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9 Tips for Better Facebook Video Ads

This article was originally published on Social  Media Examiner.

Are you creating video ads for Facebook?

Wondering how you can make stronger video ads?

Whether you’re working with promoted video posts or videos uploaded as ads, paying attention to the details can improve the impact of your content.

In this article, you’ll discover nine ways to improve your Facebook video ads.

Related Article: Video Creation Tools for Creating Fabulous Social Media Content

Why Video Ads?

While video gets three times the engagement of other content, it’s largely underutilized. According to a Buffer study, of the seven Facebook posts that brands share per week, 80% are links, 19% are photos, and less than 1% are videos.

Because video ads get so much visibility, marketers not only need to publish them more, but also do them better. In the Internet Trends Report 2016, Mary Meeker states that many online ads are ineffective, especially videos. “If there’s ever been a call to arms to create better ads, this is it,” she says.

Remember, only a video created as a Facebook ad can include the link to a call to action.

#1: Focus on Quality From the First Frame

Since videos on the desktop and mobile news feed autoplay, you have 3 seconds to convince users to watch your video. You don’t need a long intro or animated logo. You want to engage people immediately.

Fitness expert Natalie Jill created a 43-second montage that captures the audience’s attention in the first few frames. Sound is optional (since it’s background music), and there is minimal text. She’s promoting a 30-day series of fitness videos, and this video is indicative of what users get when they opt in.

Natalie Jill Facebook video

Natalie Jill’s video ad captures attention from the start.

Get your viewers invested in your content immediately. Show who you are and what you do visually, concisely, and from the get-go.

#2: Include a Compelling Offer

There’s no point in doing an ad if there’s no compelling offer for your call to action.

In this video for EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey entices employers with a solution to their company’s gossip problem. What business owner wouldn’t click?


Include a compelling offer so viewers respond to your call to action.

Create an offer your target audience can’t resist. Then be clear and succinct with the text. Don’t forget to track the links using UTM codes or another system so you know whether your video is effective.

#3: Show Your Personality

Video gives your audience a glimpse into who you are, so show them!

Les Brown is a motivational speaker who has embraced video ads. He has an inviting profile picture and is fun on camera. People feel like they’re guests at his personal party. He also talks in the first person in the video description, speaking directly to his audience.

Les Brown Facebook video

Les Brown invites viewers into his world with his personality.

When you record your video, be excited and enthusiastic about your topic. It will show through and engage your viewers.

Related Article: 12 Facebook Marketing Tools to Increase Your Reach and Engagement

#4: Add Captions to Your Videos

As previously mentioned, Facebook autoplays videos in the news feed. Add captions so your videos can be consumed with the sound off.

Facebook adds captions to your video ads automatically. Just click Add Captions when you’re ready to promote them.

video captions facebook

Facebook gives you the option to generate captions automatically on video ads.

However, if you upload your video as an organic wall post, you need to add the captions yourself. One way to get the text for your video is to use a transcription service such as

Alternatively, you can upload your file to YouTube and get an SRT (SubRip Text) file. Because the process is automated (and not 100% accurate), you’ll need to read and edit the transcription.

To get YouTube captions, upload your video to YouTube. Depending on the length of your video, you may need to wait a bit for the captions to auto-populate. Once they’re ready, go to the video player and click the CC icon in the list of tools under your video.

This takes you to the Subtitles & CC section. Select the default language.

On the next screen, click the Edit button. Play the video and click on the sections of captioning you need to revise.

how to add captions on YouTube

Click in each section you need to update.

Click in any caption segment to replay any part of the video. You can choose to automatically pause the video when typing. When you’re finished editing, click the Publish Edits button to save your work.

Next, download your file. Click on the new captions language to the right of your video (not the one listed as Automatic). On the next screen, look for the Actions drop-down menu at the top of the Captions section, and select .srt under Download.

Rename the file per Facebook’s syntax: “” (“en” is the two-letter language code and “US” is the two-letter country code.)

Now, go to your Facebook video and click the gray arrow at the top right of the post. Choose Edit Post, go to the Captions tab, and click Upload SRT file. Upload your file and click Save.

Upload captions for Facebook video

After you rename the .srt file per Facebook syntax, edit your video and upload your captions.

Facebook’s news feed is designed to be viewed with the sound off. Make your videos understandable and graphically enhanced so users will be able to watch anything you post without the need to hear it.

Ideally, your videos should grab your audience’s attention within the first few seconds when watching with the sound off. They will then feel compelled to enable sound.

#5: Connect on a Personal Level

People make connections with people, not businesses. Create videos that show you’re relatable.

