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A creative, high-quality video posted on Facebook or YouTube that plays to the viewer’s wants, motivations and needs can go far to bridge the gap between you and your target customers. No matter what your video’s purpose — to explain a complex product or service in simple terms, to make company-wide announcements or to help drive traffic to an ecommerce site — placement is key. In other words, where your message lives is just as important as the actual message itself.

Overlooking where the finished video will eventually be posted can be a big barrier to success and undermine all the hard work you’ve put into making it. Before you choose Facebook or YouTube, spend some time to understand the differences between two dominant social media outlets, and approach your video’s production with its home in mind. Deciding early will also help you better prepare your Facebook or YouTube ad strategy and ad buy, since the ad characteristics that will successfully drive viewers to your video are just as different as the two social media sites.

How audiences view Facebook and YouTube

YouTube

When people visit YouTube, they are going on the website with the specific intent to watch videos. What this really means is that your viewers are already primed for a video watching experience. They likely already have time to sit and watch. They are also probably looking at the proper screen for quality video viewing, and have access to decent audio via speakers or headphones.

Facebook

When people visit Facebook, they tend to be on the go, using their phone in line at Starbucks or hurrying between meetings, and typically are jumping around a lot on the site. If your viewer is on a computer, he or she is probably at work, in class or somewhere where they don’t have the luxury of time. All of these scenarios are not ideal for watching videos with undivided attention. Small screens and audio limitations mean your Facebook audience probably will not enjoy the full effect you intended them to get from your video marketing.

How to adapt

When creating videos for your Facebook page and the supporting Facebook video ads, you can help the distracted viewer out by making sure the videos can be completely understood with visuals only.

Try this:

  • Use large bold text and graphics.
  • Make sure the visuals explain themselves (think “Tasty” recipe videos).
  • Add subtitles where needed.
  • Work in animations to engage an audience without audio.

Another thing to take into consideration is that when people watch YouTube videos or ads, they are forced to watch them in order to view the content they are looking for, whereas with Facebook, users just scroll right on by if they are not interested. Make sure that your content is engaging and draws the viewer in during the first three seconds, otherwise you will likely lose them.

Here are a few more tips for making a successful Facebook video ad:

Keep it short: The current format is 60 seconds, but for most people that’s too long. It’s typical for viewers to spend just seconds on a video, and they might not engage at all if it appears long.

Engage them: Make sure the entire video is purposeful and interesting. Don’t waste your viewers’ time. If they choose to spend it on your video, you’ve got to use every second and give them a reason to be there,

Add a bonus: Make a compelling offer or deal that will drive the viewer to visit your site, purchase your product or take another action.

 

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