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If there is anyone who knows what works on Facebook Ads, it’s probably Facebook. Thankfully, the company is eager to share its data to help advertisers make the best ads possible. 

Facebook Ads did just that this week with a new list of 11 ways to improve your video ads based on their latest data and research.

Why Video Ads?

Many brands and advertisers are still reluctant to indulge in video ads, fearing they may be more costly, less effective, or more difficult to manage.

According to the report, however, none of these are true. In fact, the company has seen that for every dollar invested into video ads on the platform, there is a 39% higher chance to drive sales compared to static social ads.

Even more, the budget, placement, or targeting have less impact on the success of video ads than you may think. According to Facebook Ads, 70% of the potential ROI from video ads comes from how you use the format to get attention and inspire action, while just 30% comes from details like where the ad is shown.

To ensure your video ads are inspiring potential customers to take action, Facebook put together these tips for improving your future video ad campaigns.

11 Ways To Improve Your Video Ads

Facebook breaks this collection of tips into two groups: ‘Best Practice’ and ‘Highly Recommended’.

Best Practice 

  1. Frame For Mobile: Based on user activity, most users will be seeing your video on mobile. Keep this in mind when framing your video with the recommended vertical 4:5 format on Facebook or 1:1 square format on Instagram.
  2. Create For Sound-Off Viewing: By default, your video will be played without audio. If your video ad is going to be successful, it needs to be understandable and engaging without sound.
  3. Focus on the Product: Facebook recommends focusing your creative for video ads directly on a product or feature, rather than your entire business.
  4. Have a Single Message: As with all advertising, it is important to present a single, clear message in any promotion. Trying to do too much in a single ad will just overwhelm or push away potential customers.
  5. Highlight Branding Early: The report recommends placing your branding and message at the start of a video to grab attention and retain potential customers.
  6. Be Straight To The Point: On that note, putting a clear message up front makes it easier for consumers to understand what you’re hoping to accomplish and what you have to offer them.
  7. Use Movement & Faster Editing Early: Having movement or quick edits near the start of your video ads helps grab attention and may motivate viewers to keep watching.

Highly Recommended

  1. Brevity Is Key: People viewing on mobile devices have limited time, short attention-spans, and are quick to scroll away if you start to lose them. It is important to keep your videos short for most impact.
  2. Don’t Follow Old Rules: Traditional ads on TV and radio are structured with the assumption that users will remain tuned in no matter what. This allows time to build up a story to grab interest. Online video doesn’t offer this comfort. Instead, start your videos with a bang to capture attention quickly. 
  3. Don’t Be Afraid of Twists or Surprises: Including more gasp-inducing moments in your video ads can be a good way to hold viewers’ attention throughout your entire video.
  4. Think Visually: Since sound is typically off, it is important to use visually grabbing features like bright colors or product close-ups to keep viewers engaged.

To learn more about what Facebook has learned from its video ads research, read the full report here.

YouTube announced a pretty big change to how it manages ads for longer videos across the platform. Effective immediately, the video streaming platform is turning post-roll ads on by default for all monetized videos that run over 10 minutes long.

This means any video over that length will automatically include these ads, unless you explicitly opt-out. 

The news came as part of the first news update of 2021 from YouTube’s Creator Insider channel. 

In the video, a YouTube representative tells creators:

“For monetizing creators, any videos over 10 minutes in length will automatically have post-roll ads turned on by default.”

What Are Post-Roll Ads?

When it comes to online videos and video advertising, there are essentially three different types of ads: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. 

Pre-roll ads run before your video ever starts. Mid-roll ads interrupt your content, similar to TV commercials appearing in the middle of your favorite show. Post-roll ads run after your video has completed. 

The obvious benefit to post-roll ads is that they are the least intrusive to the viewing experience. The viewer loses nothing by moving on to a different video.

Importantly, for any type of ad to be shown on your videos, you must have applied for and been accepted to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). 

