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  • Writer's pictureNick Lees

8 Hacks To Get More From Your Facebook Video Ads

(This post was originally published on August 15 at, a premier film marketing agency for non-profits)

The number of video views on Facebook is surging, at over 4 billion videos watched every single day.

That’s on par with Youtube. For video minutes watched on smartphones, Facebook is way ahead.

Non-profits should welcome this growth in video views as good news. Why? Because video viewers are more likely to donate or get involved.

Video Viewers Become Customers

According to an Adobe report on consumer behavior, video viewers are 1.81x more likely to purchase from a business than non-viewers. This would hold true for donations and involvement with non-profits as well.

Facebook Advertising + Videos = Best Campaigns

Facebook advertising is arguably the best channel for running video ads. Its market reach, refined targeting options and recent optimization for video makes it the top choice for organizations looking to acquire new donors and volunteers.

My experience running Facebook Ad campaigns has seen video outperform other forms of advertising content.

The hacks below are based off years of tweaking and optimizing Facebook video ads. Using them will give you enhanced performance and a better return on your ad spend.

Without further ado….

#1 Targeting smartphone users? Show for WiFi connection

When accessing Facebook on their phone’s data usage, people don’t always have strong connections. A slow connection can cause your video ad to stall and the viewer will move on to another post. Worse still, Facebook charges for that view, even though it was wasted.

The best workaround is to set your mobile video ad to only show to WiFi-connected mobile users. This is done at the adset level and will ensure your ads are only shown when someone has a more reliable connection. In turn, your audience will be more likely to watch the whole video.

#2 Tweak Your Thumbnail For More Views

One feature that frustrates Facebook advertisers is de-activated autoplay. Normally, a video ad will automatically play as the viewer is scrolling through their newsfeed. That grabs their attention and draws them in.

However, some users have that autoplay function de-activated, so videos won’t start playing automatically. This makes it crucial to choose a thumbnail that will pique their curiosity and make them click to watch the video.

Facebook allows you to choose a randomly selected clip from your video as a thumbnail, or to upload your own image.

For best results, test multiple thumbnails to see which one drives the highest click-thru-rates. I always split-test at least 6 thumbnails in order to maximize my clients’ performance.

#3 Grab Attention Right Away

Your Facebook video ads face fierce competition. People are bombarded with posts from friends, groups, pages and other businesses competing for their attention.

Moreover, attention spans are shrinking to just 2-3 seconds.

That’s why video ads MUST quickly grab a user’s attention. I’ve seen a lot of organizations run video ads that open with a logo, or someone talking in front of a camera.

That won’t cut it.

Users who see that will yawn and flick down to the next post.

To draw them in, open your video with a catches their interest…that causes them to watch and gives you the opportunity to share your message.

#4 Keep Videos Short for 1st Exposure, Longer for Retargeting

Short attention spans require organizations to keep video length to a minimum when targeting cold audiences. A cold audience refers to anyone who isn’t being retargeted (Retargeting is explained below).

These are people who are less familiar with your business and will be unlikely to watch your ad for more than 30 seconds. In my experience, videos between 15-30 seconds in length are best for their first exposure to your organization.

Since the video must be short, keep your message focused, concise and centered on creating curiosity.

When you start re-targeting, then you can run longer videos…

#5 Show Follow-up Videos To People Who Watched Your Initial Videos

Facebook allows you to target people who have watched or interacted with your video ad. That’s called re-targeting. For instance, you could show a follow-up video ad for people who watched 95% of your first exposure video.

These are the individuals who watched almost to the end and were the most engaged. Now that they’re familiar with you, they’re a warmer audience and can be nurtured into donors or volunteers with strategic video retargeting campaigns.

For my clients, I set up sophisticated campaigns with a number of sequential videos based on various viewer engagement levels. With time, this warms up a cold audience and drives many leads.

#6 Use Captions With Your Video

Facebook usually autoplays video ads in the newsfeed. That means the video ad will start playing as soon as it’s shown on the screen; no click is required to start it.

However, many Facebook users keep their volume on silent. That means they won’t hear the audio in your video.

Using captions allows you to better communicate with people who have their sound turned off, and can significantly increase your video engagement rates.

Captions are managed at the ad level.

#7 Place a Large Logo in The Ad

There are numerous benefits to incorporating a logo in video ads. This is essential for increasing familiarity and affinity for the non-profit. Yet many organizations use a small logo, which is hard to see and can get lost on a smartphone’s smaller screen.

A larger logo in the video can significantly increase your audience’s familiarity with the brand and the likelihood that they’ll spread positive word-of-mouth to an acquaintance.

#8 Optimize Your Campaign For Video Views

When you’re ready to run your video ad, use the Ads Manager or PowerEditor platform to optimize your campaign with Video Views objective. Facebook’s algorithms will then show your ads to people who are more likely to watch all of it.

Your ads will reach a better audience and your remarketing campaigns will be off to a stronger start.

Incorporating these tips into your Facebook campaigns will improve the performance of your video campaigns and can land your organization more volunteer involvement, publicity and donations.


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