7 Tips for Successful Social Media Video Ads

Maybritt Peters
Maybritt Peters
7 Tips for Successful Social Media Video Ads

Social media offers the perfect environment for video ads. But how do you get your video ads noticed and reach your target audience? Here are seven tips that can help you improve your social media video ads.

7 social media video ad tips

Start with your target group

Without the definition of a concrete target group, all further steps in the creation of your social media video ads are likely to be much more difficult. If you don't know who you're speaking to, it's hard to know if the ads you've created are resonating at all!

So do yourself a favor and ask yourself who you want to target with your video ad.

  • Who are these people?
  • What are their needs and interests?
  • What problems does your product or service solve for them?
  • What is the benefit of your product or service to your target audience over your competitors? (Think USP)

The more precisely you define your target group, the more tailored your content can be to their interests and needs. This is true for all content, social media, advertisement, or otherwise.

Find out what added value your offer provides and how its social media video ads can improve the lives of the people who most need it. If you'd like to dig deeper into creating social media buyer personas and target group analysis, you should check out the linked blogpost.

Most social media platforms offer sophisticated targeting options that help optimize content for your target group. This usually includes ideal placement and affinity categories that are determined by individual users.

Your social media video ads must send a clear message

Clarity is key. What does that mean?

  • Be short. Think 15-25 seconds for most ads.
  • Get to the point with a solid hook
  • Pick a specific angle for your video and stick to it.

Short: While there may be a few select exceptions, shorter is almost always better, especially in B2B and among younger Gen Z and Millennial users, who are skip advertising content they don't want to see.

This last point is key because sending a clear message means cutting extraneous content from your social media video advertisements and focusing solely on what matters most.

If your buyer personas are well developed, and you have a well defined target audience, picking the topics that matter most shouldn't be hard.

When formulating your message, make sure that it is simple, clear and easy to understand.

Generally, avoid jargon or complicated language. To illustrate your message, you can try to use examples or case studies that show how your product makes life better for users.

While you may be inclined to use the video format to dive deep into the specifics of your product – resist! Instead, focus on the customer benefits.

Start off strong

Depending on the platform and format, video ads can vary in length.

Most of the time, we recommend working with shorter video ads that do not exceed 15 seconds in length. The attention spans of many social users are limited, and you need to get your message across in as little time as possible, especially with advertisement material.

When making social media video ads, whenever possible, ensure that you convey the most important information in the first three to five seconds to pique the interest of your target audience and motivate them to watch more.

Here are a few teaser ideas to keep your viewers watching:

  • Visual triggers: Use quick cuts and scene changes paired with an unexpected sound. This builds suspense for the viewer and demands attention.
  • Emotional triggers that speak directly to the target audience. Try asking a surprising question or a provocative statement. Ask a question or problem that directly affects the target audience. A question can help create a connection with viewers and engagement.
  • Experiment with humor to entertain viewers and engage them in a casual way. Humor can create a strong connection with viewers and get them interested in your product or service.

Entertaining, but authentic

An important tip for video ads on social media is that the content may be entertaining, but at the same time should remain authentic. Entertaining content, especially in the first few second can catch the attention of viewers and motivate them to watch the video to the end.

The absolute best option with video ads is to design them in such a way that they do not look like advertising.

But humor may not be ideal for every video type. Content should always match the brand and the product or service being advertised; in line with the brand's identity.

Authenticity in a video ad can be achieved by using real customers or employees, authentic stories, or natural language. An honest and authentic portrayal of the brand and product can increase viewer trust and help build long-term customer relationships.

One excellent way to achieve this higher level of authenticity is with employer branding and corporate influencers.

Is audio necessary for social media video ads?

Music and other sound effects can undoubtedly add a special touch to your video ad. However, video ads should also work without sound.

A study by Digiday showed that 75% of videos on social media are viewed without sound. This high percentage is due to the modern use of mobile devices to access social media. Users spend a lot of time in waiting situations such as on public transport or at the doctor's office. Video ads are therefore often viewed in places where the sound may not be turned on or could be distracting.

As a result, a video ad that relies on audio could lose some of its value.

So conversely, a video ad that can be understood without audio can increase the likelihood that an ad is viewed entirely. To ensure that a video ad works without sound, it should be designed to be visually appealing and informative.

Subtitles or text overlays can help convey the message of the ad and give users a way to understand the content without sound.

If you'd like to learn some best practices, follow this link to discover why and how to add music to an Instagram Story.

Use portrait format!

Things have changed and while landscape video used to be the preferred format for its wider screen, thanks to more recent trends in social usage (perhaps related to how we naturally hold our phones), vertical video is now the norm.

Yet despite this clear trend, we still see many videos that don't follow this very important format. So here are some reasons why your social media video ads need to be in portrait format.

  • User-friendliness. Video ads in portrait format better adapt to the natural way people hold and use their mobile devices. This means that users can view the video ad more easily and comfortably without the need to turn their device sideways.
  • More space in the newsfeed: video ads in portrait format make better use of the available space in the newsfeed than videos in landscape format. This allows the ad to take up more space on users' devices, and thus attract more attention.
  • Cost: Also, 9:16 is a convenient format in that you could also rotate the content yourself with your smartphone. Especially if you're on a budget - a huge advantage.

For more tips and tricks on how to properly format short-form videos and ads on social media, we created this simple infographic your video design team can use as a creation reference.

Don't forget a strong CTA!

A call-to-action (CTA) is important at the end of a video ad to give users some form of engageable activity they can use to build a relationship with you and your product or service.

CTAs help users to understand how to take steps towards their newfound goals. Without a CTA at the end of the video ad, viewers may not know what to do next or feel sufficiently prompted to visit your website or offers.

Some of the most effective CTAs can direct users to your website or landing page, push them to subscribe to some form of content distribution, or to get more information or buy a product, among other things.

A well-worded CTA can help increase conversions, attract potential customers, and boost the success of your campaign.

Take time to ensure that your CTA is powerful and ideally less generic.


Social media video ads are an effective way to reach a defined target audience and create a strong emotional connection with them. Creating relevant messaging that is short and sweet is the best way to drive a fundamental interest in your products.

Taking advantage of these seven tips can help ensure that your paid media campaigns are more effective, which can mean a lot of savings to your bottom line!

Want to dive deeper into the video? Take a look at our extensive guide to short-form video on social media and find out how you can optimize video for all major platforms including TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube Shorts, Instagram and more.

Maybritt Peters
Maybritt Peters

More about the author

Maybritt is a Hamburg-based Online Marketing Manager at facelift. A Master in Marketing, agency experience, and continuous training in a variety of digital marketing topics make her a valued author of the facelift blog.
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