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February 10, 2017

At Bamboo, we partner with clients like HotelTonight, Microsoft, and The New York Times to help them maximize the ROI of their mobile/social advertising budgets. After spending many millions of dollars over the last year testing video creative on Facebook and Instagram, we have some helpful insights to share with our fellow performance marketers.

We hope this guidance will help marketers generate better mobile video ads in 2017!

Best Practice #1: The Three D’s of Video

Before producing video creatives for use on paid social, be deliberate about the Three D’s.

Delivery: Video ad performance is impacted heavily based on where the ad is served.

Facebook and Instagram both offer mobile video ad units, but one reigned supreme in our analysis. Our data shows that video creatives consistently produces 28.2% higher click-through-rates on Facebook than they did on Instagram. When we look beyond the install at traffic quality, we saw that Facebook CPIs were 10.78% better than Instagram CPIs.


Dimension: Video ad performance varies widely based on video dimension.

Square videos have driven 37.96% lower CPIs than rectangular formats across all of our clients. Rectangular videos drove incrementally better CTRs (+5.8%), but due to significantly better CPIs, we recommend producing square videos when possible.


Duration: Video length impacts both CTRs and CPIs.

On average, we found that videos shorter than or equal to 15 seconds drove 17.43% higher CTRs but 14.01% higher CPIs than videos longer than 15 seconds. This indicates that while shorter videos drive more clicks, longer videos may be more informative and drive higher intent down the funnel. Higher intent that leads to higher install and in-app purchase conversion rates!

Despite the length of your creative, it is pertinent to grab the viewer’s attention within the first few moments. We see that only ~20% of viewers will view an entire video before taking an action (whether it be to keep scrolling their feeds or clicking through to your product). By frontloading the main value proposition of your product or service, you may increase the odds of converting potential customers.


Best Practice #2: Be Deliberate About Your Style

At Bamboo, we leverage a few video styles consistently. We define our two best-performing styles as “lifestyle” and “in-app” creatives. Lifestyle video ads use real people and situations to market the product or service. Across all of our clients, lifestyle videos generated about 57% of total app installs.

In contrast to lifestyle ads, in-app style ads do not feature real people or situations to showcase a product. Instead, this style of video may directly display the app interface to highlight its features.

Your style of video will depend on your company’s vertical. For example, we tend to pair subscription-based apps with the in-app style of video.


Best Practice #3: Be Purposeful in Your Text

Text overlay is an important stylistic element to consider when creating video creative. Videos that did not include text returned 20.44% lower CPIs than videos that did include text.

When including text, it is best to keep it simple with design. For example, we saw 15.9% higher CPIs and 25.86% higher CPAs (cost per purchase) in an A/B test that tested a black background underneath a text overlay vs. one that was just a text overlay. This small change tweak decreased the caliber of the campaign and highlighted the importance of keeping text overlay simple.


Best Practice #4: Use Movement Over Static Background

Movement and panning within the background of the video are two common attributes associated with top performing in-app videos. We see a 53.21% decrease in CPIs for ads that featured movement within the in-app video. Movement can be defined as cutting from scene to scene, vertical or horizontal movement of images, or the zooming in and out of images.


Best Practice #5: Be Timely and Relevant

Ad relevance and timeliness can drastically impact the success of a campaign. For example, one of our clients saw major success in its in-app video ad when it included shots surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election. This particular example highlights the power of timeliness when creating ads.

Other methods of establishing relevance include using specific settings, products or themes directed at a customized audience.


Best Practice #6: Create, Test and Repeat

Once you have found video ads that seem to be driving positive results, tweak the designs, audiences and other factors and iterate! Always be looking for ways to better your campaign KPIs. Similar to static ads, small stylistic changes and better targeting can drive massive performance improvements!

Best Practices Recap

  1. Remember The 3 D’s
  2. Be Deliberate in Your Style
  3. Be Purposeful in Your Text
  4. Use Movement
  5. Be Timely and Relevant
  6. Iterate


Interested in taking your Facebook ad strategy to the next level? Learn more about Bamboo’s Facebook advertising expertise and services >

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