To get your message across on social media, you have to make video ads that are short and specific. To win over new customers, advertising needs to achieve two goals: entertain the viewer and inform the viewer. The ideal mobile-video ad length, by platform Mobile videos have to be short and to the point. Facebook feed ad: 10–30 seconds Before Facebook became a feeding frenzy for advertisers across industries, users paid more attention to ads. Instagram feed ad: 30 seconds or less Instagram is a highly engaging platform, but people still scroll past ads. To get people to stick around longer, Instagram puts a countdown clock in the top corner of video ads. In the case of Instagram Stories ads, the platform doesn’t give you much choice: The maximum time limit is 15 seconds. four videos. Perhaps most importantly, the ads were created for Stories in particular. No matter how long your videos are, if you’re not using vertical aspects and including native features like swipe and tap, you’ll miss out on valuable audience attention.
What do you think about this?
In the first article of our mobile-video series, we talked about why video creative matters for a mobile-first audience. Now, let’s get into specific strategies for video ads.
First things first: Short videos work best in the News Feed and in Stories.
By 2021, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Most people are watching video on the go, tapping and scrolling whenever they get bored. Thumbs are poised and ready to skip your ad. At most, you have three seconds, but probably less, to capture viewers’ attention.
In the mobile-video era, people simply don’t have the patience to stick around for videos they didn’t seek out. To get your message across on social media, you have to make video ads that are short and specific. Here’s why.
There’s a growing attention gap on social media
Unlike on TV, you can’t tell an entire story in mobile video. You have to narrow your focus to a single goal. And you have to make your case in a matter of seconds, before another post, brand, or notification takes someone’s attention away.
There’s a significant gap between marketers’ desire to reach audiences and audiences’ desire to pay attention to advertising. This is what’s known as the attention gap, and it’s grown wider since the rise of the News Feed. Facebook and other social media companies are constantly figuring out better ways to deliver a refreshing stream of hyper-relevant content about users’ personal networks. If advertisers can’t compete with that organic content, they lose.
To win over new customers, advertising needs to achieve two goals: entertain the viewer and inform the viewer. But according to Thales Teixeira, a professor at Harvard Business School, the time allotted on social media means that advertisers often can’t do both:
“The need to grab attention means that the entertainment factor is really important. Ad design and creative really matters. A good ad creates a bridge from grabbing attention to persuading on another channel.”
Short videos that stick to a single message will help viewers instantly understand what your brand’s about, making them more likely to act on that knowledge later.
The ideal mobile-video ad length, by platform
Mobile videos have to be short and to the point. But how short depends on the platform. Creating platform-specific videos will increase your chances of bridging the attention gap. Let’s break it down.
Snapchat: 8–10 seconds
Snapchat makes it really easy for users to bypass ads. Tap once and the ad disappears. But that hasn’t stopped video marketers from investing in the platform, which has high engagement rates from millennial and Gen-Z users.
A study of Snapchat ads by MediaRadar points to an average video length of 8 seconds. The same study said that 60% of Snapchat video ads lasted 8–10 seconds. Some advertisers created videos that were even shorter, around 3–5 seconds.
These World Wildlife Fund Snapchat ads include one image and one line of text, keeping it super simple and to the point. The result is a powerful campaign for protecting endangered species.
Facebook feed ad: 10–30 seconds
Before Facebook became a feeding frenzy for advertisers across industries, users paid more attention to ads. At one point, videos lasting 30-60 seconds performed best. And sometimes, longer videos do work if an ad is exceptionally well targeted or well made. Of course, advertisers have different goals — maybe you want…