The Guide to DIY Video Ads for Facebook and Instagram

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Making video ads for Facebook and Instagram may seem a daunting task. In this guide, let’s look at the essentials to get started with Facebook video ads.

Okay, so you’ve just kick-started a new business. Or perhaps you’re looking to take an already established property and elevate it to reach a new group of customers. But how? The answer isn’t atypical or long-winded, as the solution is simple — video ads for Facebook and Instagram. The question we’re going to explore is why? Why these platforms, and why video adverts?

For some, the subject of social media management can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not internet savvy. However, this bitesized guide should help you understand why video ads can help better your business reach.

Why Facebook and Instagram? 

In 2020, I’d wager that it’s near enough impossible to find someone who doesn’t know of Facebook or Instagram, let alone doesn’t use the platforms. Just as recently as July 2020, it was reported that Facebook had an active userbase of 2.7 billion. Yes, that’s a third of the planet on a single social media platform. Although there’s a prominent push for people to move away from social media dependency, over one billion people still visit the platform daily. In the US alone, at least seventy-four percent of its users visit the platform every day.

Social Media PlatformsA third of the planet uses some sort of social media platform. Image via LOVE YOU.

Instagram, also acquired by Facebook in 2012, doesn’t boast quite the same numbers. But one billion monthly active users with 500 million daily users is a feat within itself. With those numbers, there may be no greater platform to advertise your service.

While both platforms are wholly different from each other, with the company synergy, it allows creators to promote ads, across both platforms, from one location easily: Facebook’s Ad Manager. You could push a sixty-second video advertisement to your Facebook page and a twenty-second one to Instagram from one dashboard. Additionally, you could also set your Instagram Story ad to appear on Facebook Stories instead of creating two separate ads. This feature just isn’t present with other social networks.

Why Video Ads? 

We know that Facebook and Instagram have a gargantuan reach. But why look to create a video ad that will undoubtedly be more expensive to produce, instead of a text ad with a link to your website or a photo post?

Inevitably, it comes down to how much Facebook users love video content. Users watch eight billion hours of video content every day on the platform, plus Facebook video posts have a 135 percent more organic reach than photo posts. 

Facebook VideosFacebook videos have become more popular than ever before. Image via VectorKnight.

In 2018, Forbes reported that more people now watch videos on Facebook instead of YouTube.

According to a recent survey conducted by the visual content platform Slidely, forty-seven percent of consumers state that they now get most of their video content on Facebook, versus forty-one percent who say they usually watch YouTube. And seventy-one percent of those who watch marketing videos on Facebook state that the ads they view are relevant.

Even more important to brands is that between sixty and seventy percent of those who view a company’s Facebook video then proceed to visit that company’s website.

Videos are extremely shareable, and the increase in viewership is due to the fluidity of that aspect. From instant messages, sharing to a group, or tagging your friend, ninety-two percent of mobile video watchers will share videos with friends.

The Video Specifications

Facebook and Instagram are outstanding platforms to use, but we can’t just upload any video. It needs to conform to the platform’s set standards.

Both Facebook and Instagram offer a wide variety of different formats to post to, which is encouraging considering there are multiple avenues to browse both platforms aside from the standard feed scroll. This means you can put your ads across the entire platform, and not just the primary feed.

A Variety of FormatsFacebook and Instagram offer a variety of formats to post to. Image via Julia Tim.

I recommend reading through their entire list of ad specs on Facebook businesses help center, as they fully present all the ad requirements and display a mobile preview of what the advertisement will look like. However, underneath you’ll find a quick-fire list of specs to run through. 

Facebook

Facebook Feed: Ratio 9:16 to 16:9, 1 second to 240 minutesFacebook Marketplace: Ratio 9:16 to 16:9, 1 second to 240 minutesFacebook In-Stream: Ratio 9:16 to 16:9, 5-15 secondsFacebook Stories: 1.91:1 to 9:16, 1-120 seconds in length Facebook Search Results: Ratio 1:1, 240 minutes max 

Instagram

Instant Feed: 1.91:1 to 4:5, 1-120 seconds Instagram Stories: 16:9 to 4:5 and 9:16, 1-120 secondsInstagram Explore: 1.91:1 to 4:5, 1-120 seconds 

(For the specifications that list “9:16 to 16:9,” this means that you can also incorporate 1:1 and 4:5 video).

Your video file can have a frame rate up to 30fps, and while many formats are accepted, the internet-friendly H.264 is suggested.

