Facebook Video May Be Hot, But Personalization Is the Real Payoff

Opinion: Creative best practices for turning your TV ads into video content that drives impact

A video ad on Facebook will drive much better results if it is targeted to her
RoBeDeRo/iStock

What actually drives the best outcomes on the world’s largest social media platform?

“We’ve done quite a bit of research where we’ve scored hundreds of thousands of display and video ads and looked at the relationship of creative elements to outcomes,” Facebook director of advertising research Daniel Slotwiner recently said in an interview. “We see consistently that the dimensions of creative that align with particular objectives explain a lot of variance in outcomes … 20 percent to 30 percent of outcomes are explained by creative variance.”

Within Facebook’s News Feed, brands are competing for attention with friends, family and personal relationships. To actually win in that game requires a renewed approach to creative. Brands need to take the customer, the brand and the business objectives into account to build video ads that promote the brand but also resonate with the user on a personal level. Said differently, to be successful with video on Facebook, brands need to “make relevance relevant.”

I’ve been working in media for more than 15 years, and I have spent the last several completely focused on creating one-to-one customer experiences, including personalizing video for social media. In my experience, these are the top five creative best practices for adapting video ads to Facebook.

Tap into Facebook user behavior: It’s fundamentally different from TV

TV ads aren’t made for Facebook. “You can’t just take your ads that were on the last platform and then port them over to the new one,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, in a recent Fast Company article.

Marketers have spent a ton of money on high-quality creative already, so it makes sense that they would want to just rework it for Facebook. Unfortunately, that approach is usually ineffective.

Instead, brands need to edit and adapt creative assets to work on Facebook, which might mean adding images, layering in new motion graphics or generating additional video content that is better suited for a social environment.

Additionally, traditional TV ads are created for the one-to-many approach, as opposed to the one-to-one approach. Due to the enhanced targeting capabilities on Facebook, brands shouldn’t just send the same message to their entire target audience. By combining existing and new assets, brands can craft personalized ads for Facebook users, which creates resonance for your brand. A typical TV ad can’t provide this level of personalization on its own.

Identify customers according to their buying habits

Who you’re talking to matters. Consider what kind of buyer each specific user is and personalize video ads geared toward their buying habits with the brand.

For example, you wouldn’t talk about a product the same way to a male versus a female audience, so why say the same thing to a competitive buyer and a loyalist? The question becomes: What if you could pair your audience information with specific creative to show one ad to light female buyers and a different ad to lapsed male buyers?

With all of the personalization available on Facebook, brands need to consider how their message should be personalized for each unique user factoring in their previous interactions with the brand.

Personalize by time and device throughout the day

How a user interacts with Facebook varies throughout the day, and brands need to consider all of the ways they can and should connect with consumers at various times.

Think about how to create a resonant journey, personalizing the message and delivery for their audience across times and activities. To effectively execute a resonant journey, analyze how time of day impacts consumer engagement and build a plan and execute creative differently according to:

  • Daypart
  • Location
  • Activity

For example, creative video assets targeting a morning train commuter should be optimized for muted viewing with automatic subtitles and thumb-stopping content for users scrolling through. For viewers relaxing at home with their tablets in the evening, you could leverage more engaging, storytelling content, like user-generated video within ads or longer-form video.

Design for mobile first

Brands need to build videos that are mobile-first, meaning that how the video is captured, rendered and edited works for mobile applications as the primary channel, not TV as the primary channel.