Video marketing

Facebook Marketing: Your Ultimate Creative Guide

This guide to Facebook Marketing is part of our Ultimate Guide series on social media video marketing best practices. Learn more about how harnessing the power of video marketing helps brand’s stand out on other platforms, from Instagram and Pinterest to TikTok and Snapchat.

Does Facebook really need an introduction? Whether or not you’ve seen The Social Network, you likely know about the social media giant’s ascent to digital domination. What started as a website to connect college students together in the early 2000s has dramatically evolved into a multimedia conglomerate, affecting change in everything from marketing and advertising to politics and human behavior. 

Facebook wasn’t the first social media platform (we see you, MySpace!) but it was the channel that catalyzed adoption, popularized the medium, and set the stage for the social media landscape we exist in today. The platform may have initially just connected people together, but with the emergence of Facebook marketing tools, they now have the power to connect brands directly with consumers. This presents unique opportunities for marketers strategizing video ad campaigns.

As a platform dedicated to creating communities by connecting users through shared interests, Facebook became the template for what we expect from a social media experience. Sure, it’s a great way to keep in touch with friends and family across the world, but increasingly it’s become our primary source for news and entertainment. 

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Today, Facebook is a many-headed beast, and it’s easy for us to view social media as a tool for distraction. But the core of the platform is still its ability to connect people together, across a vast–and increasingly diverse–sea of over two billion users. 

Because of this gargantuan user base, the company has become a social media leader, attracting advertisers with solutions for marketers to grow their brand. Facebook has grown into a tool for brands to convey a specific message that has the opportunity to resonate with however wide of an audience they’re targeting.

This is why Facebook is the perfect platform to leverage with video marketing. With its advanced targeting capabilities, and a suite of new features that can make your ads pop, Facebook has thrown the doors open for its users to do more with video content than ever before. Whether you’re a non-profit, a small startup, or an enterprise power player, it’s imperative to understand Facebook marketing to drive awareness, consideration, and retention to your brand or product. 

This guide will give you an overview of marketing on Facebook, the types of ad placements that you can utilize, as well as creative best practices and tips (for paid and organic) to give you a leg up on the competition as the race for dominance on the social platform continues.

Facebook: Platform Overview
Facebook Marketing Ad Placements and Specs
Facebook Marketing Creative Best Practices


What is Facebook? Platform Overview

If you want a firm grasp on why Facebook operates the way it does, you first have to understand how it all began. Diving into the platform’s history can surface insights into the reasons why users love to interact with Facebook’s content.

Since its founding by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, Facebook’s mission statement has been, “To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” As rudimentary as they once were, the tools Facebook initially gave its users helped us see the world as an open book. Suddenly we could know in an instant where someone grew up, what their favorite movie is, and whether or not they wanted to play Farmville. Originally a platform dedicated to students, it helped alleviate the awkwardness of meeting someone new, making it easier for fresh faces to make friends before their first day of classes. 

We could poke someone we liked for attention, invite friends to our events, and create groups dedicated to our passions and interests. Before Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and others divided our online attention, Facebook was our primary source to do exactly what the mission statement intended. It gave us the tools to share who we are with the world, and in turn, build stronger interpersonal connections. 

Thirteen years of growth and innovation later, Facebook has adjusted its mission statement to reflect its new goal of giving “people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.” 

The platform now gives us the ability to disseminate our insights and knowledge to larger, and more targeted, audiences. This is because Facebook has evolved to become not just a source of connection, but our way to tap into the pulse of what’s happening in the world today. It’s why one-third of Americans say they regularly get their news from Facebook. 

While we’ve seen how that can easily result in an echo chamber, it’s also created an environment for brands and advertisers to find audiences hungry to engage with their content. Facebook has accomplished the mission statement they set over 15 years ago, and now their focus is on giving people, and brands, the tools to make connections themselves. And the primary way they want you to do that is through video.

It’s not just because it’s easier to watch a video than it is to read an article. It’s that viewers are more likely to retain a message when it’s presented visually. This means there is a huge opportunity for marketers to use video advertising on Facebook to attract and engage whatever audience they are targeting. And on Facebook, there are a lot of audiences to choose from.

