Optimizing Video Ads for Different Social Media
Video ads are an engaging way to get your marketing message out into the world. Whether you’re advertising on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok or other digital platforms, producing and distributing video ads allows you to use movement – live action, animation, stunning motion graphics visuals – and audio to grab your target audience’s attention.
However, video ads that work on one platform don’t always translate well to another.
Different social media platforms have different requirements for video ads — and every user base has a preference for different types of content. For instance, while TikTok ads may perform better if they’re funny and authentic with limited production value, the best YouTube ads can often feel more professional.
Let’s discuss how your company can optimize video ads for the most popular social media platforms, as well as how you can make your video content versatile for different apps.
Use the Right Aspect Ratio
One of the biggest differentiators between video ads on different social platforms is how they’re displayed. For example, while most YouTube ads are still filmed horizontally, platforms like Snapchat have made vertical video ads the norm.
Here are some examples of ideal aspect ratios you can use when optimizing video ads for social media:
- 16:9 for YouTube and Twitter
- 9:16 for Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and TikTok
- 2:3 for Pinterest
- 1:1 for Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn
You can change your aspect ratio before editing your video on professional software like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, or you can use a video cropping app on your phone to adjust your aspect ratio post-production. By doing so, you can ensure your video displays correctly for your users, with no poorly cropped words or visuals.
Aim for the Right Video Length
Video ads are short on pretty much every social media platform. Even on YouTube, where the content you post on your channel can be more than an hour long, paid advertisements typically last 15 – 30 seconds max — otherwise, they become skippable after just five seconds.
While video game trailers and movie promos, as well as extremely funny video ads can get amazing results with lengths over 30 seconds and even up to and over 2 minutes – provided the story, delivery and CTA are compelling – 15 seconds is a benchmark that’s actually recommended by most social media apps for video ads.
While LinkedIn says any video ad under 30 seconds can be effective, keeping your advertisement under 15 seconds can keep your content versatile across platforms. This way, you don’t need to clip your video ad or film new content before creating campaigns on all your other apps. Your video ad will already be at an optimal length for every platform.
Track Data to Understand Your Audience
You only have 15 seconds to convert your audience — and realistically, you only have around five seconds to capture their attention before they scroll past your ad. This is why it’s critical to understand what content will engage users on each social media platform.
Take a look at your social media analytics to understand what demographics make up your audience on each app, as well as what content your followers engage with the most. If you’ve launched video ad campaigns in the past, what video elements kept people engaged and what caused them to stop watching?
Analyzing data can help you identify trends. For instance, you may recognize that videos ads without sound perform well on your Facebook page or that Snapchat users prefer one spokesperson over another.
So to gain the most helpful insights, it’s important not to get overwhelmed by the enormous amount of data that social media platforms provide. Focus on tracking data that supports your goals, like engagement rates and audience insights, instead of trying to understand every metric, which can lead to analysis paralysis.
Qualities of a Versatile, “Cross Platform” Video Ad
The experienced marketing execs at most brands, businesses and startups would agree that creating brand new, individualized video ads, customized for each platform on which they want to advertise, is inefficient and wasteful.
SO, While it’s important to understand the nuances of video advertising between social media apps, it’s essential to recognize the shared characteristics of successful ads.
This will help you to conceptualize, write and produce smart, versatile ads that will work across platforms, whether or not you have the time and budget to invest in dozens of customized ads.
Effective “cross platform” video ads typically:
- Grab users’ attention within the first five seconds
- Perfectly blend entertainment and education to spark users into action
- Share clear information in easily digestible ways
So – though you may need to crop your videos differently for each platform, following these tenets of great video advertising can help you develop universally successful ads without too much editing – and save time, treasure and energy for the next campaign.
Improve Your Video Advertising
Optimizing video ads for different platforms requires you to change the aspect ratio of your content to ensure your advertisement displays as intended. Additionally, you should understand how audiences differ between platforms to optimize content for each social media app.
So, when you don’t have the bandwidth to customize endless unique ads, you can create effective video campaigns by simply following the basic rules of thumb for effective video ads – such as keeping your content under 15 seconds and sharing clear information with your viewers.
This way, you can create successful omnichannel campaigns with minimal edits.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer with a passion for how technology and creativity come together in our everyday lives. When she is not hunting for the best mac and cheese in the Pacific Northwest, she is frequently lost in a good book.