Flixel is a tool for creating cinemagraphs, which are living photos (Flixel animates a part of a video clip). The company’s video ad shares the story of how the tool got started and the names and faces behind the app. Plus it demonstrates how the tool works. By doing this, Flixel humanizes the brand and makes a personal connection with the audience.

Flixel Facebook video cinemagraph

Give your audience a behind-the-scenes view of you and your product or business.

Think about how you can tell your business’s story in an informal, yet authoritative, way. Plus look for creative ways you can both stand out in the news feed and relate more deeply with your audience, such as using cinemagraphs.

When you appear on camera, first and foremost, be yourself. Also, do the recording somewhere you feel comfortable, since that will make you feel relaxed and genuine too.

#6: Use Headlines to Create Curiosity

The viewer’s eye takes in the movement of the video, but a compelling headline is what makes it hit home.

Pique your viewers’ interest with a headline teaser so they can’t help but want to watch. Just be aware of Facebook’s newest news feed signal for reducing clickbait headlines.

Upside Travel captures the user with its header: “The Creator of Priceline Is About to Rock the World of Business Travel.” The implied exclusivity in the video (“Space is limited!”) also lends itself to a must-click scenario.


Draw in your viewer with a great headline.

Take the time to think through your headlines. Write something engaging and informative, because it will grab viewers’ attention in the feed.

Ideally, split-test multiple headlines in your ads so you can see which headlines get the best response.

#7: Add Lower-Third Highlights

Text on video helps you highlight salient points.

When you include lower thirds on your videos, viewers can consume your video content and grab the high points without watching the whole video or reading a detailed description or related post. Although it’s called “lower thirds,” you can place the text anywhere on your video.

Mari Smith shares how to add text to videos

Emphasize key points by adding text overlay to your videos.

Use your favorite video editing program (even iMovie or Movie Maker) to add text to your videos. In the example above, I used ScreenFlow to add an overlay to one of my videos.

#8: Write an Informative Description

Part of being an expert is sharing lots of information.

Zhena Muzyka is the founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, and author of Life by the Cup. Her description in this example is an extensive supplement to her video. Zhena also includes testimonials and she repeats the call to action and link several times, much like in a sales page or email offer.

Zhena Facebook ad

It’s okay to have a lot of text in your video description.

Don’t be shy about adding text to your video description. Say whatever you feel you need to supplement and support your video.

Some studies show that short narrative performs best for Facebook posts. I tend to write rather lengthy descriptions on my Facebook posts and over the years, my audience has come to know that my posts are informative in this way.

Related Article: How Companies are Succeeding with Video on Facebook

#9: Provide Value

If you’re doing a demo, make sure it’s understandable, so purchasers of your product know what to do from the start.

In this video, I go through what users need to do to review their Facebook pages after the recent page design update. Note: This is another example of an extensive description, as I highlight the salient points from the video in the text.


Make sure your video contains useful information.

When showing your audience how to do something, include step-by-step instructions and be as clear as possible.

If you’re sharing your screen, be sure to record using a trusted screen capture tool. You could also broadcast via the Facebook Live API using a third-party tool such as Telestream Wirecast or OBS Studio, and share your screen. Then once the broadcast ends, turn your live video into an ad.

Another way to be valuable is to share other uses for your products or special tips. Your viewers will feel special for knowing about your insider hacks.

In Conclusion

The examples above put multiple best practices in place.

This video from brain science expert John Assaraf actually has all of the elements, from engaging, authentic content to a detailed description. Plus, because his video has captions and lower thirds, his info is understandable for anyone who’s watching without audio. John also includes a compelling call to action and with Facebook’s video ad tool, he can include an actual CTA button.

John Assaraf Facebook video

Put as many best practices into each video as you can.

The more best practices you’re able to incorporate into your video ads, the better. Take time to brainstorm ideas, record, and add the technical elements (captions, text graphics, etc.).

You never know which of your videos will take off, so any videos you share should be worthy of boosting. You don’t need to promote all of your video posts, but you should make sure they’re all positioned for success.

What do you think? Do you create and share Facebook video ads? Which factors increase exposure and engagement for your videos? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments.

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. Anni Vaino on November 7, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Great article and gave me good information on how the video creation tools work. Also, I have always had trouble with using hashtags so the article as well was very useful. Thanks!

  2. Judy Caroll on October 16, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Of course, Facebook is one of the largest and popular social media sites in the world. Putting some extra efforts here for your video marketing campaign is a great opportunity to reach millions of individuals across the globe.

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