Have you created your first video ad and the performance was not what you expected? Don’t worry, your artistic skills are most probably not the reason why it didn’t work out. The greatest campaigns of today are more likely to be rooted in scientific method rather than a stroke of a cinema genius. If you want to improve your ads’ performance, you need to understand what went wrong in the first place. And that requires just trial and error!

The reason why everyone gets so wildly different results from video is simple. Video is composed of 30 images per second. That’s a whole lot more opportunities to mess up compared to a good old photo post. Most advertisers like video because it can convey much more information and emotion in a single impression. But that also means a lot of variables come into play. You need to test a lot and create different variants, so you can understand what is the success of your message.

We’ve put together a list of things we recommend you to test and variate. Remember that you can successfully test only one or two things at a time. Otherwise you won’t really understand which change contributed to the results. The key is to keep testing on an ongoing basis. Ideally, you should launch new ads every day with tiny changes. That way you can gradually improve and you won’t be overwhelmed by making uncertain decisions when preparing your next big campaign.

The first 2 seconds of your video need the most care

Your video must grab the attention of users scrolling and swiping by. The first frame of the video must already give the biggest punch. If you fail to give reasons to keep on watching the users will barely realize they have even seen your ad. Make sure you know what makes your audience react.

Should I start with a claim?

Our TV instincts tell us that videos need some type of opening credits. That is often not the case with Facebook and Instagram where creators cut straight to action. On the other hand, text can stir up controversy really well and it engages our rational thinking faster than an image. Make sure you even need the opening text, before moving onto finding the best copy! 

What is the biggest added value your promotion offers? If you have simply good looking products and you’ve invested in awesome photography, don’t wait to show that off immediately without talking too much. If you have a deal that’s hard to pass put that up front instead. Large discounts, freebies or brand names can work wonders too, together with any unique reason to buy your store offers. Don’t forget that small language tweaks can go a long way. Copywriting skills matter today just as 50 years ago.

Easy with the animations

Just because you can animate all the things doesn’t mean you should always. The most common mistake are starting animations. If the first thing users see is a blank background, they will pass hard on your ad. Consider starting with a layout that is already mostly built-in and try to find just the right movement to point attention where you need to.

Pay attention to the thumbnail!

Remember that not everyone has autoplay videos enabled. The Facebook app will disable autoplay when the phone battery is low and sometimes, slow connection speed makes the buffering a little slow. In all of these cases, your thumbnail will be shown first. Make sure your thumbnail looks good and shows the best of your video. However keep in mind that the 20% text rule applies to thumbnails as well! This means that you shouldn’t use images that show a lot of text. You can easily pick the frame from which the thumbnail is taken by going into the settings when editing a template.

Watch the speed

Different layouts require different speeds of the video. You want to have just the right flow - not too slow, but also not too fast. We are attuned to different tempos on desktop and different mobile placements. And finally older audiences need to take it a tad slower than the teenagers. There is no single answer to how long should one cut last and you should consider testing the speed as well.

Testing different products

Getting the creative template right is just one part of the success. People need to be interested in the products you are offering. The ability to promote any product from your catalog is the biggest reason to use video templates in the first place. Never settle only for the products you personally think will be working well. Don’t be afraid to take risks, you never know what trend you will uncover. In our experience, campaigns with multiple versions of the same creative fare 40% better than campaigns with just one version of the ad.

Connect your Google Analytics account and tap into the product insights to understand what products are currently in demand. Test different strategies for picking the right products. You can look for best selling or most engaging products.You can pick products based on their search volume, find trending products or select new products which don’t have much history yet.

When testing products, always take into account the audience of the ad sets, where you will place the new ads. Even if you are targeting broad, think about the audience to which the existing ads are being served. Try to pick products in a similar category, so you don’t throw off the algorithm. If you have an ad set which is currently successful at pushing football trainers, don’t switch to hiking boots all of a sudden. The algorithm will have a momentum towards targeting football players and readjustment would be too costly. However switching to football jerseys might work just fine for that audience!

Don’t forget to play with the order of the products and images. It is always good to remind yourself that the first few seconds matter the most. Having the must-have product in the first place will do wonders to your performance.

Single vs. Multiple products

Most of the templates in our library are created to accept multiple products. But that’s not always the best way. You should take advantage of all kinds of assets you have for your products. For example, if you have “in action” photos of a particularly popular product, it makes sense to keep the focus on that single product, to really make it stand out. You should definitely try both approaches to see where your strength really is.

Don’t forget that colours and fonts matter

This sounds more like a cliché, but you should really test out different colour variants. The green or red button? Light vs dark background? Gradients or solids? There are millions of colours on our devices, so there is probably always a better option somewhere in the pallette. Same thing with the fonts. If your brand guidelines allow it, try different fonts to see what makes the biggest impact. Try previewing the videos on your phone, so you make sure that everything is legible on the small screen as well!

Don’t worry if all this feels a little too much to figure out. Our goal was to make you think outside of the box when finding the secret sauce of your video ads. As long as you will keep trying out different things slowly, you will find it. Remember that practice makes perfect! Just start with one video that feels right to you and start making small changes regularly. You will converge to a winning formula sooner or later!

Don’t hesitate to ask us for help when you are in doubt or to share your success with us! Good luck!

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