Landon Yarborough
Digital Marketing Manager
[ types of video ]

4 Steps to Killer Social Media Video Ads

Why Social Media Video Advertising

The average person will spend over 5 years of their life on social media, more than eating, drinking, and socializing combined! Before you get existential thinking about your own excessive social media use, think how this could benefit your business. Videos in the form of social media advertisements are the perfect way to capture attention and engage leads.


Social Media Ads are often formatted from existing content

What’s so fantastic about social ads is it’s easy to create them out of other videos. Usually you don’t specifically film social ads, but you edit other videos into shorter versions formatted specifically for social media. For example, if a company wanted a 60-second brand video, we could also cut that into a 10-15 second social ad for a limited additional cost. However if a customer does want only social ad videos, several can be made from one day of production. 

You may be asking yourself, why not just upload the original video? Well, you can. But usually, the original video isn’t the most effective social content. A social media ad should have 4 qualities: initial captivation, calls to action, optimized format, and be short.

Make it Initially Captivating

Most of us have quick thumb syndrome. That’s something I just made up that means most of us scroll through social media quickly and mindlessly. Due to the rampant nature of quick thumb syndrome, it’s vital to capture a user’s attention in the first three to five seconds of a social ad. Make it sexy! Make it interesting! Rope the viewer in! While all videos should be captivating, social ads should be designed for engagement drop off

Clear CTAs

Though many types of videos include some form of a call to action, the CTAs on social media ads must be clear, action-oriented, and timely. Generally, the point of a social ad is to encourage viewers to take action. An effective CTA will do one of the following:

  • Promise something extra/free
  • Use active language (download, like, donate, etc.)
  • Create an urgency to act

You can even run 
A/B testing with two or more different CTAs on the same video and see what CTA gets the most engagement. You may find there’s a big difference between “Download our E-book” and “Download our Free E-book Now.”

Social Media Ads

Optimized Format

On most social platforms, square video is the optimal format. This is a new trend since mobile is now the preferred device for social consumption- and square video takes up 78% more screen space in your news feed. 
Social Media Ads
As long as there isn’t complex animation, reformatting a video for square use is relatively easy to do in post-production. However, makes sure your production team knows that this content will be converted into square video, so that a square frame is considered during filming.

Short and Sweet

According to Hubspot, optimal length is 30 seconds for Instagram, 45 seconds for Twitter, 60 seconds for Facebook, and 2 minutes for YouTube. Don’t worry, this doesn’t need to be exact, but shorter social ads are usually better. If you capture attention within a few seconds, interested users will keep watching. Peep the infographic below for more details. 
Social Media Ads
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In Conclusion

Regardless of whether your social videos are for advertising or organic use, always upload social videos natively for the most reach. Your social ads don’t have to be limited to Facebook and Instagram. YouTube pre-roll ads are a great way to get more use out of your content. 

If interested in learning how to optimize videos for your website, check out more from Wistia

Since 77% of U.S. Americans have social media profiles and 32% of humans (well… some non-humans too) have a social media account social media ads are the perfect way to reach your target personas. With a quality video that has a captivating intro, clear CTA, proper formatting, and short length, you’ve got yourself an optimized social media ad.