Facebook Slideshow Video Ads: a 7 Minute Strategy to Grow Your Lists

by | Jul 21, 2017 | Social Media Marketing Tips

Original post date: May 6, 2016

Facebook slideshow video adsVideo killed the radio star. And it’s trying to do the same with the written word.

People watch over 500 million hours of YouTube videos a day. There are more than 8 billion daily video views on Facebook. According to Cisco Forecast, video will represent 69% of all consumer based activity by next year and it’s expected to rise to 80% by 2019.

In layman’s terms, that’s a lot of people watching a lot of video.

Publishers can relax though. Just as non-visual music lives on in a post MTV world, written articles aren’t going the way of cassette or VHS tapes. But, unless you’re living under a pile of hardcover books (with not a kindle in sight), you know that video content is omnipresent. Either ignore it at your peril or embrace it for the huge opportunity it is.

So stick with me… in a minute I’m going to explain a strategy that will help you embrace this opportunity to grow your email list. And all without any need to get in front of a camera. In fact, you’ll be able to execute a video marketing strategy without the need for shooting or editing any video at all. All in about 7 minutes. Really.

The Backstory

I’ve been a fan of video since I was old enough to ride my BMX to the local store to rent the latest release tape. Yes, tape. It was 1980s New Zealand. The Beta vs VHS war was still raging and that new release was probably a year old by the time it made it down-under. No matter; I loved videos.

Fast forward to the millennium. Blockbuster is dead. Advances in technology including super-fast wireless and those nifty pocket video players (aka tablets and smart phones) has resulted in the saturation of video in a YouTube and Netflix world.

Online video is so widely available you almost don’t notice it’s there. But if you choose to ignore those talking pictures you’re missing a huge opportunity.

The problem is how do cute cats, epic fails and Harlem shuffle videos translate to your business?

The simple answer: they don’t.

Trying to manufacture a viral video is an exercise in futility. And besides, just getting people to watch a video doesn’t really do much for your bottom line.

I’m not suggesting you ignore all the video marketing strategies at your disposal. Embedding relevant YouTube video into written articles can give you an SEO boost. Creating welcome videos, product demonstrations, and “how to” education videos are strategies to be explored. Even streaming video like Facebook Live is something we’re experimenting with.

But I’ve got a much simpler proposition for you today to allow you to add video to your direct response marketing mix:

Facebook Slideshow Video Ads

At AIM we’re a big believer in the concept of “one step removed”. Simply put, when trying a new channel or strategy, that means to keep all other elements as consistent as possible.

In this case that means using video as part of a technique we already know works.

Facebook promoted posts using a regular image and ad copy have been a hugely successful lead generator for sometime. Those ads entice a targeted audience to click through to a landing page and signup for an e-letter (usually in return for a free report or other lead magnet).

[Note: if you’re not already using regular FB promoted posts or ads please reach out.]

The only difference with this strategy – the one step removed – is that we’ll use a video ad instead of that still image. Once they click, they’ll go to the same landing page with the same call to action – to signup for your e-letter. (If you already have “one step” direct sale working for you, use video for that too).

The technique I’ll explain can also be adapted for other platforms, including Adwords, but I’m going to focus specifically on Facebook today.

Why Facebook?

It’s no secret Facebook is out to dominate the online video space. In fact they latestly overtook YouTube as the most watched video platform. Some observers question that claim, arguing over how to accurately measure video views. Auto playing videos in the FB newsfeed muddy the waters. But whatever way you spin it, FB are doing everything they can to encourage people and businesses to post videos on their platform.

It started organically. They rewarded page owners who published videos natively (uploading direct to FB rather than, for instance, embedding a YouTube video) by giving much greater reach.

Then they started offering really inexpensive prices for promoted videos. The problem was (as it has often been for YouTube) how to convert viewers of video to a desired action like signing up for an e-letter.

But the combination of conversion optimised posts and clear call to action links has helped change that. In combination with FB’s impressive targeting and huge reach this option is now irresistible. Video ads should be in your mix to test at the very least.

And they’re much simpler to create and execute that you probably think.

My colleague Natalie talked in a latest post about how to create image ads on Adwords without a designer. Creating video ads aren’t much more difficult and can certainly be created without a designer, editing skills or video production resources.

It’s also perfect if you (or your editor) has a face for radio or just doesn’t have the time or inclination to shoot a video.

But what type of video should you create?

Don’t think of it as a traditional video at all. Rather it’s a series of slides presented together as a recorded slideshow.

And those slides don’t have to be just images…they can (actually, should) be images with text overlaid or simply copy over a plain background. In fact, the most efficient and effective approach is to repurpose your existing marketing copy in video form.

If this approach sounds familiar that’s because it’s the same principal behind video sales letters (VSLs) – often referred to in the Agora world as “talking promos”. When these first came to prominence several years ago no one thought anyone would sit through 30 minutes or more of a video promotion. But they quickly dominated in head to head tests with standard, static html promotional sales letters.

