Video ads: Facebook or YouTube?

Video is quickly becoming a default tool for marketers around the world. However, producing videos is only one part of the equation. A compelling video has a higher chance of driving business results, but compelling videos are ignored every day, getting little to no traffic.

Marketers are presented with a tricky challenge: a lot of internet browsers just don’t see ads anymore. But videos grab attention and are often seen as easier to consume than a 15 page document. The most common types of video ads are previews before another piece of video content, ads in search engines, or paid media on social.

For the last decade, the social option has lived almost exclusively in the land of YouTube, but since last year, Facebook has officially become a player in the video field. November 2015 marked the first month where more videos were uploaded to Facebook than posts containing links to YouTube. At the end of the day, neither truly has a definite advantage, but they do offer very different opportunities that I’ll delve into below.

The New Adwords is Video

One of the reasons why most companies today advertise through Adwords is that it’s a pretty cheap method and has good return. A staggering amount of the population uses Google for search, and showing up against strategic keywords can be an extremely efficient strategy for acquiring new customers. The downside is that as more and more companies wise up to the good deal that AdWords provides, certain keywords now cost hundreds of dollars to advertise on.

Video ads, however, are still pretty advantageous cost-wise. If you decide to go this route, you’ll be working through Google’s video advertising, called Trueview. Think of it as a direct video equivalent of AdWords, except you can use it to target certain channels or topics instead of targeting specific keywords. You can even do video remarketing, meaning you can target users based on their previous interactions with a specific video.

With TrueView, not only do you benefit from a very advantageous 6 cent per click average, you leverage Google’s very large reach. You have three options to advertise:

in stream, showing your video right before the one users initially searched for (commonly known as a pre roll), in search, or in display (as a recommended video on the right-hand side of the video the user is watching)youtube-trueview-video-ad-types-1024x564



One of the things that makes TrueView such a great opportunity is that you are only charged if the user actually watches the video past a certain time stamp. That way, you can ensure that people actually saw your advertisement.

Also, since videos from YouTube are embedded all over the web, there is a chance that your ad will show up on a niche site that is highly relevant to your market. Have you ever visited a site, left, and then saw their ads all over the web? Well you can accomplish the same thing with your own videos on YouTube. And remember, if users watched videos embedded on sites they trust and see your ad, they’re likely to associate the two in their mind.

There is a New Kid in Town

Facebook has been on the rise in video for the past year. With over 17 million video shares for the ice bucket challenge, the social network has definitely shown that it can be a massive player in the world of video. In order to keep that momentum going, they’ve put in place a series of tools, like video scheduling, captioning, and analytics, that have led them to an impressive average 100 million hours of video watched every day. Their ad strategy for video is a little different than YouTube’s. The videos are shown in the feed of users, and they autoplay as people scroll down.

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Where Facebook’s video ads truly shine is in their targeting. As you can imagine, the social network has a lot of information about their users. This allows marketers to implement some very granular settings, and means you can also tailor those who see your video to a precise target market. Keep in mind that this is all a bidding process, so narrowing your reach means your cost per click will go up. It all depends on what your goal is. If this is a campaign to increase brand awareness, you might want to keep the audience as general as possible, and get as many views as possible. However most B2B campaigns will be more successful with a more targeted approach, and Facebook certainly supports that.

Don’t fall in the view trap    

If you haven’t done that much paid advertising for video, you might have a hard time justifying it at first. With any new marketing spend, results are expected, and the common go-to metric to track results with video is views. However, video views are often an oversimplification of what the medium can really do. It’s important to set up goals that mean something to your organization. Whether your video’s goal is to drive more traffic, or to gather fresh leads, make sure everyone on your team understands what the target is.

For general awareness campaigns, both YouTube and Facebook can be fantastic options since they have an extremely large user base to target. If you’re looking for a very specific demographic, Facebook has the most precise and easy to manage targeting tools.

For conversion, both can work, but YouTube is slightly more straightforward. The end of an ad can end with a call-to-action and a link to your website, which is about as much as you can ask for. Since Facebook video ads appear just like promoted posts, users can easily click on your company name and reach your page. If you’re confident in your social media presence, this might be a better option, but if you’re pretty silent on there, it means users have to look around your page to find your website URL, and you’ll likely to see a heavy bounce rate.

For both options, remember that the first impression is key. That means:

Pay attention to the thumbnail you use, it’s the first thing users will see. In the case of YouTube in search and in stream ads, this is what entices people to click.Shorter is better. These videos are always showing up before something the viewer wants to see, so don’t be tedious with the length.The first few seconds are everything. People can skip after 5 seconds on YouTube, and Facebook autoplays as viewers are scrolling. That means the first few seconds need to be the most engaging part of your video if you want users to keep watching.

Like the marketing assets you’ve been using up until now, videos and their promotion are about planning. Video ads are not scary at all. In fact, if you’re already doing display ads on Facebook and YouTube, you’ll find most of the terms familiar, and the platforms to be almost the same. Video ads on these two social networks bring a new mentality to the medium. More importantly, they give you a fantastic opportunity to bring in the leads that truly matter to you.

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