How This Might Affect You

With this change, all types of ads are now turned on by default. That means viewers will be shown ads before, during, and after your video.

Even if it is a 20-minute long video or longer, that can add up to be a whole lot of advertising for online audiences. 

This can cause burnout or frustration, potentially pushing viewers away from your channel over time. 

On their own, there is nothing inherently wrong with including post-roll ads on your videos. They may even become the preferred ad placement for many content creators. 

However, this change makes it more important than ever to strategically manage where ads will appear on your videos and take more active control of your advertising settings. 

If you’d like to find out more about post-roll ads or YouTube’s new ad policy, check out the Creator Insider video below:

YouTube has introduced a major change to how it handles advertising which has many content creators, users, and advertisers outraged.

Breaking with its tradition of sharing ad revenue with the channels they are shown on, YouTube is beginning to show ads on channels which have not opted into monetization. 

This means that the channel creator did not approve the inclusion of ads and – perhaps most importantly – they will not receive any revenue from the placement of ads within their videos. 

Until now, video creators had to join the YouTube Partner Program and enable monetization in order for ads to be shown on videos across their channel.

This helped strike a balance where those who wanted could create their videos planning for the inclusion of ads while others could rely on sponsorships to generate revenue or simply not monetize their videos. 

All of this was introduced via a change to YouTube’s Terms of Service with very little communication to users and content creators. 

Right To Monetize

YouTube added a new section to its Terms of Services recently titled Right to Monetize which introduces the ability to advertise on any and all videos. 

In order to use YouTube, all users must agree to the Terms of Service, making it mandatory for uploading videos or even viewing and  engaging with videos. 

A brief selection of the new section largely lays out the changes taking place:

“You grant to YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments.”

Although YouTube says it is starting slowly by rolling out ads to a small number of channels which have not joined the Partner Program, it will be hard to track how true this actually is. The company has chosen not to notify channels when ads begin appearing on their videos, so it is hard to gauge how widely the change has been implemented. 

While YouTube says channels which are not part of the Partner Program can apply for the program if they wish to receive revenue, it is also true that not everyone is eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. 

YouTube Partner Program Requirements

To be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, channels have to meet a number of conditions. The biggest hurdles for most channels are the requirements stating you must have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months and more than 1,000 subscribers. Adult-oriented topics may also run into issues with content guidelines.

How This Affects Advertisers

The most obvious group affected by this change are small video creators who do not meet the requirements for the YouTube Partner Program but will have ads placed on their videos nonetheless or have opted to not include ads within their videos. 

However, the new ad policies may also have an effect on advertisers. If viewers receive a double-dose of advertising through an in-video sponsorship and mid-roll ad, they may be less likely to engage with either advertisement. 

Additionally, smaller channels may cover more niche topics or themes making it harder to properly target ads to that audience. 

Lastly, the revised rules on advertising may have an unintended consequence of driving more users to YouTube’s ad-free premium service, YouTube Red. This means that although YouTube would keep getting revenue, ads may actually have smaller reach than ever and drive less sales. 

As expected, the new rules have not been warmly received. Countless creators both big and small have uploaded videos decrying the new Terms of Service agreement, with some going as far as to announce they will be changing platforms or altogether boycotting YouTube.

For now it appears YouTube is sticking with the policy change, though there is always the possibility for the platform to amend or revise its agreement if negative response is widespread enough. 

YouTube is rolling out new privacy restrictions which affect how creators can advertise or use data from children under the age of 13.

The new policies are in response to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which bars companies from collecting data from children under the age of 13.

Although this policy has been in place for some time, Google and YouTube were found to be noncompliant  by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and given a hefty fine in 2019.

What This Means For YouTube

The most notable change for the platform in the is that targeted ads will no longer be shown with videos aimed at children – no matter the viewer’s age.

To better comply with COPPA regulations, YouTube will now treat all personal data from anyone viewing videos aimed at children as coming from a child. As such, the company is also unable to show any form of targeted ads.

