Acquiring Customers at Scale with Facebook Video Ads
I’m lucky enough to spend some of my time traveling to conferences around the world and talking to rooms of people about marketing. Whether it’s Normandy, Baltimore, Florida, or a conference call with one of our global businesses, I often ask the same question…
Are you using video ads on Facebook?
The answer is almost always the same. Usually there are a few uncertain or guilty glances around at each other. But usually, at best, only one or two people raise their hands.
I’m always stunned.
Why? Because Facebook video ads have been one of the biggest wins for us of the past two years.
FB Video ads are effective. They consistently allow us to get huge volumes of new acquisitions at a great ROI. If you’re not using them you’re leaving money on the table.
Here’s the thing…
FB’s algorithm shows people content (including ads) in the format they prefer. In simple terms, if FB sees that you watch video it will show you more of it.
They’re also in a battle with YouTube and other streaming video services to become the dominant video platform. So, there’s that.
In other words, FB wants you to provide content in video format. And users have shown they want to consume video content. It’s a winning combination.
If you only run traditional static ads, there’s a good chance your audience will never see them.
You see, FB ads are an auction. If you want to win more auctions – and have your ads seen by more people – you need as much ad inventory as possible.
And it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Once we have a standard text ad launched, video ads are our next go-to ad format in Facebook.
There are a variety of different Facebook video ad formats and tactics you can utilize. One of them is a technique you’re likely very familiar with.
Video Ads: the “VSL” of ads
Over latest years we’ve seen massive success with video sales letters (VSLs). These “talking promos” are essentially a dynamic version of regular written html promotions. And they continue to work incredibly well. In many cases they are the “control” version of a promotion.
There’s a similar opportunity with FB ads.
Video ads can simply take the form of a dynamic version of more traditional ads. That’s the first format I’m going to cover today.
It is the most common and easiest strategy to get you started. It doesn’t even require a video editor or designer.
NOTE: Agora Marketing Masters (AMM) members – I’ll also cover two additional types of video ads to add to your arsenal. Plus, I’ll give you a bonus strategy for using video to generate super qualified lists for your campaigns. We call it the “Video Lasso method”.
Video Type #1: The Slideshow Video
- Are short, probably 30 seconds or less.
- Look very much like a video sales letter. They use plain slides with a white background and black text.
- Don’t require a voice over or background music since most viewers of video on Facebook watch without audio.
- Can be created quickly and easily within Facebook’s interface using the “Slideshow” ad option. All you need is to type out each slide into Word or PowerPoint and screenshot them.
- Can use your best performing ad copy within the slideshow. I recommend that it covers at least 4 slides, so you may wish to add some additional copy.
- Should contain a strong call to action (CTA) – to convert someone into a lead, or to drive someone to click to read/watch the promo. They’re not going to be memorable, so on recall its unlikely someone would remember what they saw or read. You want them clicking to find out more right away.
AMM Tip: We have covered this video format previously. See detailed instructions on how to create a slideshow video in just 7 minutes here.
Here is an example of a slideshow video ad we are running right now.
We see by far our best conversions to lead from this type of video ad. Since its something you can do from your desk (in 7 minutes) it is quick and easy to test.
Video Type #2: The Image Story Video
Image story videos can be used to tell a story and develop an emotional hook with the viewer.
We’ve used this for lifestyle products to tell the “this was my life then, but look at it now” type story. But it could just as easily be translated into a financial publication’s story… “I used to stack shelves at Home Depot… then I discovered bitcoin. This is my home today.”
Image Story Videos:
- Can be longer than the short, conversion-focused and text heavy slideshow videos.
- Work best when using natural photos. You can mix them with stock images, but the idea is to tell a true, rags-to-riches story. Viewers can spot a stock photo a mile off. So a willing editor and his family photos will go a long way to creating the emotional hook you are looking for.
- Should have a CTA, of course, but this might be a little softer. (Especially if you utilize the “Video Lasso method”).
- Should use audio. A voiceover is great, but the music is key. Especially for a rags-to-riches story, where the start can be slow and quiet but the middle-to-end becomes uplifting.
- If you’re looking for a good source of free audio, head to YouTube. They have a huge selection of tracks that can be downloaded and most can be used without giving credit to the original creator. Get them here.
- Need to have text captions over them for anyone listening with audio off.
Below is an example of an Image Story Video we are running right now for a Copywriting product.
Plus, here’s an AOL Image Story we used as inspiration.
