ONLINE VIDEO ADVERTISING: All you need to know in 2018
By Matteo Gasparello
You may already know that videos are the marketing tool with the highest engagement rates nowadays on the internet.
Every day, more marketers are using video ads to promote their products and services effectively. But how can you take advantage of them?
For video advertising to work you need to understand video best practices, how to allocate your ad budget, and which platform can give you the highest return on ad spent.
In this guide, I’m going to help you overcome all these obstacles and plan a highly effective video ad.
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Table of Contents
How to Create an Highly Effective Video Ad
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.
#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 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.
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.
Spread your message like wildfire with Facebook Video Ads
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.
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 you should always follow:
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.
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 a lead video ad, simply log into Facebook Ads manager and choose “Lead Generation”.
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:
Reach your dream client with Instagram Video Ads
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?
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 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).
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.
Connect with B2B decision makers with Linkedin Video Ads
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.
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!
Maximise your reach tapping into additional video platforms
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.
Videology is an online platform that provides advertising across both TV and digital video.
If you’d like to promote your video ad on television, check them out .
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.
Take advantage of advanced targeting with Twitter Video Ads
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.
Let’s start with some basics, and you’ll learn why you’ll love Twitter 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.
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”.
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”.
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!
Get high CTR with Youtube Video Ads
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.
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)
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 format should you choose?
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.
Target Millennials with Snapchat Video Ads
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.
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.
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.