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February 5, 2018

How to Create Thumb-Stopping Video Ads

5 tips for optimizing videos for mobile and social media advertising.

Mobile Phone

If there’s one type of content that stands out on mobile and social channels, it’s video. Video’s ability to grab consumers’ attention, create immersive experiences, and spark engagement makes it a powerful means of communication between brands and their target audiences. And, importantly for businesses, helpful, educational, and entertaining video content drives interaction and discussion through likes, comments, and shareskey to Facebook’s revamped News Feed algorithm.

Many businesses have recognized the power of video and are adjusting their marketing budgets accordingly. eMarketer predicts video ad spending in the U.S. will reach $15.42 billion this year, and will grow to $22.18 billion by 2021.

However, in today’s multi-channel world, any old video won’t do. A recent study by artificial intelligence-powered video creation service Wibbitz indicates only about 10 percent of respondents engaged with nearly every video they viewed on social media by sharing, commenting, or liking. Meanwhile, more than half said they would only engage with videos they deemed relevant, underscoring how important market segmentation and targeting tools are for advertisers looking to advertise on social video platforms.

It’s also important that videos are optimized for the channels on which they are most likely to be viewed. Increasingly, that’s becoming mobile. According to the Wibbitz study, mobile devices are the preferred platform for consuming video content (31 percent) over desktop (26 percent) and streaming devices (25 percent).

“There is no singular video ad experience on mobile,” writes Facebook’s Mark Rabkin, vice president, ads & business platform. “Instead, there is a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach. This complexity poses a big challenge for advertisers.” Adding to that challenge, Rabkin points out, is the fact that an ad is one piece of content among many in a consumer’s feed, making the bar for capturing attention high.

At the same time, feeds have unprecedented scale and reach. “The vast majority of consumption is fast, but feeds also give you a shot at a deeper connection, like getting someone to take an action or watch a longer video,” Rabkin writes.

The trick is in creating videos that make a consumer’s thumb stop when scrolling by your ad. Here are five tips for creating thumb-stopping videos.

  • Design for mobile. Be sure both the format and content of your video are effective when viewed on mobile devices. Most people hold their phones vertically, so horizontal videos don’t maximize the screen space. When testing the impact of vertical video ads against horizontal and square ones, Facebook found vertical video ads drove an increase in brand lift and up to a nine-point increase in ad recall in seven of 10 tests. Also, to optimize content for small screens, avoid using too many words and small text or graphics. See more video design recommendations from Facebook here.
  • Engage quickly. Consumers scroll through their feeds quickly (41 percent faster on mobile News Feed than desktop News Feed, according to Facebook researchers), not leaving you much time to catch their attention. Try to hook them within the first couple seconds of the video with something unique that catches their eye. The Wibbitz study found 38 percent of respondents prefer short-form videosdefined as under one minute in lengthemphasizing the importance for businesses to create shorter, more engaging videos. Facebook recommends delivering your entire message in 15 seconds or less, incorporating your brand message and identity early, and strengthening your visuals with funny, provocative, or surprising copy.
  • Design for sound off. Because 85 percent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, it’s important that videos are understood when played silently. Using subtitles or briefly overlaid phrases will help. Tests conducted by Facebook found adding captions to video ads increases video view duration by an average of 12 percent.
  • Tell engaging stories. Use video ads to bring out the human or personal element of your business. Tell stories, spotlight real people, and share behind the scenes. The more you come across to your audience as a person instead of a company, the more they’ll connect and engage with you. Also, be sure your video ad is supported with effective copy. Ask questions that engage users and help them understand the value of your offer. A potential customer doesn’t want to be constantly told to buy your product, but rather how it will help him or her.
  • Test, iterate, and learn. Measure the results of your video on a per-creative, per-platform, and per-audience basis. An advertiser’s ability to use data to measure the right things properly will be the biggest predictor of their mobile advertising success. Align measurement, creative, and social media teams to be able to test, iterate, learn, and re-test quickly. The more you know about your audience and how they’re engaging, the better videos you’ll create.

In addition to single-image and multi-image ad creatives, the Denim platform supports our enterprise customers in building and launching video ads on behalf of agents’ and advisors’ Facebook pages. The data we’re collecting on consumer engagement with those ads will help our customers further optimize their videos for engagement by their target audiences.

To learn how Denim can help you improve your video advertising efforts, schedule a demo!

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