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The 3-Step Formula for Successful Facebook Video Ads Follow these three steps for creating video ads that turn prospects into customers.

By Perry Marshall

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Sally Anscombe | Getty Images

The following excerpt is from Perry Marshall, Keith Krance and Thomas Meloche's book Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

When we create Facebook video ads for clients, we follow this three-step formula:

1. Stop the scroll

This goal is clear. Facebook autoplaying the audio as well as the video when a user opens their news feed provides a huge opportunity, but it's only an opportunity. It's not a guarantee of anything because while you can easily grab a viewer's attention, they can just as easily snatch it back. Those first three to 10 seconds are vital, then, especially when the video appears as an ad in a news feed. There are some pretty simple things that you can do to halt the scroll.

One strategy that we use is blatant hand motions. It's a direct appeal, and it can be a bit annoying, but it does still work. Give the viewer a wave. Pull them toward you in the same way that a good store demonstrator will pull passers-by into their display. Attract attention before the crowd scrolls past. It's not subtle but sometimes, simple and bold are enough to do the job.

Another strategy that we've found to be very effective is text overlay. Facebook now allows advertisers to automatically add subtitles to their video ads. If people have turned the sound off on their phone, they'll still be able to see your message. As soon as they see the text, they'll start to read it. It pulls them in and draws their attention. You'll be able to prove that you've got something they should see before their thumb starts to move.

The third thing to do is use a "pattern-interrupt." That just means we try to break up the visuals. It's the same principle that makes warning signs red and pedestrian crossings black and white. If you can break up the picture so that it looks unusual, it will always attract attention.

You don't have to do anything outrageous here. Movement can be enough to keep eyeballs on that part of the screen. A very close close-up can be unusual enough to break the routine and make the video stand out against the background of other content. Video ads that look like selfies can create pattern interrupt, too, and they look authentic and real.

Related: 14 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Page Engagement

2. Use the EDIE formula

Once we've settled on a way to grab attention in the opening seconds, we apply our EDIE formula. EDIE stands for Educate, Demonstrate, Inform, or Entertain.


The Educate approach is about giving people tips. You don't have to be on camera to educate -- you can do a Power Point or Keynote presentation while recording your computer screen, and you have a great video. If you want them to register for a webinar, you can tell them they'll find more once they complete your call to action. If you give them value, they'll share it. If you give them at least one "Aha!" moment, one nugget of advice that makes them realize the value of what you're offering, they'll obey that call to action.


Demonstrate works great for technology brands. We all love to see gadgets, and we love to see them work. Video ads for drones and software and other tech items are always eye-catching. You only need to show the product in action to make the viewer want to see more and want to get their own hands on the product.

Related: Top Tips to Create Facebook Videos to Market Your Business (Infographic)


Inform goes further than Educate. Instead of delivering a skill to the viewer, it gives them information they didn't know before. It's particularly useful when the product requires little education to use but has a variety of features that people should know about. For example, we work with a fitness brand that sells an organic, natural, plant-based, power food. They created a video that informs you about 11 amazing super foods and what they do for your body -- then transitions into how their product has all 11 superfoods in the ingredients. The video went directly to a sales pitch, and it worked great.


There are all sorts of levels of "entertaining" videos. One company that makes really entertaining videos is Dollar Beard Club. Those ads from The Dollar Beard Club pitch the simplest product in the simplest possible way. The company's first big hit was the company's founder Chris Stoikos basically doing a parody of a Dollar Shave Club video.

This video cost them just over $700 to produce but has generated millions of dollars in sales. They put all their initial energy and investments into the creativity -- and it paid off in a big way.

3. Call to action

We find that many clients forget about the call to action. Once you've built up interest, you should tell viewers what to do next. Whether your call to action is loud or subtle, urgent or calm, it should suit your brand, your product, and the action you want viewers to take. But, it should be there -- and it might even need to be there several times.

Sometimes brands will make a video ad that lasts five or six minutes, but they won't give a call to action until the very end. It's as though they're embarrassed to guide viewers in the direction they want them to go. They're afraid that if they include a call to action earlier, they'll put people off watching.

Related: 10 Hidden Facebook Marketing Hacks You Can Try Today

But, only a portion of the audience will watch a video all the way through. So only a portion of the audience will see a call to action that comes at the end of a long video.

In a nine-minute video I might make about four calls to action. They won't necessarily be hard sales -- they'll be natural and authentic. But, the clearer you can lay out the path, the more likely people are to follow it.

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Perry Marshall

Author, Sales and Traffic Expert, CEO and Founder of Perry S. Marshall & Associates

Perry Marshall is the president of Perry S. Marshall & Associates, a Chicago-based company that consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales leads, web traffic and maximizing advertising results. He has written seven books including his most recent, 80/20 Sales and Marketing (Entrepreneur Press, 2013), Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising (Enterpreneur Press, 2014), Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords (Entrepreneur Press, 2014), and Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing (Entrepreneur Press, 2016). He blogs at perrymarshall.com.

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