Facebook Ads: 6 Creative Best Practices

Episode 12

Facebook Ads: 6 Creative Best Practices

Generating results on Facebook depends on various factors. But we can all agree on one thing – it's hard to generate sales from your ads if no one clicks on them! Joelle Grondin, Art Director at J7 Media, will share with us today key tips you should follow when creating videos for Facebook.

  1. Keep it short
  2. Use the right formats
  3. Identify the brand quickly
  4. Make the product the focal point of your video
  5. Draw attention quickly

6/ Use sound to your advantage

Happy listening!

Here's the link to download the guide : https://bit.ly/2CoMkvI






(Antoine) My name is Antoine Gagnéand on J7 Media’s behalf, I'm very happy that you joined us today for a new episode of Social Selling.

Generating results on Facebook can come from various factors, but we can all agree on one thing. It will be hard to generate sales with your ad if no one clicks on it. Joelle Grondin, Art Director at J7 Media will share with you the six best practices that you need to follow when you create videos on the platform. Joelle,welcome to Social Selling.

(Joelle) Thanks for having me. 

(Antoine) Our creative team at J7 Media has the opportunity to be trained by Facebook itself every month. And I think that one of the trainings that you and your team had has been a game changer for your creation process. Am I right?

(Joelle) Exactly. A few months ago, Facebook offered our creative team a complete training session to bring us up to speed with industry's best practices, because as we know, right after strategy, good creatives are essential for successful ads. A study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions that Facebook shared with us showed that 56% of the increase in sales through digital marketing was because of high quality creatives. That’s a lot!

So, one of the important things to know is that the arrival of mobile has changed practices, one reason being that our attention span when we’re on our phones is greatly diminished. A Facebook study showed that users on their phones spend, on average, 1.7 seconds with a piece of content. So you don't have the luxury of time anymore. 1.7 seconds! That's nothing. 

But luckily, developments and changes are not always to the detriment of marketers. So the production of ads has never been more accessible. And today I'll share six best practices that Facebook shared with us for creating videos that sell on Facebook and Instagram. 

(Antoine) Cool. I'm excited to know these six practices because I think the people who are listening to this podcast, Social selling – a lot of them are running ads for e-commerce, as an agency,  or maybe as a freelancer. So, I think it will be very valuable.

Question for you Joelle: Do you think that we have resources that after that we can put in our notes for people who were listening today?

(Joelle) Yes, of course, I do have. I cannot share the exact presentation that Facebook showed us because it’s partners only. But, we do have multiple articles and blogs. And I think I do have a PDF that is public that Facebook shared on their business website. And so that's something that we can share. And a lot of the information I'm going to share today is explained in more detail in those articles.

(Antoine) Perfect. So let's jump right into it. What is your first best practice? 

(Joelle) Yeah, first step is: keep it short. This is a recommendation from Facebook from 2018, but it remains pertinent and true.We’ve seen it again and again – short videos of maximum 15 seconds bring our campaigns better results. It’s also interesting to test out 5 or 6 second videos, which are really more like ‘GIFs’ or ‘GIFS,’ depending on where you stand on that. So, it's more like a gif than a video.

But according to a Facebook study, adding just a bit of animation to a static image can potentially generate a 22% increase in sales. So, it's definitely worth trying! Just adding a bit of animation to that static image, making it into a five second video...that could be very interesting. Naturally, you can’t transmit the same amount of information in the 15 second video as you could in the one minute spot like we see on TV. So if you have multiple selling points, what we recommend is simply to create more videos, each video with one selling point, and then they can be all part of the same ad set.

(Antoine) Yeah, and I think it's important to keep in mind it's not something that we necessarily thought was true in the past. But I can confirm it right now with all the different tests and the different ads that we're running for our clients at J7 Media. 15 second videos, and like you said, even less sometimes, are something that works tremendously – way more than long videos. So doing short videos with everything that you want to show in maybe the first three seconds is clearly, clearly something that people need to implement very, very soon. 

(Joelle) Yeah. And what we've also seen is people don't watch the entire video. So when you make it shorter, you're sure that people will get the entirety of your content, which might not happen with a 30-second video.

(Antoine) Yep.

(Joelle) My second tip is use the right formats. One of the areas where mobile has changed habits the most is at the level of ad formats. 

Nobody would have thought in like 2003, that it would have been a great idea to create a vertical video in the 9:16 ratio. Nobody would have thought that. It was really not a thing. So for direct marketing, using the full length of the screen as much as you can is a fundamental thing. Everyone holds their phone up vertically. Square videos become an interesting option. One of the reasons being that you can easily use this video for desktop as well. On the other hand, the traditional 16:9, which is like the size of your TV, is too small when presented on a phone screen. So, if you have a TV ad that you want to use as a Facebook ad, I would highly recommend considering reformatting it to make it work for social media. 

Here are some formats that you can use: 4:5 ratio for an Instagram ad, a 2:3 ratio for the Facebook feed, 9:16 for your stories, or square videos, which you can use everywhere. Those are very versatile. It's not what's most recommended, but it's what we do use and see great results. So you can just play around and test different things. And I think that you will find what works best for your business and your clients.

(Antoine) Yeah. And it's important to know these ratios because if, at some point, you have the chance and I recommend that you do it, you do the Facebook blueprint exams, all the things that we're talking [about] today; the ratios, creating 15 second videos, and all the other points that you're going to tell us after – all the things that you need to know by heart. So, I think even for your own knowledge or if you want to pass these Facebook blueprint exams that are very important to pass at some point, knowing this is very valuable.

(Joelle) And my third tip is identifying the brand quickly, whether it's through a logo, a spokesperson associated with your brand, your brand color, or your products, making one or more of these elements visible in the first three second is directly associated with better results.

