volume on by default.
6. Check your progress
As Kim Larson from Google points out, you should make sure to measure progress with the right metric.
Don’t simply track views, but use KPIs that make sense to your business goals.
The beauty of video advertising online is that, unlike with television, we actually can measure every different metric in real time, so follow Kim’s advice and make sure to track the ones most important to you.
Image from: Think With Google
Now that you know how to plan your video advertising strategy, how to create your video and how to track the results, we can finally start buying ads. The next chapters will guide you to create video ads in the most important advertising platforms online.
Facebook provides incredible opportunities to target the perfect customer on granular levels.
With Facebook video ads, you can take advance of metrics like personal interests, locations, website visits, custom and lookalike audience.
Whether if you are a B2B or B2C marketer, you should have Facebook video ads as part of your digital marketing strategy.
BONUS: Get my Facebook Ads Swipe file.
How to make the most out of Facebook Video Ads
On Facebook, users aren’t forced to watch your video ad to get to the next thing in their newsfeed. 98% of the time they just scroll right past your video ad. So Larry Kim (CEO of MobileMonkey) tells people to make the ad’s pitch in reverse.
Make sure that the “explosions” are happening at the very beginning of your Facebook Ads, to capture attention immediately, and then later explain the why/how.
If you want to create a Facebook video ad that really stands out, I’ll share with you some advanced tactics in a bit.
But right now, let’s focus on the basics. Here some guidelines and best practices you should always follow for video ads on Facebook:
- Use square videos (1:1). They take up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than landscape video (16:9). Studies show that 1:1 outperforms landscape videos by 30-35%
- Think silent. 85% of videos are viewed on Facebook without sound, so make sure to add captions.
- Facebook’s Autoplay will count 3 seconds as a “view”, so make the first 3 seconds count.
- Use high-resolution: 720p or 1080p HD.
- Facebook video ads recommended length: 15 seconds or shorter.
- Use as less text as possible in the ad image preview. Facebook may block your video ad if there is lots of text on top or around your video.
And now the advanced tactics you were all waiting for.
Use the combo video + Facebook lead generation forms
As Hope Horner from Lemonlight pointed out, if you use this strategy right, it can be a marketing goldmine. Lead ads allow users to share their contact info directly on Facebook, which can result in more subscribers than driving them to an external landing page.
You can later use the leads as you want: add them to your newsletter or use them to create custom and lookalike audiences.
The video comes in handy if you are promoting a physical location or a saas. For example, you can:
- Showcase your offering with video (like a coworking space or a gym) and offer a free day pass.
- Do you have a restaurant? Show videos of your food and offer a 2-for-1 voucher upon signing up.
- Do you run a saas? Show some features of your program and offer a free trial.
To create the best lead video ad of the whole internet, simply log into Facebook Ads manager and choose “Lead Generation”.
Define your audience like you would usually do for any facebook ad.
Upload your video.
Now you can finally create your form. Make sure to ask only for the essential info, if you want to maximise signups, or to add more fields if you’re looking for fewer but more qualified leads.
Create a custom audience from video views
Imagine being able to target only people that love your content so much that they watch your videos until the end.
Well, Facebook allows you to do precisely that (and much more) to re-engage users and drive more conversions.
In fact, it’s possible to create an engagement custom audience of people who’ve interacted with your video on Facebook:
- People who viewed at least 3 seconds of your video
- People who viewed at least 10 seconds of your video
- People who viewed at least 25% of your video
- People who viewed at least 50% of your video
- People who viewed at least 75% of your video
- People who viewed at least 95% of your video
With this strategy, someone can view your video — with or without sound — and automatically be added to an audience to target later.
How you do it:
1 – Go to your Audiences, click the Create Audience drop-down and choose Custom Audience.
2 – Click Engagement
3 – Click video
4 – In the “Engagement” field, choose the amount of time you want people in your audience to have spent viewing your video.
5 – Click on “choose videos” and choose a video that you previously shared on your Facebook or Instagram page.
Congrats, you can now target this audience with a new ad!
Create perfect loop video
Perfect loops are like good GIFS: videos that seamlessly blend from end to beginning.
They are easy to make and great if you are on a budget, but you still want to create beautiful looking mini-videos.
