Facebook Provides Insight Into Video Ad Formats

With its massive base of 2.07 billion plus monthly users, Facebook is the perfect platform on which to promote your business. Facebook even has a paid advertising service, Facebook Ads, that supports both text and video ads and has become a popular marketing channel for small businesses.

According to the company’s website, users spend 500% more time watching videos than “static content” on Facebook and Instagram. Video ads are more engaging, generate a stronger response and attract more social shares than traditional text ads. Furthermore, statistics show that up to 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic will consist of video by 2022. As a business owner, you can take advantage of this trend by creating video ads on Facebook.

Facebook’s Different Video Ad Types

Of course, Facebook offers several different ad types for video ads, each of which has its own unique characteristics. This includes Newsfeed ads, in-stream ads and story ads. Newsfeed video ads, as the name suggests, appear in users’ Newsfeeds. The video ads are displayed along organic posts, though they’re labeled with a sponsored tag. In-stream video ads appear on Facebook’s Audience Network, which consists of third-party sites and apps. Finally, Story video ads appear in Instagram’s Stories feed.

It’s important to note that in-stream ads are either skippable or non-skippable. The former can be skipped by clicking a button, while the latter cannot.

So, which of these video ad types delivers the best results for businesses?

Facebook Reveals How Users Consume Video Ads

In a recent blog post, Facebook revealed insight into the network’s video ads. According to the company, mobile ad spend is expected to grow to 10% of TV ad spend by the end of the year. However, there are some stark differences between TV ads and mobile video ads. As explained by Facebook’s Mark Rabkin, TV ads typically use a non-skippable 30-second format. While there are always exceptions, most TV commercials follow this structure. Mobile video ads, on the other hand, are designed in a variety of formats, such as those mentioned above.

Unlike TV, though, which is still primarily based on the non-skippable 30s ad spot, there is no singular video ad experience on mobile. Instead, there is a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach. This complexity poses a big challenge for advertisers,” wrote Mark Rabkin, vice president of Facebook Ads and Business.


Non-Skipping Video Ads Outperform Skippable Ads

Not surprisingly, Facebook’s findings suggest that non-skippable video ads outperform their skippable counterpart. Whether pre-roll or mid-roll, roughly 70% of users watch non-skippable ads to the end. This makes it highly comparable to traditional TV ads. However, Facebook also notes that drop-offs fluctuate according to length. Longer video ads, for instance, typically experience a higher drop-off rate than shorter ads. Facebook says six-second and 15-second ads are becoming the de facto standard for cross-platform non-skippable video ads.

Skippable Ads

Facebook also explains that skippable video ads essentially behave like two different ads. The first five seconds, for instance, acts as one ad, while the remaining 15 to 30 seconds acts as a second ad. The user can only skip the video after watching the first segment; thus, making it a particularly important piece of digital real estate for marketers and business owners.

According to the social media giant, only 10% of users (sometimes less) actually watch the remaining second part of a skippable video ad. So, if you’re planning to use skippable video ads to promote your business, try to convey your message in the first section. Relying on the second section to convey your marketing message will likely result in low engagement and equally low conversions.


According to Facebook, story video ads are the fastest growing ad type on the company’s network. Story video ads are displayed in Instagram Stories as full-screen content, typically containing sound snippets. Perhaps the greatest benefit of story video ads, however, is the low barrier of entry. You don’t need a big budget to create effective story video ads. On the contrary, most story videos are recorded on smartphones or other mobile devices. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid creating high-quality, professional video ads. It only means you can generate results from mobile-recorded videos.

TV Ads

Facebook notes that the viewer’s attention for live TV ads is similar to that of non-skippable mobile video ads. When watching a non-skippable video ad on a smartphone or tablet, for instance, the user may scroll away to a different part of the screen, resulting in a dropoff. Although the user can’t skip the video ad, he or she can focus their attention elsewhere. This same phenomenon occurs with TV ads. If the viewer cannot skip the ad (live TV), he or she may use their mobile device, go to the kitchen to make a snack, or otherwise focus their attention elsewhere. Facebook says that 94% of people use their mobile devices while watching TV.

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