When you’re scrolling through Facebook, what stops your thumb? That bite-sized recipe video or the long, poorly edited one of someone making dinner at home?
Mobile optimization matters. If your Facebook videos look like made-for-TV documentaries, they aren’t likely to get many clicks. Because many users view the site on their smartphones, it’s important that your performance videos are made for on-the-go consumption.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Facebook supports many different video formats. In reality, high-performing Facebook video ads:
1. Get to the point.
How closely are you actually reading this article? Chances are, you’re not reading it like a legal document; you’re skimming it because you have a dozen other things to do this afternoon.
Approach your Facebook video content the same way. Expect to get about eight seconds of your audience’s attention. Yes, Facebook videos can run up to 240 minutes, but mobile content shouldn’t run more than a minute. Better yet, keep it to 30 seconds or less. Even your most engaged users won’t give you more time than that.
Put the “meat” of your ad at the start of the video. Is it most important for users to know your brand? The use case for your product? Get that message across first, following it with progressively less important information.
2. Plan for portrait.
When you’re riding the bus to work and looking at updates on social media, do you rotate your phone every time you stumble across a landscape video? Probably not. Your video production friends may cringe at the concept of portrait videos, but your audience’s behavior is the one that counts.
Don’t get creative with aspect ratios. Square is a good choice, as are 16:9 and 4:5 rectangular formats. In Facebook’s news feed, square videos get 78% more real estate than landscape ones. More pixels at the same price means more value.
To make sure your content plays well in a small space, think about dimension and framing. Use transitions, zooming, and cropping to make sure even people watching in portrait mode can see what’s going on.
3. Treat audio as an accessory.
Some products call for sound. If you’re a country music star trying to get traction for your latest album, you can’t do it without audio. Unless sound is your product, make sure your ad still makes sense in silence.
Most people don’t carry headphones with them. When they’re scrolling through Facebook in a waiting room or on the train, they shut off the sound. To connect with those users, your video ad has to make sense with visuals alone.
Don’t be afraid to use captions when circumstances call for it. If you have to include a message from your CEO or explain a complex situation, use Facebook’s captioning tool. The social media giant claims captioned ads actually increase view time by 12%.
4. Make the next steps simple.
What do you want people who watch your Facebook video ad to do afterward? Don’t just imply it; outright tell them what to do next. Then, make it as easy as possible for users to take that action from a mobile device.
If you’re hoping to generate revenue, use a simple, imperative, and time-sensitive phrase like “Shop now.” Show users exactly where to click, and most importantly, make sure their destination is mobile-optimized. Nobody’s going to haul out his desktop computer just to reload the page.
Unless you’re an expert on mobile optimization, use Google’s mobile-friendly test to check your site. On top of getting more value from your video ads, you’ll improve your site’s search engine rankings. If you need a fast fix for a page that won’t load on mobile, add a link that lets users pull up the desktop site.
Success with Facebook mobile video ads takes more than strong content. You might have the most riveting material in the world, but you still need to deliver it well. In a busy world, that’s what mobile optimization is all about.