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Diverse Demographics

There are over 2.6 billion monthly active users on Facebook, but even more incredible is that there are 1.6 billion daily active users on Facebook. That means advertisers can get a lot of eyes on their content every week.

Millennials and Gen-Zers like to joke that Facebook is the preferred platform for Baby Boomers. Where emerging social apps like TikTok have captured a large swath of attention from younger generations, Facebook still manages to reach 109 million teens. When you compare that to the reach of a popular Gen-Z platform like Snapchat–which reaches 79 million users–it’s clear that Facebook is still a huge opportunity if your target audience skews younger. 

But social media isn’t a young person’s domain anymore. There is some truth behind the playful jab that Facebook is your grandparents’ favorite social platform. Since 2012, the channel has doubled its users aged 55+ and it will only continue to grow as more of the world looks to social media platforms for their news and information. 

When you factor in every social platform available, older generations are adopting Facebook more than any other demographic. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers may have started dipping their toes in youthful platforms like TikTok, but when it comes to ease of use for techno-averse adults, Facebook is still the fastest way for them to start making connections online. 


Boundless Engagement

Luckily for your brand, you don’t need to immediately gain a huge following to start attracting Facebook’s disparate groups of demographics. Of the 90 million small and medium-sized business pages, those with fewer than 10,000 likes actually experience higher engagement rates than brands with bigger followings. This means that even if you have a smaller number of followers, with creative video marketing, you actually have the opportunity to reach more people than you may have first thought.

This ability for Facebook to drive brand awareness is why 78% of consumers said they’ve discovered new products they love right on Facebook. As the industry pivots once again to meet the demands for social commerce integrations, Facebook is setting itself up to become the premier online marketplace for brands and organizations to promote their products directly to consumers where they gather: the digital sphere. As Facebook invests more attention to social commerce, they are making it easier than ever for their users to organically find your products. 


Social Commerce

A major shift happening across all social media is the investment in building out the social shopping experience. Analysts predict that social commerce will generate over $53 billion dollars by 2024, and social giants are ramping up their own features to get in on the emerging eComm trend. Expect social commerce to be a major focus on both Facebook in 2021 as they set to expand Facebook Shops by making it easier for brands to customize the user experience, and for consumers to purchase products in-app. 

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Facebook is also adding new features so consumers can directly message brands, falling back on their original mission statement to make it easier for people to make new connections. As the platform also sets its sights on live-stream shopping experiences, Facebook’s social commerce integration is set to shape what this evolving industry will look like for years to come. 

The ease for consumers to make purchases through Facebook will only become smoother as Shopify expands their eCommerce tool, Shop Pay, to the social channel. Shopify boasts that Shop Pay is the fastest and most secure way to pay for goods online. As users get accustomed to social commerce, brands will find success converting audiences with lower-funnel content on primarily upper-funnel platforms. 


Limitless Opportunities for Video

In recent years, Facebook has grown its toolbox of video features to meet the shifting desires for original content from its users. It should come as no surprise that there will be continued investment in video on Facebook over the coming years—especially considering the popularity of Stories.  

Stories have become so popular primarily because they’re featured the moment you open the app, whether it’s on mobile or desktop. Where before you would have seen a customized news feed with links and static images, Facebook has made it a point that video is the first thing you’re greeted with when logging in.  

We’re likely to see Facebook’s algorithm continue to elevate video placements like Stories to further drive engagement and keep users on their platform for longer. These video marketing tools have given individual users more ways to interact with their friends, family, and followers, but it has also given Facebook marketers unique ways to achieve their social media campaign goals.

The Key Objectives for Facebook Video Marketing:

  • Awareness: Show off your product, service, or brand in new ways by showcasing unique features or telling your brand story.
  • Engagement: Capture attention quickly to stay in the forefront of a viewer’s mind. Short quick bursts of content will captivate your audience and keep them engaged.
  • Conversion: Convey a clear, simple message that drives consumers to take action, such as buying a specific product or visiting your website.