As for what exactly constitutes children’s content, YouTube says:

“According to the FTC, a video is made for kids if it is intended for kids, taking into consideration a variety of factors. These factors include the subject matter of the video, whether the video has an emphasis on kids characters, themes, toys or games, and more.”

While some channels have “self-identified” themselves as being children’s content in their channel settings, YouTube will also use machine learning to identify other content intended for children.

What If You Are Wrongly Affected

The biggest concern for many brands and advertisers since the announcement of this policy is how it will affect those who could be wrongly identified as “children’s content”. For example, many gaming-related channels are not inherently targeted at children but could be labeled as “children’s content” under YouTube’s new policies.

Now, YouTube says creators will be able to override YouTube’s decision to label content as being for children so long as they do not detect signs of abuse. This means creators will be able to continue showing targeted ads and receiving revenue from them so long as they are clearly not aimed specifically at children.

Snapchat is launching a new format for video ads called Extended Play Commercials which allows advertisers to run ads up to three minutes long.

The video ads are skippable after six seconds and will be shown as mid-roll ads – similar to how Snapchat handles shorter ads.

The goal behind Extended Play Commercials is to let advertisers tell longer, more engaging stories to users who are already actively engaged with the platform. As the company tells AdWeek, Snapchat believes these ads will help capture a greater share of the video ad market:

“The company believes the flexibility that extended play commercials provides to video advertisers will help it gain more share of the overall online video advertising market.“

While the new ad format is currently only available in closed beta, advertisers can request access by making a request through Ads Manager or contacting a Snapchat advertising representative.

David Router, Snapchat’s VP of Global Agency Partnerships, says the ads are a great way for advertisers to connect with shoppers this holiday season:

“We’re committed to building high-impact, long-form video ad formats, and extended play commercials are a great option for online video and TV buyers. Heading into the holidays, this format is a powerful new way to reach our Generation Z and millennial audience in Snapchat’s premium, brand safe Discover content.”

Twitter is launching a new video ad option which allows advertisers to create and run short video ads (under 15 seconds) and only be charged if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds. 

The company describes the new ad unit as a “flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

What You Should Know

The new ads are similar to YouTube’s short bumper ads which typically run before pieces of content or as an ad-break during videos. As such, the ad is believed to be highly effective for driving high view rates.

For example, Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, says “this six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%.”

Oliveira and Dell were one of the select few given early access to the ad bid option. 

Last Notes

  • The new video ad option began rolling out on Monday and is expected to be live by the end of the week. 
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-Stream Video Sponsorships, and In-Stream Video Ads that are 15-seconds long or less.
  • Instagram considers a video to be viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are on-screen.

Pinterest is giving video advertisers even more screen real estate with a new video ad unit that expands to fill the entire width of your screen.

The company first introduced promoted videos over two years ago. Since then, Pinterest says they have proven to drive business and measurably impact purchasing decisions.

“Two years ago, we launched the first version of Promoted Video on Pinterest. Since then, people on Pinterest have tuned in to watch high-quality videos so they can find ideas, make decisions and do what they love. When you think about the mindset and behavior on Pinterest, it’s no surprise that people say that videos from brands on Pinterest add to the experience (1.6x) and that they are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a video (2.6x)”

As their name suggests, max width promoted videos are designed to spread out significantly further than the typical Pinterest videos in feeds and search results on mobile devices. This makes them stand out even more and truly get the attention of viewers. The format is available in both 16:9 (cinematic) and 1:1 (square) aspect ratios.

While announcing the new promoted video format, Pinterest claimed that users are more interested in seeing videos from brands on Pinterest rather than other platforms.

“People on Pinterest really are more interested in videos from brands than on other platforms. 67% of Pinterest video viewers say that videos on Pinterest inspire them to take action. In contrast, only 32% of people say that about other platforms.”

