With all the hype around using video on social media, you're probably pretty eager to dive in and start making video ads right away—but not so fast! When it comes to Facebook, some of your videos will be a home run, and others might die a slow, painful death right there on your page. In order to achieve good results, you need to start planning ahead and being more strategic with your efforts. Luckily, we're here to help!
Many marketers and creative teams make the mistake of focusing on the content alone for Facebook ads when in reality, the context is just as important. For your next campaign, try spending half your time on content creation and the other half on strategy and optimization. We bet you'll start seeing better results! After all, when you tie your creative efforts to measurable goals, there's no limit to what you can do with your marketing.
Let's walk through some steps for setting your goals, testing your content, and being more strategic with video overall.
Set your goals and choose your audience
Before you put pen to paper and start drafting your next script, make sure you have a clear goal for your video and that your target audience is defined. Goals will give your video a purpose you can actually measure against—without a goal in place, it's hard to determine what's working and what's not. You can decide on your goals and audience before even opening the Facebook Ads Manager, but it's helpful to know what you're working with once you do.
Facebook divides ad campaign goals into three categories based on the marketing funnel:
- Awareness: Helping people recognize and remember your brand name
- Consideration: Engaging people who are interested in your brand on topics they care about to prove your value and start conversations
- Conversion: Getting people to complete a conversion action on your site or app
- Awareness: A “maximum reach” goal will aim to put ads in front of as many people as possible within your budget
- Consideration: An engagement goal could be to drive a certain amount of reactions and comments on your video, or to get people to claim an offer in your ad
- Conversion: A conversion goal could be achieving a certain return on ad spend. For example, for every $1 of Facebook ad budget, you get $3 worth of orders on your site.
Many businesses using video ads on Facebook tend to focus on the consideration and conversion categories. While awareness campaigns can be really effective for certain brands, the results can often be difficult to measure in a meaningful way. Video engagement and purchase actions are more directly related to lead and revenue generation, making it easier to measure ROI.
The more you know about your audience, the better you can hone your video messaging and imagery to match their preferences. The audience you choose in Facebook Ads Manager can be an extension of your marketing personas, or it can be based on data you've gathered from customers who've used or purchased your products.
Here are some examples of defined audiences on Facebook:
- Married moms ages 30-45 in the Southeastern United States
- European product managers ages 30-50
- People who have purchased from your Android app in the last three months
Once you have these target demographics set up, take the time to get to know your audience better. Think about what they value, the problems they are looking to solve, and the issues they care deeply about. The answers to these questions will give you clues about who to feature in your videos (humans or puppies), what terminology to use (marketing jargon or funny puns), and what emotions to evoke in your video (tears of joy or tears of sadness).
Test your organic content
So, you've identified the goal of your video and have established your target audience—that's great! You're finally ready to hit "go" on that Facebook ad, right? Well, not exactly. There's still one more step you can take to make sure you're putting your best foot forward when it comes to setting up your videos ads on Facebook.
You may have noticed over the past year that your Facebook feed features more sponsored posts than ever before. And despite Facebook's efforts to favor these ads, one of the strange quirks of the newsfeed is that organic-looking posts still seem to outperform more polished and professional looking ones.
Facebook ads expert and founder of digital agency Ad Hoc Media, Justin Marshall, put it this way in an interview with video ad maker Shakr, “People don’t want to be sold to on social media, but they love discovering new things and eventually buying them.”
The great news here is that organic posts are easy to make and replicate, which means you can easily test your content in order to determine which videos are worthy of receiving those precious buckaroos. Shoot several low-budget, low time-investment videos, write multiple variations of copy with CTAs within the post, and then share them on your Facebook page in a series of casual (yet controlled) tests.
Here's an example of an organic post that follows this format from event app Bizzabo's Facebook page:
Post copy: Have you seen our totally revamped event app, yet? Not to brag, but it's pretty darn cool. To learn more speak to your CSM or request a demo here.
When testing organic posts, be sure to judge the post's success in the same ways you would a traditional ad. As always, make sure your performance goals align with the goal you'll set for your paid ad (side note: you won't be able to do this if your goal is conversion-based). However, if your goal is tied to awareness or engagement, you can track the views, reactions, and comments each video receives from people following your company page. Doing so will give you a look into which content might be the most favorable for your video ad.
The next step is to create an ad that looks identical to the successful organic post you shared. Rather than “boosting” the existing organic post, create an ad that mimics the format. That way you can apply the highly specific goals and audience you chose earlier, instead of letting Facebook assess who should see your content and what success looks like. A video ad (rather than a boosted post) will also help separate purely organic performance from your paid efforts.
When you take the time to test your content before spending any of your budget, you'll feel more confident that your money will be going towards a concept with a great track record.
Launch, rinse, repeat
You're so close! Once you've tested your video and are confident in its success, you're ready to rock 'n roll. Don't let the complex Ads Manager fool you—this can be a relatively quick process. Since you've already determined the creative, audience, and goal, you should be up and running in no time.
To keep things super simple and easy to measure, set as many controls as possible—in other words, cut down the variables that could affect your results. Choose one placement, i.e., mobile newsfeed, place one ad per ad set, and use one link as your call-to-action. Most importantly, always A/B test your ads. The more opportunities you have to optimize and tweak your content, the better off you'll be, so keep tinkering regardless of how small the changes may be!
Here are a few examples of A/B tests you can try on your next video ad:
- URLs: Test a full URL against a short-link in your post copy.
- In-video CTA: Test a video with a CTA in the content itself vs. one with just a post CTA.
- Captions: Test a video with auto-captions turned on vs. one without.
Facebook recommends waiting between 3 and 14 days to gather significant results on your video ad A/B tests. Once the test is complete, you can apply your learnings to the next ad. Keep a simple spreadsheet of all the tests you've run so you can track variables and results. This will help you track what you've learned so you can continue to improve performance.
When starting out, you also can use industry benchmarks to bolster your knowledge of Facebook ad success. Here are some industry benchmarks for Facebook conversion rates, courtesy of our friends at WordStream. Of course, these rates are just guidelines—you know what a significant impact on your business looks like best. Once you've run a few ads, you can set your own benchmarks. Soon, you'll get into a groove of creating new content, optimizing your posts, and creating ads that deliver on your goals every time.
Equal parts strategy and content
Video ad performance on Facebook is not always intuitive. By creating a process for reaching the right audiences, setting concrete goals, and iterating on successful videos, you can make your performance more predictable. That doesn't mean success totally relies on the process, however. The 50/50 rule leaves plenty of room for creativity and video magic.
When you combine equal parts strategy and content, you can create a video that feels authentic within the Facebook feed. Spark conversations and inspire others to start cooking up something good today!