Moving on from 30 second Facebook Ads

For many years the standard thoughts on Facebook Ads were to aim for 30 seconds. This became a general rule and even though most people would stop watching after 8 or 10 seconds the 30-second rule became established.

With Facebook pushing for original video content creation, they beta tested something called Facebook Ad Breaks a couple of years ago in the US. Now Facebook Ad Breaks is available more widespread. If your Facebook videos ads are produced on the 30-second rule then you need to change. If you don’t you will be missing out on visibility within major live broadcasts and original video on Facebook.

The reason is these ad breaks are restricted to 20 seconds in length.

So what are Facebook ad breaks?

Facebook ad breaks is a monetisation option that content creators can tap into to make money off their videos. But it’s only available to the big content creators. It’s available for pages with:

  • at least 10,000 followers
  • 15,000 post engagements within the last 60 days
  • 180,000 minutes of viewed video on your page in the last 60 days
  • 30,000 1 minute view times of videos in the last 60 days.

You can see that to take advantage of ad breaks a Facebook page needs to be a large and active community. An ideal place to get your ads shown.

When a page is live broadcasting the page can choose to decide on when to add an ad break – of at most 20 seconds. They can add the first ad break after 4 minutes of first streaming and then every 5 minutes after the first ad break.

Page owners can also allow Facebook to determine when to place ads in their stream or video after live broadcasting has completed.

What video ad durations are being used?

A 20-second video ad will be the longest that will fit into the ad break slot. So if you are still producing 30-second ads you are automatically not going to have your ad shown.

But even 20 seconds could be too long. Looking at some of the ads that are being shown 10-second ads seem to be the most frequently shown. But Google is showing 5-second video ads.

Generally, video ads work better than image ads on Facebook. They get shown to more people and have lower costs. But they also lose the attention of the viewer really quickly. Facebooks own research shows that unless it is really special the majority of video ads will lose viewers attention after just 8 seconds.

This makes a 10-second video ad as being close to the borderline of viewers attention. If you make your call to action at the end of a 10-second ad you will be missing out on most of the initial viewers. You need to start your call to action midway through your video.

With Google now showing 5-second ads you can be sure that this is an effective length. Google will be closely monitoring their data. They have the resources and knowledge to really get to know the effectiveness of video ads. If they are rolling out and sticking with 5-second ads then you can be confident there is a reason for this.

Increase the chance of video ad being shown in popular Facebook live streams

The good thing about getting your Facebook video ads own to 10-seconds and even 5-seconds is that you substantially increase the chance of your video ad being shown in these popular pages and live video streams. A 20-second break will allow for 2 10-second ads to be selected and 4 5-second ads to be selected.

One of the interesting things I find about the Google 5 second ad is that it is now spilling out in normal newsfeed ads. This would suggest that Google is finding the short format ad very effective and better at converting than their previous ads.

A 5-second ad does raise a challenge though, especially if you are used to telling a 30-second story. A 5-second ad barely gives you the time to attract attention before having to close the deal. But perhaps that is the best way for Facebook ads now. After all, 95% of Facebook users are now accessing and using the platform on smartphones. People don’t want to watch long ads.

Start the ad with movement to catch the eye and attention and then deliver your closing statements. Short, simple and effective.

Test your short-form and long-form video ads

So am I suggesting you dump all your 30-second videos and switch over to short-form ads. Not at all. But you need to have some 10 and 20-second ads in your video ad library to take advantage of the new Facebook Ad Breaks opportunities otherwise you are going to miss out on a growing advertising opportunity. I would also suggest trying out a 5-second ad.

Then monitor and test. If indeed those short-form video ads are delivering lower cost and higher conversion then you can start to drop those longer video ads.

Facebook wants to become a video streaming platform, not just a social media one. It’s investing heavily in its original video content. It’s opening up monetization opportunities for its video creators. It would be foolish to miss out on this growth area because your video ads are too long.

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