(Antoine) I think it was the opposite when people were doing creative commercials on TV, right? You don't put the brand first.

(Joelle) Yeah, exactly. You’re ahead of me (both laugh). It’s coming up in one of my later points. 

My fourth tip is to make a product the focal point of your video. So throughout the video, but especially in the beginning, as I just said, you need to promote your product and  since we don't have the luxury of time, you need to make it front and center. The thing that we see the most is what you're selling. If you sell a product that comes in several colors, we want to see them. If you have a TV format or a 16:9 ratio, edit the image so that your product is the focal point. You can integrate, like, step-by-step images that demonstrate how to use a product or images of real people using it. Your product is the star of the show. You don't really have time to show anything else anyways if you're doing like a 15 second spot. So at this point, just show it all throughout the video. That's just better.

(Antoine) Yeah, very cool. 

(Joelle) And my fifth tip is draw attention quickly. As we said before, the first three seconds are very important. If people are not watching your videos for a very long time, you need to – and if they scroll very quickly – you need to catch their eye very, very quickly. So you want to include rapid movement at the very first second of the video. 

And seeing as the first two seconds are extremely important, the best way to use them is to flip the script, as you said a little earlier. In TV ads, there's usually like a build up moving up to a big promotion. But in the context of social media ads, customers aren't captivated by your ads. They're not like when you're sitting in front of your TV, you're kind of a prisoner of the ads. But on your phone, if you're not interested, you simply scroll past or skip that story. So you have to throw out your biggest selling point right at the beginning of the video and then add details as to why that person should convert. 

Here are some other ideas for drawing attention: you can use vibrant or contrasting colors, ‘thumbstopping’ visuals that intrigue or pander, images with eye-catching copy, making it even easier to convey a message without sound or, as I said before, rapid movement.

(Antoine) Clearly.

(Joelle) Yeah, and my last point comes a little bit with those ideas.

My sixth point is: use sound to your advantage. We noted that the majority of ads on Facebook are seen without sound, so sound does become, like, a little bit secondary. But if a video contains speech, it’s absolutely necessary that people are able to know what is being said. For that reason, it's a best practice to integrate subtitles either directly on Facebook or into your video. It's also just a good practice for making videos more accessible to people who are hard of hearing.

But, a very interesting thing is that 60% of stories are watched with sound. You can neglect it a little bit for Facebook ads, but for stories it really is important. In the US, a meta analysis showed that Instagram stories ads that have sound are perceived as more interesting than those that didn't.

(Antoine) I think everything comes back to context at some point, right? Because, yeah, Facebook itself is not only a standalone platform anymore. They have – you know, for people who are running ads – we all know that Facebook clearly is a platform, but they also own Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and the audiences work to some extent. So clearly, there are so many different places where your ads will be shown that you need to put context to your creation, right?

It's not only a video that appears on Facebook anymore, and that's a thing that people need to think about. 

And it's very interesting when you're talking about sound, because it's not something that I knew that 60% of stories are watched with sound. But it changes completely the way you're going to create your stories compared to your 15 second video that you're going to show on your news feed, right? 

(Joelle) Yeah, exactly. And I feel like knowing where this ad would be shown will change completely how you plan it, how you create it, what type of format you're going to use.  And I feel like using everything to your advantage, which is something that we're going to speak a little bit more of in our next episode, is so important. And exactly – context is everything.

(Antoine) And you have another point. I thought you only had six points. 

(Joelle) Yeah. So, I decided to add a little bonus for our audience today. I know that we talked a lot about video – I mean, it's the subject of this podcast – but I’d like to leave people with a bonus tip, which is provoke and promote. 

If your video is important, so is the copywriting that accompanies your ad. This is so, so important. We could do several whole episodes concerning only copywriting.But here's a little nugget of advice: asking questions, highlighting a promotion, and above all, keeping your copy below two hundred and eighty characters is associated with increased results. So, those are things that I highly encourage you to try in your copywriting and [they] could bring you better results in your sales.

(Antoine) You know, you need to convince people directly on the news feed that your product is better. So you need a lot of characters to make sure that people get convinced. On the flip side, when you're selling, I don’t know, a $30 product, automatically, the creative itself will do the job and maybe the copy will just be one line. As simple as that.

So again, go back to the product that you sell, put context to your creation and from there everything will fall in line, because it's not true that only one tactic can work for different industries. It's always important to go back to what you are selling first. And most of the best practices that Facebook gives are related to e-commerce, so it's important to keep that in mind if you're creating ads today.

(Joelle) Yeah. And let’s say you have a higher priced product, but maybe you [also] have this smaller, like, entry level product that people buy before they buy the big one. Or maybe you have a lead magnet, and maybe that's somewhere where trying a shorter copywriting can be interesting. And then people know a bit about you, and then one day [when they] see that longer text, they're already interested in your company and so they will take the time to read it. They've been introduced to you. So, that's an interesting thing to try. 

And like we said – I'm not saying that all of those tips are very hard rules to follow and you should never break them. What I think is important here is [that] you try it. Those are best practices. Especially, like, the length of the video – it’s something that we know works very well. But sometimes having like a forty five second ad will work as well. It's not like it's black or white.

(Antoine) Yeah, exactly. It always depends on what you sell. And from there, you said it - test it. Test it as much as you can and see what kind of results you're getting from there. 

(Joelle) Exactly.

(Antoine) Okay, Joelle. Thanks a lot for your time today. Again, I think, we'll put different notes, different content, let's say, in the podcast notes. 

And for the people who are listening today, see you soon for a new episode of Social Selling.