Video Type #3: The Talking Head
The Talking Head video is probably what most people think of when they think of a video ad. They can be more difficult to create. You need to cooperation of an editor, guru, publisher or other figure within your business.
You may decide a studio with lighting and sound is needed for your product. However, that isn’t always necessary…
Talking head videos:
- Can be filmed on a cell phone. They appear to be off-the-cuff, providing important, time-sensitive information.
- The lack of “production value” can make them appear more authentic and natural, rather than promotional.
- Can take the form of a “whiteboard style” presentation (or other form of “edutainment”) that gives away a tip or demonstrates something quickly and concisely. These too can be filmed quickly without professional production.
- Can either deliver content or drive the call to action focused on getting the action you want, including a signup or order.
- Should include captions to cater to the majority who won’t hear the audio (or to use text to request they turn on their sound).
Here is an example of a video one of our clients created for their lead gen campaign. It features Rebecca Matter, a well-known guru for AWAI and a passionate public speaker.
AMM Tip: We tested the black strips across the top and bottom of the video. Not only were conversions higher for this version, but CPA was $3 lower on desktop and $1 less on mobile.
BONUS Strategy: The “Video Lasso”
We are in the business of building relationships with our readers, usually through email. But there is another ‘list’ you could and should be paying attention to.
Video ads can absolutely convert someone to a lead or a customer immediately. That’s our primary strategy.
We typically drive someone from a video ad to the same type of landing page we use for static ads – designed to capture an email address or generate a direct sale.
But sometimes people need a little more convincing. This is especially true if you are running to “cold audiences”, i.e. people who aren’t familiar with you.
That’s why remarketing (or retargeting as it’s often referred to) has become so popular – and effective.
Traditionally that “remarketing list” is in the form of visitors to a website. But now video viewers offer an additional list to retarget, after being warmed up by your content.
We call this the “Video Lasso”. Why?
Well, because we’re marketers and we like coming up with clever names for things.
And, because the strategy literally lasso’s the audience of video viewers, and pulls them right back to your ads and asks them again to take the action you wanted them to take.
These video viewers are a very qualified list to run new ads to. That could be using different video creative or to run more traditional static ads to. You could even consider a “series” of ads, perhaps introducing someone in the first ad, and then lassoing them back with more content from that same guru.
Engagement Audiences: Video Viewers
Engagement Audiences are audiences created within Facebook, based on certain actions a user has taken.
One of those options is for video views.
Effectively, by building up viewers who have watched your videos on Facebook, you are list building. Rather than having the user commit their email address to start that relationship with you, they are just committing their time and attention in watching your video.
For video, there is an audience specifically created for users who have viewed your video:
You can select variables such as how long they watched for….and how long ago that was. For example:
I’d recommend starting with people who watched 95% of your video. They should be the most engaged.
You can also choose which specific video to build your list of viewers from:
Let’s say you have video content around bitcoin. You can target your bitcoin promotion to the viewers of those videos only. You’ve warmed them up with a great piece of educational and informative video about bitcoin. Now they’re much more likely to respond to your bitcoin promotion.
It’s very similar to creating a hotlist for your email file.
Effectively, what we are now doing is remarketing to the viewers of the video.
Think through exactly how the next stage in the funnel should appear to them; do they want to see the same video again? Probably not.
What is the next ad (video or text) you can show them? What message will resonate with the viewer and allow you to push for a conversion?
You may decide to use a deliberate remarketing strategy. In this way, you can tell your story first (as in video type 2) with the main intention to warm the audience before going in for the close with additional ads. This is especially true if you are using this for one-step (straight to a paid product) rather than 2-step (lead gen).
AMM Tip: In order to build a larger remarketing list, you can create your initial video with an objective of “Video Views” (as shown below). This means you won’t be filtering your initial audience by those only likely to convert. Instead you’ll have the opportunity to use conversions as the objective in the remarketing phase.
So, when will you get started?
Video ads should now be part of your standard toolkit for Facebook advertising. It might take some time to learn which video type and copy style will work best for your business but there are quick and easy ways to get something launched in very little time.
Once you have video ads running you’ll be in a position to test other video types to find the mix of content and format that helps you deliver the right messages and generate the best results.
And remember, test strategies to build the list of video viewers…remarketing to them to get the conversion.
Account Director, AIM
P.S. We’re very fortunate to have Amy, our video expert, in-house creating fantastic ads that convert for us and our clients. Combined with our FB ad platform experts it’s a winning formula. Email me now and we can help you get your video ad strategy started.
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