How to Create Mobile Video Ads That Don’t Suck

By 2020, video will be 75% of all mobile data traffic. Already, the 1.5 billion people on Facebook consume 100 million hours of videos daily.


Grabbing attention on mobile is a challenge, it’s content on the go with plenty of other distractions around. This may be blindingly obvious, but mobile is not TV. People settle into watching TV, but skim content on mobile.


Content has to have thumb-stopping power. Scrolling is faster on mobile and attention span shorter. According to Facebook research, people are only spending an average of 1.7 seconds with a piece of content on mobile compared to 2.5 seconds on desktop. 13-17 year olds consume content twice as fast as 55-64 year olds.


Retention rates are higher on mobile. People are able to recall mobile feed content after only 0.25 seconds.


So how should marketers get the best out of their mobile video ads? 5 tips:


1. Tell the punchline first


The faster you capture attention in a video ad, the better. Engage people with captivating visuals, stunning shots of your products and vivid backgrounds. Show your celebrity or spokesperson right away. Including your brand and messaging in the first 10 seconds can effectively reach 3X more people.



2. Anticipate silent play


Communicate with subtitles or text overlay. Facebook’s internal tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%. Be visually creative, use typographic treatments and on-screen graphics to communicate information and branding without the use of sound.



3. Small screen, big impact


Mobile screen size is small (duh), so be clear what you want to say. Say it loud and proud. Use impactful visuals. Explore reframing your video from 16:9 to a square or vertical format. This allows you to use more real estate on a mobile screen and draw more attention to your creative. It also removes the orientation issue altogether.



4. Remember that Facebook is not a TV Channel


Video made for TV DO NOT work in the newsfeed. Traditional storytelling DOES NOT work. Use short, punchy clips or images from your original commercial for your Facebook video ads. Don’t be coy with branding, push your brand up front, remember you only have 1.7 seconds. Don’t know how? Sign up here.



5. Keep testing


Don’t be too precious about your brand. Push brand boundaries. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and it’s important to find what works for you by testing, learning and iterating.


Source: Facebook IQ “Hand to Heart” report.



Winner of Facebook’s Innovation Spotlight Award for Creativity, ReFUEL4 is the world’s leading data-driven creative platform. We deliver ad designs from 10,000 global creators backed by AI technology capable of predicting ad performance and fatigue. We own the world’s only automatic creative refresh platform that supports scalable production, intelligent selection, auto-swapping and auto-refresh of creatives for campaign optimization. Find out how we can ReFUEL your next Facebook or Instagram campaign.


Alexis Ng

Digital marketer with a love for the ocean, yoga and constellations. Watches too much TV.

1 Comment
  • Posted at 11:37 am, May 16, 2016

    Excellent article Alexis! I totally agree with point 2. Great to know that captioned video ads increase VV time by 12%. I wonder what percent of VVs actually ever get sound on.

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