When you think of those talking promotions it’s possible you don’t even consider them as video in the traditional sense. They’re simply the same written promotion narrated over slides of text. Maybe a few visual elements are thrown in but, at their essence, they’re simply moving copy designed to create a desire to purchase .

Facebook slideshow video ads are a slimmed down version of VSLs. And they should be super slim. There’s no magic duration but it will likely be somewhere between 30-60 seconds. Remember, your objective is to get someone interested enough to click through to the landing page.

Video is a visual medium so the temptation to use lots of pretty images is understandable. But those images an distract from your message. Often a simple slideshow of copy can work best.

In fitting with our one step removed approach, the best place to start is to use the copy from your existing ad or landing page copy and combine it with images that you’ve been using with your promoted posts.

It’s critical to remember, as you create the video, not to be concerned with video views per se. As direct response marketers we care about conversions. Of course, to get a conversion, you first need a click. To get a click you first need eyeballs on your ad. Lots of them. An auto play video in FB’s newsfeed draws people’s attention.

You’re probably thinking that still seems like hard work. Don’t I have to create a script…find someone to get in front of the camera or narrate…book studio time and get a video editor?

Nope. There’s a DIY solution that will take you less time than it takes to read this article. (Thanks for sticking with me by the way.)

How to Create a Facebook Slideshow Video Ad in Under 7 Minutes

There are many options but I’ll cover three very simple ones:

  1. Use Facebook’s ad interface to create a slideshow video
  2. Create a PowerPoint / Keynote video presentation
  3. Use video template software

Option 1: FB’s New Built-in Video Slideshow

With this relatively new option it’s quick and simple to create the video ad, right within Power Editor (as shown below) or the regular interface.

creating a slideshow video ad on facebook

Simply choose the “Video / Slideshow” button then click “Create Slideshow”. That will take you here:

creating a slideshow video ad
You can add up to 7 images (yes, they can contain text) and have them play for up to 5 seconds each.

Click “create slideshow” and you’re done. Simply use the same targeting options and set up as with those regular FB ads.

AIM TIP: video promotion isn’t exactly new with FB. They launched video views as a campaign objective sometime ago. But they’ve made some significant advances latestly and we favour using a campaign objective of conversions.

Bonus Tip: Even though videos which are text based are encouraged and allowed in Facebook, I’d strongly recommend your thumbnail is an uploaded image which has no text. Thanks to auto play, this is probably not going to be seen by anyone other than Facebook.

Option 2: Create Your Own PowerPoint or Keynote Slideshow.

Simply create a presentation with your copy and images on a series of slides.

Next, make a recording of the slideshow. Here’s how to record your slideshow for PowerPoint. If you’re using Keynote this is how to create a recording.

The first two options are pretty easy. And free.

Option 3: Use Video Software.

There’s a variety of video software available. If you have success with video ads chances are you’ll want to invest in more advanced ones. But a decent option we’ve used is VeeRoll. It has limitations but is a good starter package to prove video ads can work for you. And they have a free 30 day trial.

A big advantage with VeeRoll is the selection of templates designed for Facebook right out of the box (they have YouTube versions too). You literally just add copy and submit it. Some templates have the option to add images or your logo. Once your video is available simply upload to FB.

What about Sound?

Creating your own slideshow allows you to add narration or other audio. VeeRoll has built in music tracks at your disposal.

But, quite frankly it’s not that important. FB newsfeed videos auto play silently and most people never turn the sound on, especially with videos as short as these.

That’s why it’s critical your slides do the talking with the copy on them.

Next, upload the video to Facebook

Once you have your file produced you simply upload it to FB. This time you click “select video” rather than “create slideshow”.

FB image ads - using existing posts

As with regular posts you’ll provide copy in the post itself and also select a thumbnail image (as I mentioned, it’s a good idea to limit the text in this image to avoid disapprovals). You’ll also provide a link to your landing page which will display at the end of the video.

AIM TIP: also consider placing this link in the post itself so someone can click immediately.

Here’s an example for one we created for the Daily Reckoning in the UK, using VeeRoll. (Because it’s a preview you’ll hear sound play automatically, unlike in someone’s newsfeed).

Again, as with regular FB ads, you’ll select your audience, targets and conversion tracking.

Right, you’re done. Creating a slideshow ad campaign will probably be easier than reading this article. Now, sit back and watch the names flow in.

Conclusion – Add Video Ads to Your Marketing Mix

Like it or not video content is here to stay. Publishers that run businesses based on the written word can understandably find it challenging to embrace video as an opportunity rather than threat.

Thankfully, you don’t have to choose one or the other.

Creating video in tandem with your written content is a smart move to help reach more of the right people, with the right message at the right time.

And slideshow video ads are probably the simplest strategy to complement your existing online advertising.

Test the waters with an identical message to your best performing regular ad using a short video format on Facebook. We’d love to hear how it works for you. And if you need any help to get started, please email me.


Grant Signature

Grant Perry
Marketing Director, AIM

P.S: this is just scratching the surface on how you can use video marketing to grow your business. Be sure to like our FB page where we post regular articles and tips on video marketing and other innovative, yet simple, direct response strategies.