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Your Guide to Creating and Optimizing Facebook Video Ads Everything from target audiences to testing.

By Torrey Tayenaka Edited by Anna Wahrman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

NurPhoto | Getty Images

Facebook marketing remains an effective, dynamic platform for advertisers because of its reach and scale. The expense is reasonable, allowing small businesses the chance to draw from a customer base they would never have the opportunity to sell their products to otherwise.

Of the almost 70 percent of U.S. adults on Facebook, nearly three-quarters log on at least once a day, and half of those daily users visit the social media giant multiple times a day from their laptops and mobile phones. Facebook's video numbers are astounding:

  • 4 billion video views every day;
  • 100 million hours of video viewed by 500 million viewers every day;
  • 65% of video views on Facebook are played on mobile devices;
  • 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound.

Related: How to Create Killer Facebook Video Ads

Types and targets for video ads on Facebook

Facebook video ads can build brand awareness, generate web traffic, and hopefully increase your revenue. The primary ad, or hero ad, is the main sales video used to drive traffic to your website or specific landing page. From there, you can also serve ads specifically to people who watch the primary ad but fail to click through to your site, as well as those who click through but do not make a purchase or fulfill other conversion criteria.

Facebook has created and refined a targeting system that will pinpoint who and where your ads will reach. The more specific you can get in determining target audience clusters, the more effective your video campaign ads will be in reaching potential customers. Some of the targeting factors are age, gender, location, language and many others.

The more information you can collect and apply, the better you will be able to target your video ads to the consumers who are most likely to make a purchase or use your service. Ideally, you have this information from information about your past customers or will have done industry research.

You can also use a "lookalike audience," which is an audience that Facebook creates for you based on who is likely to be interested in your business because they are similar to your existing customers or website visitors.

Related: 4 Tips to Create and Groom a Viral Facebook Video Ad

Do your research

One effective method for compiling useful data on your target customers is to research the hard data you can find in your product or service review entries. If your business is running short on reviews, look at your competitors' reviews to get an idea of the kinds of keywords and focus phrases you can use to get started.

As you go through your own reviews or that of your competitors, make a list of the most frequently used phrases or concepts that people focus on, both positive and negative. Use the most mentioned phrases in the copy that accompanies the video.

Speaking of competitors, one of the best ways to know what you should and shouldn't be doing is to research your competition. Note the companies that provide that same products or services in the same or similar industry as you by examining their strengths and weaknesses. Look at their reviews to see what other people are saying about them and the way they conduct business.

Once you have a comprehensive study of several of your competitors you can compare and contrast them to your business to figure out your competitive advantages and how you use them to get a leg up in the market. Seek out competitors who are already running Facebook video ads to learn what is working for them. There is a simple process to find ads that your competition is running on Facebook: Go to the business's Page, select "Page Transparency" then "Go to Ad Library." Pay special attention to the messages they are presenting and how. Think about ways you can improve on their concepts and execution. Scroll through the comments section of each video ad to see direct feedback to their ads. Take notes on constructive criticism and honest reactions to apply them to your video production efforts.

Related: Why Facebook Says Your Video Ads Should Be Silent

Structuring your Facebook video ad

There are no hard rules for how to structure your Facebook video ad, but the following elements are generally considered an effective way to quickly and clearly get your message across.

Hook: Attention spans for Facebook videos are very short, and users are on Facebook to enjoy their feed and be entertained. You need to grab viewers' attention within the first couple of seconds or they will scroll away to the next video.

Introduce the problem: Explain the problem you have the capacity to solve in a clear, concise, compelling manner. Make the viewer feel the pain or whatever problem it is you're presenting—they may not even know they are experiencing it.

Present your solution: Present your product or service in a quick, dynamic manner. Offering a solution to the problem you have presented is really about showcasing your product or service for the first time. The goal is to create an "aha!" moment that will drive them to your conversion point, whether it is a sale, booking an appointment or filling out a contact information form.

Call to action: Whether you want viewers to go to your website, fill out a form or make a purchase, tell them clearly how to do whatever it is you want them to. This can be anything from "Shop now" to "Buy tickets" to "Find out more."

Establish authority: Cover any possible doubts or concerns consumers may have about your product or service. Establish that you are the authority on the subject and that you have the best solution to the problem being presented.

Conclusion with second call to action: As you wrap up by leaving the best possible impression about your company and the services you provide, make sure to get one more call to action.

Related: 17 Ways to Get More Views, Engagement and Shares on Your Facebook Videos

Tips for success

  • Have brainstorming sessions with your team (or spouse, kids, etc.) to flesh out ideas for your video ad. Test out a few variations of different ads. Run a test with people who Like your Page as well as people who do not know about your company or its services. Ask them for their genuine reaction and get specific about what they did and did not like.
  • Even the best and most effective presentations of problems and your solutions will not do any good if viewers do not stick around to see them. A good, compelling, entertaining hook can make or break a Facebook video ad. It is essential to start the video with an eye-catching, intriguing hook that will keep viewers engaged and interested without being condescending or tricky. Keep it relevant to the information you are providing and make sure it flows organically to the rest of the video content.
  • If you examine closely the stats I shared in the first section, you will see two points in particular about devices and sound settings. This should be a part your strategy for reaching Facebook users effectively. Since most videos on Facebook are viewed with the sound off, it is crucial that video be clear and understandable based on the imagery alone. Use big, bold visuals to attract and keep attention. Add subtitles to keep the viewers' attention. Overall, keep it short.

Torrey Tayenaka

CEO of Sparkhouse

Torrey Tayenaka founded his first production startup in high school. Today, he is CEO of Sparkhouse, focusing on high-concept, branded video production.

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