How Facebook Video Advertisements Work

With over 2 billion active users, and more than 100 million hours of video content being watched daily, video advertising on Facebook may seem like a slam dunk marketing move, but with whispers of Facebook advertising prices rising, is it still a cost-effective option?

More importantly, does Facebook video advertising really work? And, do you need facebook advertising experts or s video marketing agency to help you?

Facebook logo from Video Outcomes Melbourne based Facebook marketing specialists

What is a Facebook Video Advertisement?

Just like traditional Facebook promoted posts, Facebook video advertisements are paid placements visible to users at various points of their online experience, featuring promotional video content created by your brand. 

Your Facebook video advertisement can be highlighted in a few different places within the platform:

  • In-feed advertisements are a very popular option, as at first glance they look like any other post in the newsfeed and may not be immediately identified as an advertisement. These options are simply placed in the newsfeed as users scroll through the posts from people and pages they follow.
  • Marketplace video ads are another option that can appear more organic than a traditional marketing post. These videos will appear while a user is browsing posts in Facebook marketplace, which can be ideal as the viewer is already in a purchasing mindset.
  • In-stream video ads appear in the middle of another video a user is watching, similar to a commercial. Users must watch 15 seconds of an in-stream ad, after which they can either watch the rest of the advertisement, or choose to skip it and return to their original video.
  • Video feed ads appear in between organic videos when a user is on their Facebook video feed. This feed has a scroll function, and after a predetermined number of organic videos from people and pages the user follows, a video advertisement will play.
  • Stories ads are a newer option where vertical, full screen video advertisements play between organic stories, meaning that while a user is clicking through the ‘stories’ feature to see what the friends and pages they follow have posted, they will also see story ads.

The freedom to choose the right advertisement placement for your video is one advantage of utilising Facebook for your marketing outreach, allowing a certain level of control in your campaign you may not find elsewhere.

If you’re looking for information on clicks, impressions and conversions for your Facebook ads campaign here’s an article discussing what metrics are important for monitoring your facebook advertising campaign.

Previous Facebook video controversy

Some potential investors might be wary of investing in Facebook video advertising, based on a class action lawsuit previously filed against Facebook by advertisers in the reasonably recent past. These advertisers alleged that they purchased ad placements based on wildly overstated video metrics provided by Facebook in 2016.

While it’s true and Facebook had admitted to inadvertently inflating figures relating to how long users spent watching videos in 2016, the class action lawsuit was settled privately in 2019. Facebook now works with third party measurements companies to ensure their current statistics are reliable, and they have also agreed to regular audits by the Media Rating Council, meaning potential advertisers can be confident that Facebooks current video metrics are accurate.

The biggest indication that Facebook has regained market trust is that in 2018, Facebook acquired 24.5% of all video advertising spending in the US. This was a $6.81 billion coup, and video advertising revenue on the platform is expected to reach almost $10 billion in 2021. (2)

It’s an admirable recovery, and Facebook is now recognised as a serious video advertising power player, as global investors flock to promote on the platform.

To learn more about what counts as a video view you can read our article on important Facebook conversion metrics.

How does Facebook video advertising compare to its competitors?

Facebook video advertising utilising a well thought out social media video production is a cost-effective option when compared to traditional video advertising platforms such as television or YouTube.

Although Facebook video advertising can be initially six times more expensive than a YouTube video placement, a recent study shows that Facebook provides a larger amount of impressions, and an overall cheaper cost per conversion than YouTube.

Television commercials have traditionally been the holy grail of video advertising, long considered the superior option to reach consumers, but undoubtedly an expensive choice.

In one sign of an impending digital upset, studies now show that modern marketers are reaching only twice the audience on television versus Facebook, but are spending up to 20 times more for the privilege. Even when it comes to an advertising giant like television, Facebook can provide a far lower cost per ‘user reached’.

Facebook is reporting a huge increase in how many users are viewing sponsored or branding videos during their time on the platform.

Brands are investing more resources into video advertising, resulting in higher quality, more engaging content, and users are noticing.

Between 2016 and 2017, views of branded video advertising on Facebook increased by an unprecedented 258%. In comparison, YouTube’s increase for the same metric was only 99%.

In direct comparison to its main competitors, Facebook provides consistently better value for the video advertising outcomes it offers.

How does Facebook video compare to image-based advertising?

Your initial impression of Facebook video advertising may be that it must be more expensive than image-based Facebook advertising. This is a common misconception.

At only around 10% of the cost of single image Facebook ad, Facebook video advertising is a certified bargain.

If you’re a sole trader or small business with a tight budget, creating a slideshow video of static images is cheaper than single image advertising, and is a great alternative until you can afford a good quality video advertisement.

Video advertisements on Facebook have a cheaper cost per click (CPC) rate than image-based advertising, due to the fact that they get a higher impression share than static images.

You may be wondering if the lower cost for Facebook video advertisements equates to a lower engagement rate, and the answer is no!

A recent study indicates that 60% of marketers believe Facebook video ads drive more engagement than their single image counterparts. 

User behaviour analysis carried out by Facebook found that users spend five times longer focusing on videos rather than static posts on the platform. This revelation has been key in developing additional video-based functions such as Facebook live videos and story posts. 

Example of Video Outcomes Digital Marketing campaign, Video Outcomes, a Melbourne based Digital Marketing Consultancy and advertising company specialising in Digital Marketing Services such as video production, social media advertising, Google Ads and SEO.