They are ideal for social because the viewer can’t understand when the video finishes (it’s in a perfect loop), so they help to get more people to watch your videos till the end, or more.
If you want to create a perfect loop, you have several options.
1# strategy: Giphy
Go to Giphy, download a gif in MP4 video format. You are done.
2# strategy – iMovie
Open a video you own in iMovie and cut a single scene that you can play on a loop.
Use as your video ad.
3# strategy – Specific software.
Flixel specialises in “cinemagraphs”, mini videos composed of a part (usually the main subject) that doesn’t move, and another part (usually the background) that moves. Exactly like in the Adidas example above.
There’s a free trial for iOS and MacOS.
Alternatively, try Animoto: upload a video you own to their website, choose a 5-second frame that would be nice in a loop, add filters and some copy, and you are done. It’s similar to the iMovie strategy but easier to use and with more available effects.
With this, we conclude Facebook video ads.
Next up: Instagram!
Instagram video ads are ideal if you want to increase web traffic sales and drive awareness.
With the help of highly-visual content, you can get users to engage with your posts and show off your B2C offerings.
But why should you advertise on Instagram in the first place?
BONUS: Get my Instagram Ads Swipe file.
Let’s start with some stats:
- A study by Instagram found that 60% of their users learn about products and services through the platform, and 75% of them took actions such as visiting sites, searching, or telling a friend after seeing an Instagram post.
- Again, Instagram looked at more than 400 campaigns globally and found out that ad recall from their ads was 2.8 times higher than Nielsen’s norms for online advertising.
As you can see, Instagram is a great platform to advertise, but before starting your next media buying campaign you should ask yourself:
Is my target audience on instagram?
Let’s start with demographics.
According to Statista, in January 2018 the most active Instagram users were men and women, 18 to 34 years old (61%).
With this in mind, you should understand if your target audience talks about your industry/product/service on Instagram.
Facebook surveyed 11,000 young adults and, from their video advertising research, they discovered that some of the most popular topics on Instagram are the following:
Fashion/beauty, food, TV/films, hobbies, music.
Finally, ask yourself: can we create visual content that blends into our target audience’s Instagram feed?
According to the same Facebook study above, “Instagrammers appreciate aesthetic quality in visual content”. Instagram is a visual-first platform, where visual content, rather than text, is the primary form of communication.
If your product/service tick all the three boxes above, congratulations. Instagram is the perfect platform for your brand!
Let’s see some best practices to maximize the effectiveness of your ads.
- Use the right format: square format (1:1) works best if posting on the Instagram feed; Buffer discovered that it costs 33% less than landscape. Use vertical format (9:16) for stories.
- Create videos with audio for stories, create videos without sound in the feed (more on this below)
- Since users will click on ads from the Instagram app, you should optimize your landing page for mobile first.
- Create content that blends in with the organic feed. To stand out, create videos that are beautiful, thoughtfully composed and artfully presented.
Facebook vs. Instagram video ads
Since the two platforms are considerably different, Marketing Land points out that long and conversion-centric content should live on Facebook, while you should leave Instagram to the artsy, visually appealing videos.
Instagram ads use the same advertising system as Facebook. You can specify your target audience’s location, demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. You can even target people who have bought from you or interacted with you and others like them.
As a result, you can use the same strategies that we discussed on the Facebook ads chapter, and apply them to the two types of Instagram video ads available to you: stories and native.
Stories Video Ads Best practices
Stories ads run in a full screen, vertical format. This means all your Stories video ads format must be portrait (9:16 aspect ratio).
With 60% of stories viewed with sound-on, be sure to share content that sounds as good as it looks.
You can also experiment with text overlays. Videos with text on top work very well compared to non-text videos to build brand awareness or to drive action through purchases and installs.
Why should you use story ads? Because the use of Instagram Stories is growing.
- Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
- File Size: 4GB Max
- Instagram Video Ads Duration: 1 to 15 seconds
- Maximum Video Ad Ratio : 9:16
- Sound: Optional but recommended
- Video thumbnail: images that consist of more than 20% text may experience reduced delivery
To create your first Instagram Story ad, simply head to Facebook Ads Manager and create a new ad. When it’s the moment to choose where to display your ad, disable every placement except for Instagram stories.
