Online video, once primarily consumed on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo, is quickly becoming one of the most engaging types of content on Facebook. From May through July of this year, there has been a 50% increase in video views on Facebook, which makes perfect sense considering they now serve up over 1 billion video views each day.

This comes in the wake of several big changes from Facebook, most significantly, a boost to video rankings in the News Feed this June. And with more relevant videos now appearing in more feeds, it was only a matter of time before users began embracing the mini moving pictures they were scrolling across.

While desktop viewing has increased, the most significant video adoption amongst Facebook users is taking place on a much smaller screen. According to a recent post from Facebook, over 65% of video views are now being seen on mobile.

As Facebook begins to expand autoplay video ads (available through PMDs) to more brands, we need to remember that quantity must be met with quality. For mobile video in particular, advertisers can follow several best practices to improve user-experience and overall campaign performance.


Image courtesy Flickr user Martin Alleus, July 19, 2010

Embrace the Need For Speed

We’ve all heard the stats. If a video doesn’t load in 2 seconds, users get impatient and lose interest, dropping off at a rate of up to 20% in 5 seconds alone. While advertisers don’t have total control over internet speed or load times, they can manage some of the factors that push away over-eager viewers.

To begin with, consider network connection speed when setting up the targeting for your video campaigns. Serve video ads to users with connection speeds of 3G or higher, or else risk slow load times, wasted impressions, and a poor overall user experience.

Even if a video loads quickly, short attention spans are still a hurdle for all video ads. Hook users in during the first five seconds of your video, and restrict runtime to prevent user drop-off. To hone in on the correct video length, compare Facebook’s “Video Views” and “Video Views to 25%, 50%, 75%, 95% and 100%” metrics to see how long your audience is willing to watch.

Work Around Sound

For video ads, sound is a luxury only afforded to advertisers if a user makes the effort to opt-in. In this sense, all videos should be created with mute in mind as the standard, not the exception. Avoid dialogue or narration within the first several seconds of your video, giving your viewer a chance to turn their audio on without having to rewind and re-watch an ad from the start.

On mobile, users who opt-in to video sound will be particularly hard to come by, as many people are already listening to music or are scrolling through their Feed in a public place where audio isn’t appropriate.

Drive Actions After the View

So your audience has finished watching your video – now what? Before users can scroll on down their Feed or hop over to another app, give them another way to engage with your brand. Depending on your end goal – awareness, engagement, conversion – you have several options.

A follow-up video is a simple in-line method of increasing brand and message exposure. Consider running an initial ad that lasts only 15-30 seconds, with a follow-up video that runs 30 seconds to a minute. Tie the creative and storyline together for both pieces to create a cohesive viewing experience.

To push users further down your sales funnel, transport them off of Facebook and onto an owned web property. This can be done by placing a link in the message copy, or by including a CTA button to “Learn More” at the end of your video.

Just remember, when driving users outside of the Facebook app, think mobile first. Any site that you drive users to should be mobile-optimized for fast load times and small screens.

Are You Ready To Start Rolling?

Just as Facebook Exchange and larger right-hand column ads were once a new and novel thing, video ads are still relatively unfamiliar territory for advertisers – but they won’t be for long. Facebook has already reported that businesses are seeing a significant decrease in cost per view for video ads as the ad format begins to mature, and the innovation is far from over.

Mobile video consumption has doubled in the last year alone, and it’s only going to keep increasing, so what are you waiting for?

Lights, camera, cost-per-action!

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Juliana Nicholson
Juliana Nicholson is a Marketing Manager at Brand Networks, the leading provider of data-informed social marketing solutions. She specializes in content marketing, with a strong focus on fully integrated organic and paid social media solutions.