Facebook Ad Specs and Placements Types

As user demographics have diversified and grown over the last twenty years, Facebook has remained on top as the most widely used social media platform. This makes the channel a great option for every organization aiming to drive awareness, engagement, and conversions with every kind of consumer. For any objective, with any audience, Facebook has an advertising solution to meet your needs.

Since their big pivot in 2015, the text and image-heavy social platform has been proliferated with video content. For your brand to stay fresh, feel relevant, and make the greatest impact, you need to produce a constant stream of iterative video ads. As Facebook eases barriers to entry for organizations of all sizes, video content will help you stay afloat in a sea of competitors vying for attention.

Facebook has developed a suite of creative ad placements to help support your video marketing initiatives. But if you’ve poked around Facebook’s Ads Guide, you’ll know that their offerings can be a little overwhelming. For a more digestible entry point to wrapping your head around marketing on Facebook, we’re highlighting four placements that can make the greatest impact on your campaign objectives.

RELATED: Facebook Video Ad Specs & Placements


Facebook Feed

The Feed is the first thing a user will see and interact with when they open Facebook on mobile or desktop. It has evolved tremendously through the years, but browsing through your feed is still the primary experience of using Facebook. 

Both organic and paid in-feed Facebook ads will appear in a user’s personalized feed as they scroll. Just like any content on the platform, users can engage with an ad by liking, commenting, or sharing a post. Advertisers can further support their in-feed video ads through Call-to-Actions (CTA) that can open to internal or external landing pages.

You can choose between two orientations for ads that appear in the Facebook feed: Landscape and Portrait. Note that on mobile, all types of video render in a 2:3 aspect ratio, so adjust your concepting accordingly if you are targeting a primarily mobile audience. 

Video Ad Specs

  • Aspect Ratio: 4:5 is recommended. Other standard aspect ratios, like 9:16 (portrait) and 16:9 are supported but may be masked to 4:5. Desktop versions of the Facebook Feed will automatically convert to 1:1. This same video will run at 2:3 on mobile.
  • Max Resolution: None, so upload the highest resolution video available.
  • Min Resolution: 1080 x 1080 
  • Max video file size: 4GB
  • Video length: 1 second to 241 minutes
  • Max frame rate: 30fps

Video captions are optional but highly recommended. Facebook feed videos default to a sound-off experience (the user has to manually unmute the video), so be sure to include captions if any vital information is conveyed in the audio of your video (e.g., dialogue, VO, etc.). 

You can add supporting copy to your video ads as well. Primary description text is limited to 125 characters, but may be truncated. If you are using a CTA, the headline will be limited to 40 characters and the description to 30 characters. On mobile, the Description will only show if Facebook thinks it’s likely to resonate with the viewer.

QuickFrame client Nextdoor used a UI-focused in-feed ad to communicate their value propositions, by leading viewers through their product features.

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Facebook In-Stream Video

Facebook In-stream placements are video ads that play before in-stream videos from publishers and content creators on Facebook Watch or during Facebook Live streams from a select group of partners. Think of in-stream video ads like the short commercial breaks you get when watching a YouTube video. 

Because in-stream video ads are allowed to be longer than any other type of ad placement on Facebook, it unlocks opportunities for brands to deliver more nuanced messages that can result in higher engagement rates.

Video Ad Specs

  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 1:1 is recommended
  • Max Resolution: None, upload the highest resolution video available.
  • Min Resolution: 1080 x 1080 
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Video length: 5 seconds to 10 minutes

Captions and sound are optional but strongly recommended as Facebook defaults to a sound-on experience when a viewer clicks a video. In-stream ads also allow for supporting copy up to 125 characters. Descriptions over that are allowed but may be truncated. 

These limitations change if you are using a CTA link. Headlines are limited to 40 characters, and descriptions to 30. Make sure the text is engaging and relevant, as Facebook will only show in-stream video descriptions to mobile users if they think it’s likely to resonate with the viewer.