High impact, low budget Stories
If you don’t have a big budget, you can still create Instagram Stories of high impact, by using the stop motion feature of the instagram app.
Simply open the app and start creating a new story.
Select “stop motion” from the available options on bottom of the screen.
Now play with the product placement and take multiple pictures to show your product as if it’s moving.
Save and upload as an ad with the “Ads Manager” app.
Native Video Ads best practices
You can post Instagram video ads in either landscape or square format. However, square videos have the edge over landscape videos.
Square videos consume more space on the user’s screen, meaning that your viewer is not distracted by other posts and the metrics (views, likes, comments, etc).
But don’t stop there: AB test a square video with a video with an aspect ratio of 4:5 to see what’s performing better for you.
Native videos specs:
- Resolution: at least 1080 x 1080 pixels
- File Size: 4GB Max
- Instagram Video Ads Duration: 1 to 60 seconds
- Minimum Video Ad Dimensions : 4:5
- Maximum Video Ad Dimensions : 1.91:1
- Text under the video: Two rows of text will display
- Video thumbnail: images that consist of more than 20% text may experience reduced delivery
How to set up an Instagram video campaign.
There are several ways to promote your video on Instagram.
Some of them offer you more options, while other are simpler and faster to use.
If you want to have access to as many options as possible and be in complete control of your ad, use Facebook Ads Manager or Facebook Power Editor. For a quick and easy way to promote your video, you can directly use the Instagram app (you’ll need to have a business Instagram account for that).
For a detailed tutorial on how to place ads, I recommend you to check out this great guide that Buffer put together on Instagram ads.
Anyway, to create Instagram or Facebook ads, I usually use Adespresso. It’s a great tool because it makes it extremely easy to test multiple variations of your ad: you can test various headlines, descriptions and videos. Here a great tutorial to set up an Instagram video ad campaign in Adespresso.
One strategy to test: User Generated Content in Ads
User-generated content is a form of content that was created by users, not by a brand.
The power of this kind of content is its trustworthiness: since it was created by real users, it appears more genuine.
In fact, according to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers say they trust earned media, such as recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising.
Image source: Nielsen
User-generated content can help with conversions as well: customer product photos on a product page can increase conversion by 4.6%.
What’s more, many users have no objections against having their content used by brands. Iconosquare, for instance, found that 65% of users would feel honoured if a brand liked one of their posts.
If you have an active group of followers for your brand, scout for the best videos and ask them permission to repost them and promote them with ads. You may be amazed by the results.
Video ads are the brand new addition to Linkedin ads.
Currently available on mobile only, Linkedin video ads are auto-playing videos that can drive more visits to your website or more sign-ups to a LinkedIn lead generation form.
They are an excellent opportunity to target B2B companies, so let’s see why you need them and how to set them up.
BONUS: Get my Linkedin Ads Swipe file.
Overview - B2b video advertising done right
We can say that with a very peculiar demographic, LinkedIn is the best platform for business-to-business interactions.
Your LinkedIn campaigns can help you gain visibility for your brand, generate leads, and boost traffic to your web pages with thought-leadership content.
The most amazing part of LinkedIn ads is its audience creation. If you want to target b2b prospects, there’s no better way to do it.
Linkedin ads are way more expensive than Facebook ads (in my experience, I’m talking minimum 10 times more, after optimisation) but you’ll have the possibility to target Linkedin users by, among other things, their seniority, their job title, or the industry they work in.
If you are starting to see how powerful they can be, you’ll be happy to know that now you can also create custom audiences based on company names, and retarget your website visitors as well.
Linkedin rolled out video ads on March 18, so make sure to be among the first to take advantage of them!
Source: Linkedin Video Ads
Here some best practices for you to follow:
- Show what you want your audience to see in the first 10 seconds of the video (the viewer attention drops after that point).
- Think like a silent film director: a significant portion of LinkedIn members will watch your ad with the sound off. Consider adding video subtitles.
- Feature a clear CTA (call to action), so your audience knows the next steps to take after watching your video.
- Keep videos under 30 seconds for brand awareness and brand consideration goals; test longer videos for demand generation. The general guideline for top-of-funnel videos is 30-90 seconds, but content can be longer from the middle of the funnel.
