Facebook video advertising is becoming increasingly popular, now that brands have realised the importance of video content. Here are a few tips to get the best out of your Facebook video adverts.

Planning your campaign

This is true for any ad campaign, not just for Facebook video advertising. Make sure you’ve put some time aside at the start to really get your head around the campaign. You need to answer some key questions:

  • Who needs to be involved?
  • Does everyone have what they need?
  • What needs to be set up before you can get going?
  • Where do you really need to focus your attention?
  • How will the budget get broken down over the time you have?
  • How will you define success?

It may sound obvious, but it really is easy to go flying into a campaign before you’re ready. If you put in the preparation time, you’re going to get better results from Facebook video advertising. The whole thing will run a lot smoother too.

Keep it short

Unless you have the budget of a small Hollywood film, it’s hard to grab your audience’s attention for long with an advert. People have very short attention spans – and they’re getting shorter. Keep your adverts short and snappy. Grab people’s attention early. Get your message across and don’t hog people’s screen time longer than you have to. If you’re also running the same adverts on YouTube, remember that the first five seconds are crucial – it’s the time before people can hit the skip button.

This is true for any video advertising, especially online, and especially for Facebook video advertising. After all, you’re selling something on social media. Firstly, on the whole people are there to chat to friends and get content they’ve specifically chosen to subscribe to. You’re intruding on that, so make it worthwhile and make it quick. Secondly, social media feeds are getting updated constantly and people often only pop on for a quick visit, several times throughout the day (and the shift to mobile is only exacerbating this). Short content is easier for people to consume when they’re in a rush to view lots of different things, with limited time before they need to get back to something more productive. That’s not to say long content can’t be successful. But it’s much more of a risk and a higher investment. Start small.

Go native for Facebook video advertising

Host your video adverts on Facebook. Seriously. I know you might want to keep all your views in one place on YouTube and reap the rewards of those higher view counts. But you’ll be doing so at the expense of your budget. There is strong evidence that Facebook favours videos hosted on it’s own native video platform over those hosted elsewhere. If you want to get the best performance from your budget, you have to play Facebook’s game here.

There are exceptions to this. Your YouTube channel might be your main product, in which case you could benefit much more from serving your content directly from YouTube. You accept the loss in performance in exchange for building your audience where it matters. But as most of us aren’t YouTube stars, this has fairly limited relevance to most businesses.

Have some data ready

Finally, make sure you have some data to hand to start your campaigns. If you’re used to Google Adwords, you may be expecting to be able to run experiments on Facebook as you do on Adwords. Unfortunately, the data isn’t quite there for Facebook video advertising at the moment. You can get useful demographic data around age and gender, but if you want to drill down into interests, industries and more, you’re going to be disappointed.

You can target more precisely than on Adwords, which is great. But without a breakdown of this data, it’s hard to know how specific segments of your targeted audience are responding. If you have the time and budget, you can run specific campaigns for all of these segments and you’ll get some very good rewards from this.

But if you’re in a hurry and on a limited budget, your best bet is to have some data prepared (this is related to the first point, giving yourself enough time to prepare). You have a few options here. Facebook allows you to install the Facebook Pixel on your website, which tracks user behaviour and means your Facebook video advertising campaigns can be very highly targeted. Do this early, so you have time to gain some data beforehand.

A second option is to have an existing Facebook Page with a decent number of fans. You can target these people directly, or create lookalike audiences (audiences that are similar to these people). This is very good data, if you have it, but it takes a long time to build if you don’t already have a sizeable Facebook following.

Finally, you can upload custom audiences based on data from your CRM or prospect email lists. This is a great way to get to people you know are definitely interested in your brand. Make sure you have plenty of data if you do this, however – it matches your data to find people on Facebook. You will get significant drop off, as lots of people use different details on Facebook than they use to sign up to company mailing lists.