For the moment, Pinterest is just getting started testing these max width video ads with a small group of select advertisers, however they say the format will be available in Pinterest’s ad manager later this year.

Vides that automatically start playing with the sound cranked all the way up have long been the scourge of the internet. They’ve interrupted our listening to music, quiet browsing in public places, and they’ve even interrupted videos we actually want to watch!

This is why Google’s web browser, Chrome, is fighting back. The latest version for desktop devices will automatically disable the majority of videos from playing with sound automatically.

The only exception to Chrome’s new feature is videos that Google has reason to believe you are interested in. Specifically, this includes:

  • Videos you have played before
  • When you have clicked the screen at some point in your browsing session
  • Videos appearing on a site you have added to your home screen on mobile

It is notable that Google is not entirely blocking the videos that are designed to autoplay. Instead, it essentially pauses them until they are triggered manually.

Also, videos that autoplay without sound are still completely and totally okay with Google. They will continue to automatically begin playing, and may still be a viable advertising method if you include captions.

Instagram has introduced a new way for brands to tell their Stories, with expanded photo and video carousels.

In the past, brands could only include a single photo or video in their Story ads. Now, a limited number of advertisers can triple that with three consecutive photos or videos, as the company announced today.

For now, the expanded ad unit is only available to 12 brands, such as California Pizza Kitchen, Netflix, and Paramount. However, it is also opening the format, which it is calling “carousel ads for Instagram Stories” to brands buying ads through automated ad-buying firms.

It is unclear when Instagram will be bringing the ad unit to self-serve advertisers, which include the vast majority of small businesses that advertise on the platform.

The expanded format should come as a relief for the advertisers who have access. In the past, the constraints of Instagram’s Story ads forced brands to squeeze in as much as possible within a single image or 15-second video. Now, they have more breathing room to tell actual stories.

The versatility of the new ad unit also offers new creative options for brands who advertise on Instagram.

Because you can mix-and-match, you might start a carousel with a short video showcasing the product, followed by an image highlighting features or details, with a link to your website on the final slide. Or, you might create thematically related short-videos that complement each other. You could also just split a 45-second video ad into three segments across the carousel.

“The goal is really to create ad formats that feel as native as possible to Instagram,” said Susan Rose, director of product marketing for Instagram.

According to Rose, one-third of the most-viewed organic Stories on Instagram are posted by brands, and 60 percent of Instagram’s organic Stories are viewed with the sound on.

While the expanded carousel gives you more room for telling stories with your ads, the individual limitations for each slide remain the same.

The maximum length of each video is 15 seconds, and photos only stay on the screen for up to five seconds. Users can also swipe past the ad to skip it.

To provide better insight into how these carousel ads are performing, Instagram says it will record analytics data for views and swipes on each post in an ad. However, the impressions for the ad will only be counted once when the ad is served.

For years, the only way to advertise on Snapchat was by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to work directly with the company for custom advertising. Gradually Snapchat has been opening the doors to advertisers, but still require interested businesses to work with third-party partners to purchase ad space.

Starting this June, that all changes. Snapchat is preparing to throw the doors open to businesses of all sizes and budgets with a new self-service ad manager and Snapchat Mobile Dashboard.

Combined, these new tools allow any business or publisher to create and track video Snap Ads from anywhere. Most importantly, they also simplify the process so that anyone can get involved – instead of just high-level advertisers with massive marketing budgets.

Compared to other social ad platforms, Snapchat’s Ad Manager still looks to be relatively limited. For example you can’t directly purchase Sponsored Geofilters or Lenses through the tool, however, there is a separate self-serve tool for geofilters. However, it is a significant step forward for the platform that has always seemed like a walled garden when it comes to advertising.

In addition to the new Snapchat Ad Manager and Mobile Dashboard, the company is releasing Snapchat Business Manager to let you control permissions and roles for team members helping publish and monitor your ads. All three will be available in June to everyone in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Australia, and select other countries.