- A/B test the same content with different lengths: short looped videos (5-15 sec) to encourage your audience to learn more; Medium (~30 sec) with quick product overviews; Long (1 min+) richer stories that make an emotional connection.
- Measure success with demographic reporting to understand which audience segments have the highest video view rates (example in the image below).
Source: Demographics for your ads
Essential components of a b2b video:
BlitzMetrics CEO Dennis Yu shared with Linkedin his tips to condense messages into quick-hitting 60-second videos that are more likely to be viewed in their entirety:
- Hook: Capture attention within the first 3 seconds
- Ignite Pain/Pleasure: Identify problem or opportunity in 3-15 seconds range
- Describe Solution: Explain what you offer and why it will help viewers from 15-50 seconds
- Call to Action: Leave with an actionable next step in the final 10 seconds
Linkedin video ads specs:
- Length: Three seconds to 30 minutes (Tip: most successful video ads are less than 15 seconds long)
- Layout: Horizontal (vertical videos are not supported)
- File size: Between 75 KB and 200 MB
- File format: MP4
- Pixel and aspect ratio requirements: up to 1080p
- You cannot upload more than 25 Videos in Campaign Manager within 24 hours.
- You can only upload videos from a desktop computer, not from your mobile device.
How to create a video ad campaign on Linkedin
Sign in to Campaign Manager, click on “Create new campaign” and choose “Sponsored Content”:
Choose any of the ad formats available. With any of them you’ll be able to use video as ad format:
Choose video as ad format:
Now upload your video based on the guidelines explained above in this chapter, and later click on “sponsor selected content”.
Now it’s only a matter of choosing the right audience for your video ad, your budget, and submit to Linkedin for approval.
The next step is to simply wait while you generate views and clicks on your ad.
After a couple of days, you can check your data to see how many people watched your video in full or until a certain point.
- Sign in to Campaign Manager.
- Click account name for the account that contains your video ad campaign.
- Scroll down to the Campaigns table and click the campaign that contains your Video Ad.
- Scroll down to the Ads table and click the Video tab to see performance metrics for each of your creatives.
Source: Linkedin Help
Social networks are not the only platforms where you can promote your video ad.
There are lots of additional networks that can allow you to reach more customers on more websites.
I’m gathering the most important ones in this chapter but be warned – some are really high level, and you’ll need a huge monthly ad spend to be accepted.
Tabola places its ads on some of the greatest websites of the world – in 2017 they reached 1.4 billion people a month, which is around half of the global internet users.
Taboola Feed is a feed of promoted news that appears after an article on websites that are using Taboola, and it can display video ads as well.
You can learn more and register for Taboola here: https://www.taboola.com
Oath by Verizon
Oath is a subsidiary of Verizon that serves as the umbrella company of its digital content subdivisions, including AOL and Yahoo! Oath includes Brightroll and One by AOL.
To push your video ads to their websites, which include Huffington Post, TechCrunch and 40 more brands, you can contact them directly from here
Spotx Is an online platform that focuses only on video ads.
On their website, they claim that they can provide a direct pipeline to premium supply and buy video through public, private and curated Marketplaces.
They work with Zynga, Spotify, and CBS Local among others, so it’s worth checking them out.
You can learn more and contact them here
It’s a cloud-based service that helps broadcasters, cable networks, and service providers capitalise on their data and technology to increase advertising and subscription revenue.
They use machine learning, data and dynamic ad insertion to reduce ad waste and improve the targeting of your ad.
They have NBC and Comcast among their customers, and you can check them out here
It’s an advertising platform that can connect your brand with more than 700 million users globally (on desktop and mobile).
They have a unique approach to audience modelling: they look for the ideal behaviour, the activities and interests that indicate if a person will convert, regardless of what their profile may look like as a whole.
Some of their partners: Microsoft, Mastercard, IBM, Kellog’s.
YuMe by RythmOne
It’s a provider of video and connected TV inventory, unique consumer insights, and cross-screen targeting technology. They claim they can help you reach and engage consumers wherever and however they consume video content.
Twitter videos mirror the platform where they are hosted. To make an impact, they must be quick, personal and entertaining.
