Capture Attention with Updated Features for Video Ads

With the Internet in our palms, pockets and purses, many people around the world now have constant access to information. This growing mobile-feed environment is changing the way people view and absorb information. Recent research shows that people consume content on Facebook faster on mobile than on desktop.1 And mobile is powerful, accounting for 50% of all online purchases during Black Friday weekend in 2015.

People now watch over 100 million hours of video on Facebook each day,2 and each moment counts for advertisers. According to independent Fors-Marsh tests, people can recall mobile News Feed content after seeing it for only a quarter of a second. The value of your video ad—whether you’re measuring ad recall, brand awareness, or sales—happens quickly and increases with duration. Facebook found with Nielsen that up to 47% of the value in a video campaign was delivered in the first three seconds, while up to 74% of the value was delivered in the first ten.

With people’s growing control over what content they watch and for how long, the faster you communicate your message in a video ad and capture viewers’ attention, the better. That’s why today we’re introducing new features for video ads and sharing tips and examples of successful video ad campaigns.

Automated captions for video ads on Facebook

In mobile-feed environments, people prefer having the choice to opt in to sound. Our research found that when feed-based mobile video ads play loudly when people aren’t expecting it, 80% react negatively, both toward the platform and the advertiser.3 Advertisers should take this into account when creating video ads, making sure their stories don’t require sound to communicate their message.

Internal tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%,4 so we’re soon releasing a new tool that makes adding captions to video ads easier than ever. Previously, advertisers were only able to add captions to Facebook video ads by embedding captions or uploading their own caption files. But soon, advertisers can choose to have captions added automatically. Our new automated captioning tool generates captions for video ads and delivers them to the advertiser within the ad creation tool to review, edit and save to their video ad.

“We wanted to let our guests know that we use chicken that is raised without antibiotics, so we created a video that told that story. We used the automated captioning tool to make sure everyone who watched it, with or without sound, could learn about our chicken. Adding captions increased watch time by 25%.” – Robert Cifarelli, Communications Manager, A&W Canada

More reporting and buying options for video ads

Advertisers want to understand how people are engaging with their videos, so we’re adding new metrics to our reports. Advertisers are now able to see the percentage of people who have viewed their videos with sound in Page Insights and will soon be able to see this metric in Ads Insights too. And, unlike some other digital environments, Facebook ad delivery is based on real people.

Our integration with Moat for video ad analytics is also now live around the world. This integration is part of our continued dedication to measuring Facebook ads with independent third parties.

Finally, the 100% in-view buying option we announced in September is now available globally. Though over 90% of ad impressions on Facebook are 100% in-view, we added the 100% in-view buying option to give advertisers more control.

Tips for building video creative for mobile feed

Building video ads for a mobile feed requires new creative considerations. Advertisers need to work harder if they want to earn longer views. To help advertisers understand how to create effective video ads for feed-based platforms, the Facebook Creative Shop and Marketing Science teams continue to analyze Facebook and Instagram video ad campaigns to find out what elements make them more effective. While their work is ongoing and we know there are many ways to create videos that connect with audiences and inspire action, we continue to find consistent practices across many of the best-performing ads. As you work to create video ads that resonate with your audience and drive your objectives, keep these suggestions in mind.

It’s critical to connect with your audience and capture attention right away. We know that 65% of people who watch the first three seconds of a video will watch for at least ten seconds and 45% continue watching for thirty seconds.5 Consider video thumbnail images and titles that will hook people into your story. Brand colors, themes and imagery can help people connect the video to your brand. Front-loading lifestyle/product shots and recognizable spokespeople can create interest, as can scenes with action or vivid backgrounds.

Kleenex® brand wanted to deliver authentic stories of care to women at the most relevant moments in their days. Kleenex® brand used captions in their videos to help viewers jump quickly into the storyline and hook them to watch more. Over the course of the campaign, they experimented with ways to evolve the creative to include the brand in each narrative. In the ad “A Shining School,” highlighting a custodial worker at a local elementary school, the Kleenex® logo appeared in the first seven seconds and Kleenex® brand sponsored a monetary gift in recognition of his hard work at the school. This campaign resulted in a 6 point lift in ad recall and 3 point lift in purchase intent. Average view duration: 23 seconds.

Design for sound off

Since most video ads in mobile feed are viewed without sound, make sure to express your message visually. In one study of Facebook video ads, 41% of videos were basically meaningless without sound. Showing captions, logos and products can help communicate your message, even in silence.

Seda Sunsilk wanted to engage a young Brazilian female audience with a series of 36 easy hair style video tutorials. The videos used creative text overlay to make them understandable even without sound. Each opening scene starts with attention-grabbing questions such as: “No hairstyle ideas for a night out?” This was followed by step-by-step live demonstrations accompanied by 1-2-3 text on screen of how to achieve the look with the help of Seda products. The campaign resulted in a 7 point lift in unaided brand awareness and a 7.5 point lift in brand favorability. Average view duration: 21 seconds.

“The power of videos presented on Facebook is undeniable. But, like with any good campaign, you need strong strategy and great creative. The Sunsilk videos were the result of looking at brand insights and consumer behavior. We provided content that’s relevant to our audience.” – Roberto Grosman, co-CEO,

Similarly, Absolut worked with their media agency, 360i, to launch a campaign on Facebook and Instagram to tell their consumers about a limited edition “Spark” bottle. Absolut made the iconic bottle silhouette the focal point, helping users to identify the brand quickly and understand that there’s a new product, even with no sound. Absolut also introduced its iconic logo within the first 2-3 seconds. This campaign resulted in a 33 point lift in ad recall on Instagram and a 4 point lift in brand favorability across Facebook. Average view duration: 8 seconds.


There’s no universal solution to building brands with mobile video, so experiment and test to understand what works for your brand and audience. In the process, consider using ad sequencing and creative storytelling combinations to tell a story over the course of multiple interactions.

Get started

The automated caption tool will roll out globally to Ads Manager and Power Editor in the coming weeks and will initially be available for US English captions.

With these updated tools and suggestions for video ads on mobile feeds, advertisers are better equipped to build effective video ads for Facebook. As we continue exploring what elements make video creative great, we’ll share more tips and suggestions.

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