Where to Get Video

Now that we know the specifications that Facebook and Instagram accept, it’s time to get to work in crafting your video ad tailored to the requirements discussed above. There are two avenues to explore.

Depending on your proposed idea, you could look to filming and creating it yourself, provided you have the right equipment. Although, even if you do have the correct equipment, that doesn’t always correlate to being able to execute the idea without the skillset required. Thankfully, we have a tutorial channel that covers the A-Z on all aspects of content creation — from camera basics to advanced editing.

However, if you’re not entirely versed in video production, and this ad is set to serve to promote your brand, you’re perhaps going to want to leave the video creation to professionals. Or, you can even check out our vast array of video content in our video library. While it’s easy enough to acquire individual clips, if you’ve set out to create numerous adverts a month, you may be better suited to a video subscription.

How to Set up a Facebook/Instagram Video Ad Campaign

Here’s how you’d go about adding your video ads to campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll skip the initial steps, like setting up a Business Manager account and starting new campaigns. I’d only say that your video ads will perform so much better in the campaign with the objective to get video views. When you set up your Facebook campaign, select Video views in the Campaign Objective dropdown.

In your new campaigns, set up your ad set by:

Setting a budget and start-end dates.Targeting a geographic region, your perspective audience’s interests, age, gender, languages, and connections.Choose placements for your video ad.Pick an optimization and ad delivery method.

Facebook has a rich targeting system. Use it according to your needs and preferences.

When you get to the Ad Creative area in the Facebook Ad Manager, you have a couple of choices to make. You can upload a video from your Facebook video library or upload your edited video from your device.

Upload Video

Facebook also offers to create a new video ad via its Video Creation Kit.

Facebook's Video Creation KitTry using Facebook’s Video Creation Kit.

The Video Creation Kit allows you to create short video clips by stitching several photos together. That’s an interesting way to test other creatives against your main video ads.

Save the campaigns and set them running. Now, it’s over to optimizing and tracking the results.

Result Tracking

As I stated earlier, the synergy between both platforms is strong. You can track and manage both your Facebook and Instagram ads in the Facebook Ads Manager dashboard.

Ads Manager DashboardAn example of the Ads Manager Dashboard.

Even for those unfamiliar with an analytical interface, all campaigns are easily managed and simple to monitor results.

But, what are we tracking? Just like the ROI for physical investments, there would be a need to measure your social media ROI so you’re not wasting dollars for pointless advertisement. The nature of social media ROI is complex enough to warrant its own article, and even Social Sprout reported that fifty-five percent of established social marketers found their ROI a challenge in 2018.

This is because it’s not as simple as measuring your ROI against new profits. There’s no one category for social media ROI. Your campaign could be measured for email signups as opposed to new purchases. Or, maybe one of the following:

Brand awarenessUser trialsDownloads

Ultimately, there’s no one way to gauge your social media ROI. However, an initial step would be to establish why you’re investing in online advertising. If you’re seeking to raise more brand awareness, would it be efficient in contributing more advertising budget than it would be when trying to convert customers?

The social media manager Hootsuite has a handy social media ROI calculator, so you can evaluate just how much you should spend per campaign.  

Bonus: Best Practices for Social Videos

Keep your videos short. Facebook recommends keeping video ads down to fifteen seconds. Videos up to fifteen seconds have a better chance to be watched to the end. Plus, such videos are eligible to show in Instagram Stories. That’s a good bonus!Pay attention to the length of your videos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram. Instagram Feed and Audience Network placements allow videos up to 120 seconds long. Facebook Feed, Marketplace, and Messenger Home support videos playing up to 240 minutes.Capture the viewer’s attention quickly. You’d want to include the most compelling part of the story or message at the beginning of your video. Facebook recommends to do so within the first three seconds of the video.Vertical and square videos gather more engagement. Because these videos (1:1 and 4:5 aspect ratio) take up more space in the viewer’s feed, engagement rates are higher with these formats, especially on mobile devices.Design the video for sound off. A lot of videos are watched with sound off. So text and graphics are welcome.

Producing a video advert is inevitably a lot more work than publishing a still image, but with the stats littered throughout the article, it’s undeniable that a video ad will push your reach a lot further.

Here are more articles to help with video on Facebook and Instagram:

How to Master the PC to Instagram Workflow for PostsHow to Shoot and Edit Videos Using Instagram ReelsWhat to Keep in Mind When Creating Facebook Video Ads

Cover image via PureSolution.

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