Mix them with the advanced advertising capabilities of Twitter ads, and you’ll have the perfect formula to gain new followers for your brand and drive conversions to your website.
BONUS: Get my Twitter Ads Swipe file.
Let’s start with some basics, and you’ll learn why you’ll love Twitter video ads.
First of all, Twitter’s ad targeting is insanely great.
You can target by keyword, hashtag or people that follow specific Twitter profiles: use these options if you are building your database or if you want to do some brand awareness.
You can also use “engager targeting”, which means to show your ad only to people that interacted with your tweets in the past – use this to drive more conversions to your website!
Finally, with “tailored audiences”, you can take advantage of retargeting your website visitors directly on Twitter and get highly relevant views for a very low cost.
So why choose video ads?
Well, tweets with video are 6x more likely to be retweeted than Tweets with photos, and you can use any of these targeting options we just discussed.
Here some best practices for scroll-stopping videos:
- Use a hook. Build in an intriguing set-up or dynamic set of actions to hook the viewer in the first few seconds.
- Show your logo. Feature your brand logo or product at the beginning of your video to drive brand association from the start.
- Humanize your videos. Videos showing people in the first few frames have been proven to increase view rates and drive 2x higher retention. (source)
- Tell a story. Videos with a clear beginning, middle and end can increase viewership (source)
- Videos that simply aim to entertain your audience can lead to a 15% higher intent to share (source)
- Include captions. Use captions and visual cues to pull the viewer through the video and make it easier to process.
And these are the specs for Twitter video ads:
- Title (under video): 70 characters.
- Description (under video): 200 characters.
- File type: MP4 or MOV.
- File size: 1GB Max
- Max time: 2 minutes and 20 seconds
Here below, some strategies to get the most out of Twitter video ads.
Strategy 1 - How to get more video views
Let’s create a campaign with the sole focus of maximising the views of your video.
To start, go to https://ads.twitter.com/ and choose “Promoted Video Views”.
Now decide your budget and, optionally, start and ending time.
Now it’s the tricky part, so pay attention because you’ll need to go back and forth between 3 separate tabs on your browser.
You’ll need to create a new sponsored tweet that contains your video, and to do that the first step is to create a new tweet by clicking on the blue icon on the right:
On the new tab of your browser, click on “Select Video” and “Media Library”.
From the new tab, click on “Upload Media” and on the blue button to compose a Tweet:
Now you can finally compose your tweet. If you want to can link back to your site but that’s optional. I recommend to “Edit media settings” to add a title and description to your video, and to click on “promoted only” to use this tweet only for your paid campaigns.
Click the blue button “tweet” and your tweet will be ready.
You now go back to the first tab (I told you this was going to be tricky) and:
- Click on refresh
- Choose “promoted-only tweets”
- Write the first couple of words of your tweet to make it appear from the list
- Click on the tweet to select it
- Press “next” on the top right of the page.
Now that the tweet is ready, you can now define the right audience to promote it.
In my case, I wanted to target people in the UK that search for “Larry Kim” or that are following him (or similar accounts):
When you are happy with the settings, click next.
In the next page, you can change the bidding, and clone the ad group you just created by clicking on “Clone Ad Group”.
If you click there, your “ad set” will be duplicated. Use that if you are testing multiple videos and multiple audiences.
When you are ready, click next, and you will arrive at the final page.
Review the details of your campaign and click “Launch campaign” to start your Twitter video ad campaign!
Strategy 2 - Drive targeted visitors to your website with a Video Website Card.
Video Website Cards are a creative format that combines the power of video with the ability to drive users back to a site to learn more or take action immediately.
With a Video Website Card, businesses can:
- Attract qualified consumers with an immersive auto-playing video showcasing their brand’s value, product, or service before a person clicks through.
- Extend brand engagement beyond the end of the video with creatives designed to drive consumers to your site to learn more or take action.
- Keep consumers’ attention as they move down the funnel.
How they work: when a user clicks on a video on mobile, the video anchors to the top of the screen and continues to play while the website loads below it.
To create a video website card, we’ll follow the strategy 1 explained above, but with a few differences.
First of all, our goal will be to generate website clicks or conversions:
Next, when you are creating your new tweet in compose mode, you’ll click on “select card” and “card library”.