Does Facebook video advertising work?

Here we’ve arrived at the crux of the matter.

We now know that Facebook video advertising is a cost-effective option compared to other popular choices, and provides a level of user reach that rivals even the biggest of advertising strategies, but does it provide a successful return on investment (ROI)?

In a recent study, 89% of video marketers said that video advertising provides them with a good ROI, and 80% confirmed that video advertising had directly increased sales. The vast majority of video marketers (90%) also confirmed they were looking to maintain or expand their video spend for the following financial year.

By all major metrics – cost, engagement, reach and ROI – Facebook video advertising works.

In addition to these marketing benefits, utilising Facebook video advertisements can help your brand capitalise on the increasing popularity of in-app third party purchases.

In an increasingly online world where adults are spending significant amounts of time on social media, the retail environment is changing, and businesses need to adapt in order to remain competitive.

Whereas brick-and-mortar stores were previously the sole route for customers to purchase products, online shopping has opened up a new world of customer convenience. Some major platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have now integrated ‘buy’ buttons to certain pages on their sites, allowing consumers to make a purchase from a third-party advertiser without even leaving the app.

18.3% of US adults purchased a product through Facebook in the last year, and two thirds of Facebook users visit a local business page once a week or more.

By creating a solid Facebook presence for your brand, along with effective video advertising, you can ensure you’re giving consumers every opportunity to engage with your brand and purchase your products. The average Facebook user clicks on a Facebook ad 12 times per month, make sure your ad is one of them! 

How can I maximise the success of my video ads?

If you’re ready to invest a portion of your marketing budget into Facebook video ads, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the absolute most out of your hard-earned money. Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can use to maximise the success of your Facebook video ads.

  • Keep your initial message short and get to the point. The average Facebook video view time is 10 seconds, consider this when creating your content. If a user watches a video advertisement for at least 3 seconds, they are 65% more likely to watch for 10 seconds. 45% of viewers who watch the first 3 seconds of an ad are likely to stick around up to 30 seconds, although video advertisements longer than 15 seconds are more likely to be abandoned than smaller clips. If you’re creating video ads on the longer side, make sure they’re engaging from the start.
  • Feature your brand quickly. When a brand is featured in the first 3 seconds of a video advertisement, brand recall in viewers is 23% higher than for advertisements where the brand name was not mentioned at all. If a brand is featured at the 4 second mark or later, brand recall falls to 13%. Ensure your brand name is featured quickly in your video content.
  • Optimise your content for Facebook. When your video advertisement is optimised specifically for Facebook (for example being vertically filmed to better suit a mobile screen), brand awareness increases up to 67%. Vertically filmed content provides a more intuitive experience for viewers, and makes them less likely to abandon the video.
  • Provide video captions. Potentially due to users frequently browsing social media in public places, 85% of Facebook users only watch videos if the sound is turned off. Adding captions to your videos can increase viewing time by up to 12%, and some clients who utilise captions have reporting significant increases up to 25% in the amount of time users spent watching their video content. Facebook’s automated captioning tool is a convenient captioning option.

Take a look at our extended article on what to do with your video content once it’s finished here.

Mistakes to avoid

If you’re trying Facebook video advertising for the first time, it’s a good idea to find out what has and hasn’t worked for other marketers using the product.

All marketing strategies will require you to learn and adjust along the way. That said, we’ve collected some common mistakes you should avoid below, so you can get a head start on a successful campaign.

  • Never checking your metrics. As with any product you’re investing money into, hold it accountable and make sure it’s actually doing what you’re paying for. Periodically check in and view how much engagement your posts are getting, and how much extra traffic is being driven to your site. If you’re not seeing the results you want, check to see that you’re using all our tips to maximise the success of your video ads, and adjust accordingly.
  • Targeting everyone. Facebook video ads have some of the best demographic targeting options in the game. You can narrow the audience who see your ads based on location, age, gender, right down to specific interests and behaviours. It can be tempting to think that everyone will love your product, and while this might be true, make sure your first few ads are targeted at your core ideal customer base, to get the best impact for your campaign.
  • Using too much text. Aside from captioning, your branding, and any key words you want to stand out to your audience, your Facebook video advertisements should have minimal amounts of text. Let your visual content do the talking, and avoid overloading your viewers with walls of text they’ll never read.
  • Not trialling your options. As we’ve covered, there are a few different ad placement options within Facebook. If you’re having some success with one type of advertisement, consider using a modest amount of your budget to experiment with other placements. You never know what might work best for your business!


The verdict is in, Facebook video ads work.

By creating high quality, snappy and informative video advertisements for your business, you could soon be reaping the benefits of highly targeted, high-engagement marketing campaigns.

To get the most out of your video content, or if you’re new to creating visual marketing, consider working with a specialist video content creator to make sure your campaign is eye catching and impactful.

If you would ever like to discuss how to start or improve a Facebook Ads campaign, SEO campaign or would like to create amazing video content through video production or videography, please don’t hesitate to make contact with us at Video Outcomes here.
Video Outcomes is Melbourne based video marketing agency with expertise in video production and digital marketing strategy across multiple platforms.
Christopher Lichti

Christopher Lichti

Christopher Lichti is the founder and lead content strategist at Video Outcomes, a video marketing, corporate video production and corporate videography company based in Melbourne, Australia founded in 2017.

Christopher's background in developing video content for ppc campaigns on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn started in 2014. On the days he is not making videos he is making music and playing with his kids.

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