Facebook Video Feeds

When a user clicks on a video in their Facebook Feed, it opens in a separate Video Feed player. This feed allows users to see additional, related video content they can scroll through and watch, just like their regular Feed. This ad placement allows your ads to run between the organic content in a user’s video feed. This is a great way to feature your brand or product in exciting visual ways, especially if you leverage animation in marketing to stop the thumbs of your target audience.

Unlike other placements types, Facebook Video Feed ads do not support a CTA button. Viewers can still engage with the video by liking, commenting, or sharing, and they can click through to your brand profile. 

Video Ad Specs

  • Aspect Ratio: 4:5 is recommended. Other standard aspect ratios, like 9:16 and 16:9 are supported, but may be masked to 4:5. This same video will run at 2:3 on mobile.
  • Max Resolution: None, upload the highest resolution video available.
  • Min Resolution: 1080 x 1080 
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Videos length: 1 second to 241 minutes
  • Recommended file type: .mp4, .mov, or .gif. Additional types are supported.

Keep in mind that TopView, along with Brand Takeovers, are managed on TikTok through reserved media placements and have certain location and budget requirements.

Video captions and sound are both optional but recommended. Video Feed ads do allow for supporting copy, with the primary text being capped at 125 characters. You can go over that limit, but your copy may be truncated. 

Small-batch meal subscription service and QuickFrame client CookUnity was fairly new to video, but knew it was the answer when it came to an acquisition campaign on Facebook. 

Facebook Stories

Stories are Facebook’s answer to Snapchat and TikTok’s short-form user-generated videos. With Facebook Stories, people can turn themselves into content creators and use video to convey a message or tell a narrative arc. 

Story ads will run between each user-generated video. These placements are full-screen vertical ads, so be keenly aware that your concept is applicable to this type of ad. 

Facebook Story ads can be up to two minutes long but will be split into multiple 15-second cards. These ads are skippable, so it’s important to have a “thumb-stopping” hook. If you capture viewers’ attention in the opening few seconds, they are more likely to continue watching the ad.

Video Ad Specs

  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16. Ratios from 1.91:1 are supported, but if repurposing a video below 9:16, colored gradient bars will be added above and below to fill the screen.
  • Max Resolution: None, upload the highest resolution video available.
  • Min Resolution: 1080 x 1080 
  • Max file size: 4GB
  • Video length: 1 second to 2 minutes
  • Recommended file type: .mp4, .mov, or .gif. Additional types are supported.

Like the other ad placements on Facebook, video captions and sound are both optional but highly recommended as viewers are most likely to watch Stories with sound-on. You can also support your ad with headlines and description, but be aware that primary text is limited to 125 characters, and headlines to 40 characters. You can go over both these limits, but the text may be truncated. 

Additionally, do not place text or logos in the top or bottom 250 pixels of the video so they aren’t covered by your profile icons (top of the screen) or CTA (bottom of the screen).

Hairstory partnered with QuickFrame to execute a performance testing plan, surfacing platform-specific learnings for Facebook marketing.


Facebook Marketing Best Practices

You know that Facebook is the largest social network around, and your business needs to have a major presence if you want to compete on the platform. With a constant stream of fresh, relevant video ads, your brand will stand out in a social landscape saturated with content. What you may not know are the best ways to leverage the wealth of opportunities that exist on Facebook.

In an effort to help cut through the fat of what works best on the platform, we’ve identified a few top Facebook marketing tips that will inspire engagement, raise awareness, and elevate your brand. 


Identify Your Objectives Early

Facebook’s Business Help Center identifies numerous objectives their video ads can support. It all depends on what you want out of your Facebook video marketing campaign

Ask yourself, what action do you want your video ads to inspire? Is it to increase website traffic or social reach? Do you want to raise brand awareness so that potential consumers will be more willing to engage with your product? 

Facebook video ads can solve all these objectives, but you need to first have a clear picture of what your goals are. Combined with thorough pre-production planning and a strong creative concept, you can use Facebook to achieve whatever goal you want to accomplish.