From the new tab, click on “Create Card” and “Video Website Card”.
Fill up the card with your video, headline and URL and click on “create”.
Now head back to the previous tab of your browser (the Compose mode) and choose your video website card from the dropdown menus on bottom right (make sure you choose “video”):
Finally, head back to your first tab and search for the tweet you just created:
All the rest of the process stays the same: choose your targeting, your bidding method, and you’ll be ready to confirm and start your campaign!
YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches per month, and it’s the second largest search engine online right behind Google.
For most of its users, it serves a fundamental purpose: discovery.
Placing your video ad inside a youtube video, you are making sure to target a big audience that is willing to learn more about a specific topic or product, making it a fantastic platform to advertise on.
BONUS: Get my Youtube Ads Swipe file.
Overview - Your Guide to Youtube Advertising
Compared to Facebook, Youtube video ads are more “traditional”, since you can basically force users to watch your ad for 5 or even 15 seconds. That means you can take your time and tell your story, and ultimately build up to a punchline at the end, just like a normal TV commercial.
Another great thing you should know is that advertising on youtube is more affordable than you think.
The cost per view of your ad varies for several reasons, but mostly because of your target market. For a very competitive market in a country like the US, you can expect to spend 0.50$ or more, but for other markets the cost is much lower, ranging between 10 and 30 cents per view. Larry Kim points out that in the USA, a typical CPM for (Facebook or) YouTube ads is around $15.
Of course, more factors influence the cost per view. They are:
- Video quality. Make sure to have a professionally written script, high production and image quality (more on this in chapter 2)
- Ad placement
A great reason to choose Youtube to advertise your videos is that you only pay when people decide to watch your ad. For example, when someone chooses to view your ad for at least 30 seconds or engages with it – like clicking on a call-to-action overlay.
Youtube offers you four different video ad formats.
- Skippable video ads – the most common type of YouTube ad. These are the ads you see before during or after a video; a viewer can skip your ad after 5 seconds.
- Non-skippable video ads – Viewers must watch the entire 15+ second ad which may deter viewers who don’t know the value of your videos.
- Midroll ads – Currently available for videos over 10 minutes: the ads are spaced within the video, like TV commercials. Viewers must watch ads before continuing through the video.
- Bumper ads – these are non-skippable videos of max 6 seconds which a viewer must watch before seeing the main video.
Which advertising option should you choose on Youtube?
- Skippable video ads are the lowest risk ads, given that you pay only when a viewer watches 30 seconds or till the end of the video ad.
- Non-skippable video ads (midroll or before the video) may generate higher CPMs than other ad formats on YouTube, but they have higher video abandonment.
- Bumper ads are non-skippable but so short that the users won’t feel annoyed. Use them to keep your brand on top of mind. They help driving upper-funnel goals like ad recall and awareness.
Let’s see in detail how to optimise your next video ad campaign on youtube, step by step
How to create and optimise your Youtube video ad.
First, go over to Adwords and create a new campaign from the blue button.
From Campaign Type, click on Video, choose your main goal for this campaign and click continue:
The process from now on is very straightforward, so I want to focus only on a few points.
Youtube search results – This option allows you only to create a “video discovery ad” that appears on YouTube search results only. It’s a promoted search result (made of an image and some copy). By clicking on it, your video ad will open.
YouTube videos & Video partners on the display Network – This option allows you to create “video discovery ad”, “in-stream ads” and “bumper ads” that will appear on Youtube videos, channels, homepage and on a collections of sites part of the Google Display Network.
There are several targeting options to allow you to show your ad to the right people.
- Languages & Location – once set, these options will be the same for the whole campaign.
The following options can be different for every ad set so that you can easily ab test different segments:
- Demographics – Age, gender, parental status, household income
- Audiences – Target people based on their interests, or by the products they are actively looking for.
- Remarketing – You find this option inside “Audiences”, it allows you to target people who previously interacted with your business and create similar audiences. If you created lists of people that previously watched your videos, you’ll find them here as well.
- Keywords – Show your YouTube ads to people that searched specific keywords on YouTube.
