Section 4: Video Ad Creative Best Practices

What’s the best way to get more results from your user acquisition advertising?   Fresh video ad creative. 

According to Sensor Tower Ad Intelligence data for the iOS in the U.S., the share of impressions on Facebook’s network since 2015 has been driven by 45% video creatives, 54% banner ads, and 1% full-screen ads (excluding playable ads).
While videos and images do share first place for their impact on results, videos tend to outperform images. You can see this in almost any study of social media ads or content done in the last few years: Video content almost always outperforms still images. Facebook’s own native advertising bears this out as well: According to Sensor Tower, Facebook’s own best performing U.S. ad on its platform during Q4 2019 was a 30-second video, which accounted for more than 50% of the publisher’s total impressions for the quarter. That was much higher than concurrent still image ads, which topped out at about 7% SOV.

Given how competitive advertising is, quantitative creative testing is essential. So let’s use those same principles in our video tests by breaking video ad creative down into their essential parts.

Video Ad Creative

  • Ad copy
  • Buttons
  • End/start cards
  • Calls to action
  • Messaging
  • Offers
  • Use of animation/motion
  • Colors
  • Backgrounds
  • Text placement
  • Video ratio/ length

Here’s how to optimize each of those elements.

Video Ad Creative: Ad Copy

Check your competitors’ ads to see which pieces of ad copy they’re using over and over again. A simple twist on what’s been working for them could be your next big win.

But while your competitors’ ads can be helpful, there’s one golden rule to follow: Use emotion. Smart use of emotional hooks (especially if they can be tied to specific player profiles, as mentioned earlier) can dramatically improve ad performance.

So use emotion as often and as effectively as you can. Emotion rules over rationality, especially for game and lifestyle apps.

Here’s how Gardenscapes leverages emotion and empathy to urge users to come back to play their game.

From @Gardenscapes ads in the Facebook Ads Library


Once again, checking your competitors’ ads can be helpful, but don’t stop there. There are plenty of ways to test buttons. Try using “my” on your buttons instead of “you” – this is an old-school copy trick that still works in 2019.

Whatever you do, make the copy on your buttons clear. Confused people don’t take action. And remember: Your ads are being seen by people who are scrolling through a river of information. Even the slightest whiff of confusion will suppress conversion rates.

Start and End cards

Not using these as part of your video advertising? We think you’re missing out.

Here’s why start and end cards work so well:

  • They tell the story of the ad.
  • They create a powerful first frame visual.

Start Cards

While start cards are not as important as end cards, they serve an important purpose: They can stop people from scrolling past your ad when it shows up on their timeline or social media feed. And if people never see past the start card, they’ll never see any other part of your ad.

Some apps use calls to action or phrases that introduce gameplay or explain to the user what they should do, almost like a mini-tutorial. For example, Gardenscapes will use a CTA like “Save Your Garden!” or “Make a Choice to Save Them!”

Some apps try to capture the consumer’s attention by using phrases such as “The Best Matching Game” or “It’s Harder Than It Looks!” on their start cards. These kinds of phrases draw the consumer to watch the video instead of scrolling past it.

Image is from @sensortower

End Cards

End cards are used to pique interest in the game based on the call to action and the brand slogan.

Most end cards have the app’s name and a call to action like “Accept the Challenge!” or “Try it Yourself!” Some include a button, too, with copy like “Download Now!” or “Play Now!” And once again, if you have information about player profiles, apply that knowledge to your end card copy. It’s the perfect place to use it.

video ad creative
Image is from @sensortower

Many advertisers also include prompts to download their app on the app store/Google Play, but we don’t recommend that. Including the platform logos often suppresses conversion rates by 10-15%.

Text Placement, Fonts, Colors & Emojis

How text looks and where it’s placed can have a big effect on conversion rates. Again, you can get some ideas from your competitors’ ads in the Facebook Ads Library and other tools, but we like to position text towards the top and bottom of the screen and to use bright, pure colors for optimal response rates.

User acquisition managers or teams may want to manage these aspects of ads:

  • Call to actions
  • Messaging
  • Buttons
  • Headers and Footers

But Creative Teams should be given authority to pick text attributes like color and position, plus background images, button colors and fonts, and video ad aspect ratios and ad lengths.

video ad creative
Image is from @sensortower

Aspect Ratios

This aspect of your ads can have a huge effect on performance.

We recommend every advertiser use at least these three aspect ratios in their campaigns:

video ad creative

Of course, creating videos for every ratio and placement size is a lot of work. This is why only your highest-performing video ads should be made into every possible size and aspect ratio. Otherwise, you’ll just waste a lot of time and budget creating endless versions of low-performing videos.

That said, because Facebook and Google’s media buying is mostly automated now, any video you run may be seen across a huge array of properties. This is part of why we recommend using videos so much – we’ve found that 45% of total impressions on iOS are from video ads. For Q4 2019, the top 23 app-install creatives on Facebook’s mobile ad network were videos (excluding playable ads), according to Sensor Tower Ad Intelligence data.

Also consider creating more than one video, even if you can’t afford robust video ad creative testing. We’ve found that adding just two videos to almost any campaign will increase conversions by 25%. The more you spend, the more videos you need, too. Advertisers spending even $50,000-$75,000 per month should create at least four new high-performing videos per month.

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Creative & UA Best Practices For Facebook, Google, TikTok & Snap ads.