Diversify Your Ad Placements

You know you need to be publishing a stream of video content, but you also need to diversify where your video ads run on Facebook. Since the platform’s algorithm doesn’t optimize to show multiple posts or ads from the same Page concurrently, you must be running various ad placements simultaneously to hit a diverse audience. Be sure to keep your creative both platform- and placement-specific. Facebook is a digital environment with its own set of rules—audiences do not expect to see the same type of content that they might find on another social media channel. 

Set yourself up for success by building a performance marketing multivariate testing plan to methodically understand which creative variables, across various placements, resonate most with your target audiences. With thorough pre-production planning, you can capture an array of footage in a single shoot and then leverage post-production editing techniques to shape, sharpen, and reinvent your creative.


Revamp UGC-Style Content

TikTok’s popularity has heavily influenced the type of content that works with audiences, even on Facebook. UGC-style has seen increased success, so ideate ways you can bring this video type’s flair to your ads. 

UGC doesn’t always mean that talent needs to be visible on-screen to be effective. You can take a UGC-style approach by making your creative look like it was filmed by hand. Leverage stills, motion graphics, music, and voiceover to craft a UGC feel solely through post-production techniques.

You want to avoid overtly pushing your product with a UGC-style video as audiences look to this type of content as a way to connect and have fun. Using relatable talent and associating your brand with positive creative experiences will pay off in the long run. You can further elevate the UGC-style format by diversifying your testimonial footage with b-roll and lifestyle shots.

This video from Gobble uniquely showcases their product by reframing the UGC-style content as a how-to cooking tutorial.


Use Actual Customers

Social proof is still a powerful motivating factor and if you plan to use a UGC-style video,  testimonials with actual customers are seeing increased performance

However, because so many everyday consumers are now content creators themselves, audiences have come to expect a certain level of production value, even from UGC-style video content. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to raise your production budget or make all of your creative high gloss. 

Instead, focus on the storytelling arc of your customer testimonial and feature b-roll. Having someone direct on-screen talent–especially with real customers–is key to elevating the narrative and hitting the tone that’s right for your brand or product.

This video from Homer features real customer testimonials to inspire a greater sense of relatability to their product.

Other Facebook Marketing Creative Best Practices:

Emphasize Sensitivity

The past year has been a hard one, and we’re not yet out of the woods. Be sensitive to consumers’ mindsets and rethink your value props to fit contemporary lifestyles.

Deprioritize Sound

Don’t rely on audio in Facebook video ads. Instead, think of your ads’ sonic elements as a way to enrich the viewing experience. 

Even on Facebook, audiences are increasingly watching videos on mute, so optimize for a sound-off experience and ideate ways to elevate text or captions in your creative arc so your textual elements are more than just a bar of words at the top or bottom of the screen. 

Stop Thumbs

Aim to quickly capture attention and land impressions in the first few seconds of your ad with a thumb-stopping hook. Showcasing your brand or product in unique ways, like with visually arresting stop motion animation, can go a long way to keeping viewers engaged for your ad’s entire runtime.

Get to the Point!

If you want a viewer to watch your ad until the very end, you need to keep your content short. Design your creative to capture attention in the first three seconds. Videos can be longer on Facebook, but you should still angle to stop thumbs just as fast as an ad on TikTok or Snapchat.

Engage with Descriptions

For ad placements with supporting copy, put that extra text to use! Don’t just tell your target audience that they should watch your video. Tell them why your brand deserves their attention, and what you want them to do. It could be that you are posing questions, or enticing them with a bold statement that they’ll want to hear more about.


Facebook Marketing: The Takeaway

In the highly competitive content landscape of social media, be creatively bold to break through the noise and make a mark. Look at your creative strategy broadly, think critically, and invest in your brand voice and image. You need to establish a hallmark experience that consumers can begin to associate with your brand—and Facebook is the ideal place to scale your audience.   

No matter your objective, these Facebook marketing strategies can help you capture attention, raise awareness, convert customers, and grow your brand. Combine that with a creative eye hungry for innovation and you can create mesmerizing, high-performing video content that will give your organization an advantage in our rapidly evolving digital world.

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