- Topics – Show ads on content about specific topics. Topic targeting is a simple way to place your ads on many web pages, apps, and videos about a particular subject.
- Placements – You can decide exactly where you want your ad to run. On the Display Network, a placement can be an entire website, a specific page of a site, or a mobile app. On YouTube, a placement can be a specific channel or a video.
Here you’ll be able to upload your video or link any video already hosted by youtube (it doesn’t need to be connected to your account).
One note: to choose a different thumbnail, you’ll need to edit the video from youtube and change the thumbnail there.
Make sure to choose the right type of ad (in-stream, video discovery or bumper ad) and after you write your headline and description you will be ready to confirm your campaign and start your ad.
With this, we concluded our chapter on Youtube ads.
Let’s move to the last chapter, which focuses on a fantastic platform to target millennials: SnapChat!
If Millenials are part of your target audience, you should definitely run Snapchat video ads.
Snapchat has a young audience, but more than half of new users currently signing up are over the age of 25, making this a fantastic platform to advertise several B2C products.
Let’s see why Snapchat is different compared to other platforms, and how you can take advantage of that.
BONUS: Get my Snapchat Ads Swipe file.
Snapchat is growing – and growing fast.
To make a comparison, Snapchat’s daily active users grew by 5% in the last quarter of 2017, while Facebook grew only by 2.2% – with a total of 187 million average daily active Snapchatters globally.
And when users are active, it seems that they can’t live without Snapchat:
The community spans a broad age range. A lot of people think it’s just teens who Snap on a regular basis, but the audience is ageing up.
They do have a large audience of teens and young adults, but more than 50% of daily new Snapchatters in the US are 25 or older, and nearly one-third of adult Snapchatters are parents.
Another thing that sets Snapchat apart is the amount of time users spend on the app each day – daily active Snapchatters open Snapchat an average of over 18 times every day.
If you want to reach any of the 185M active users with ads, you have several options: video ads, filters and lenses – but since the aim of this article is “video ads”, we’ll focus here only on the first category.
The Snap Video Ads
There are four advanced types of video ads, but they all start with a “snap ad”: a full-screen, 100% viewable video ad of max 10 seconds, with audio on by default.
- 32 MB max of file size
- Minimum size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
- Required Ratio: 9:16
- Length: 3 to 10 seconds
- More requirements here
After you create you snap ad, you can decide if you want to stick with it (usually to generate more awareness for your product) or if you’re going to drive action using one of the following:
- “Web View” to send the user to your website;
- “App Install” to drive more downloads of your app;
- “Deep Link” to re-engage users of your app;
- “Long Form video” to show a video in full, after you showed a teaser with your snap ad.
How to choose the best audience possible for your video advertisements.
To create a new ad, simply head over to https://ads.snapchat.com/, log in with your Snapchat account and create a new campaign.
I recommend choosing “Advanced Create” to have the ability to create multiple ad sets and test your ads with different audiences.
In any case, you’ll have the possibility to choose the best objective for your campaign:
After this, you can define the audience for each of your ad sets.
One note here: the audience options will depend on the country you are targeting.
For example, if you target the United Kingdom, you will only be able to target users by “Lifestyle” (that are long-term interests of users), but if you target the US, you have three additional options:
- Shoppers – what people buy in stores or restaurants
- Viewers – what people watch on tv or online
- Visitors – where people usually go with their smartphone
One note on custom audiences
Snapchat, like other platforms, gives you the ability to create custom audiences: you can import a list of emails or device IDs to reach your customers and their lookalikes.
To create a new custom audience, click the arrow on the top left of any page and choose “Audiences”.
Going back to the creation of a new campaign, when you are ready with your audiences, you can move to the next and final step: ad creation.
Follow the guidelines explained at the beginning of the chapter to create a video that complains with Snapchat video specs and upload it to “Topsnap Media”.
Add the name of your brand, a headline and a call to action, and you will be ready.
Review your campaign and press “Publish Campaign” to submit your ads for publication!
I hope you enjoyed this guide to online video ads – it was a long read, but you can be sure that here there are all the most up to date information and best practices to create an highly-performing video ad.
Now I’d like to know what your next steps are. Are you going to give video ads a try? Which advertising platforms are you going to use?
Let me know in a comment below!