Best Practices for Creating Auto-Play Video Ads on Facebook Image

Over the past few months, Facebook has gradually introduced members and businesses to its new auto-play video ad unit. Officially announced in March, these premium video ads are designed to play automatically as members scroll through News Feed for 15 seconds without sound.

That same month, more advertisers were given access to the ad unit. As the social network inches closer to a wider rollout, advertisers are understandably eager to take advantage. Although premium video ads are still limited, now is the perfect time to begin brainstorming and prepping for Facebook’s review process.

Here are some best practices to consider when crafting your auto-play video ad campaigns. And don’t forget to take a look at the past year’s top-performing branded videos and samples of non-invasive video ads before you start filming.

Don’t Recycle Content

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While there’s definitely a time and place for cross-posting your content, we don’t recommend repurposing videos that people have already seen elsewhere. Keep in mind that anyone who doesn’t want to see your ad can just scroll past it in News Feed. Because of that, you’ll want to ensure that the video you paid to promote is something that people can’t find anywhere else — at least initially.

By this, we mean Facebook auto-play video ads should be reserved for sharing exclusive content. Once the ad has run its course, you can feel free to republish it on other platforms. But as long as it’s running on Facebook, make sure that that’s the only place people can find something like it. For example, if you’re promoting a trailer for a movie like Lionsgate did for “Divergent,” then it should either be the first trailer or one with exclusive scenes from the movie that can’t be found in other existing trailers.

Do Keep Videos Short

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If you must repurpose content, keep it short. Remember that you only have 15 seconds to work with. So rather than tackling a variety of subjects, focus instead on a singular topic and one that will grab viewers’ attention right away — or risk them scrolling away. Consider the most recent auto-play video ad from Dove.

In the first video ad from a consumer packaged-goods brand, the company used a shorter version of this video. If you’re going to reuse content, this is a solid choice because Dove’s content in particular does a great job focusing on the bigger picture. Instead of selling soap, this video sells the viewer an experience. It’s difficult to do in 15 seconds, but achievable, and this video by Dove is the perfect example.

Don’t Rely on Sound

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What makes some of Dove’s video content so wonderful though is the audio that accompanies it, whether it be a song or testimonials from customers. Because premium video ads won’t have sound by default (it can be turned on by each viewer), the purpose or success of your video can’t rely on audio.

This is what makes TV show and movie trailers such a popular option for this ad unit. Following the “Divergent” trailer, NBC followed suit by launching auto-play video campaigns to promote “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Night Shift,” and “Undateable.” While sound can certainly add to the experience, it’s not necessary for people to understand what’s happening on screen.

Do Have Additional Videos Ready

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Once you’ve chosen a topic, recorded your video, and purchased the ad unit, the last thing you want to make sure of is that you have additional video content available and ready. A nice thing about this particular ad unit is that after viewers watch an auto-play video ad, they’ll see options to view additional videos from your brand. This allows them to dig even deeper into your content.

But if you don’t have more content available, there’s potential you’ll miss out on a big opportunity. If you’re using a shorter version of an existing video, make sure that video is accessible from your Facebook Page. Additionally, if you have other trailers or tutorials those should also be added to your Page. These videos can be longer in length — think of the auto-play ad as a teaser for something bigger.

Although premium video ads are still limited to a select group of advertisers, there’s no harm is planning ahead. Plus, since videos uploaded to Facebook are already turning into ads, you don’t have to wait for access to the auto-play ad unit to begin incorporating these best practices.

[Image credit: James Wang, numb3r, Daniel Gies, Tim Suess]