With 8 billion video views a day, Facebook is the place to get your video ad seen. But not just any video ad will do. In a sea of content, videos that include creative hooks are going to get get far more views (and better results).
If you’re not familiar with “the hook” concept or just want to refine your hook approach, we have some tips to help you achieve the best possible results for your hard-earned ad and production dollars—and make your Facebook video ads unmissable.
Why is your Facebook video ads hook so critically important?
When you invest your time and budget in making a Facebook video ad, you’re banking on the hope that your ad will bear fruit in the form of sales or conversions. Your goal from the get-go should be to make every second of that video count, but if you don’t wow your viewers in the introduction, you can kiss your conversions goodbye. That’s where your hook—the first 10 seconds of your video ad—comes in.
Let me explain why the hook is so important to make your Facebook video ad unmissable.
Reason #1: Facebook users are always in a hurry
Think about how you use Facebook—are you slowly browsing and intently reading every post and watching every video that shows up in your feed? Of course not. Just like everyone else, you’re probably just browsing—using a rapid scroll style while searching for something that catches your eye—and so are your customers.
Image via Facebook
A recent Canadian study shows that the average Facebook user’s person’s attention span has shrunk down to just eight seconds! And Facebook’s own research shows that when viewing Facebook ads, the attention span of users age 18 to 24 is a whopping 75% less than that of users ages 65 and over.
Reason #2: Facebook ads play automatically
Facebook ads are usually always set to auto play, so the title and thumbnail isn’t the thing that is going to grab your audience’s attention; it’s the first few seconds of your video.
Reason #3: You can retarget short ad views
When using Facebook video ads to promote your product, service or company, the goal is always to get your viewer to stick around for the entire video. But you can also get measurable results from people viewing your video from three seconds to 10 seconds. These are both times trackable by Facebook ad manager. With these short views, you can then re-target these viewers with other ads in the following days or weeks to close the marketing loop.
How to improve your Facebook video ads
Now that you’re starting to understand why the early moments of a video ad are so critical, it’s time to think about some quick and creative ways you can capture your viewer’s attention. Use these strategies to build a powerful intro and make the most of your video’s first 10 seconds.
1. Use a blurred image for the intro
When Facebook videos load, they all have one thing in common—a momentarily blurry screen. Piggyback on this fact by kicking off your video with an equally blurry image, just for a few seconds. This little trick is a slight deviation from the norm, so it’s likely to stand out to scrollers.
2. Make your brand mark early
Whether your aim is to drive traffic to your website or retail stores, get viewers to click-through to buy or join an email list, or another action, you’ll win some cool points by planting the basics of your brand within the early moments of your messaging. Your brand should actually show up within the first three seconds! Facebook has found that consumers are 23% more likely to remember a brand if it is featured in the first three seconds of the ad. Show your audience what your brand stands for to help build trust and brand awareness, and improve the chances that they’ll follow through on the call to action
In this bright and colorful ad, Harmony Proteins opens the video with their logo to make sure people remember the brand even if they don’t finish the video.
3. Get your message across with or without sound
Roughly 85% of Facebook video views happen with the sound turned off, so a big part of the 10-second trick is being able to grab a viewer’s attention without the luxury of voice-over or music. Since most videos play automatically without sound, forcing viewers to click to turn sound on, it’s almost an afterthought. Also, Facebook users tend to scroll in public places where it can be hard to hear, or in environments like work or school where turning sound on isn’t even an option. Combat the potential sound deficit with bold visuals, clear stories with obvious visuals, and the use of graphic text to convey any crucial messaging.
4. Shoot for high production quality
Think about how many opportunities Facebook users have to stay and watch during their scrolling time. Would you give your precious time to a video that looks like it’s a budget saver? Viewers can tell the difference between low-quality video production and high-quality videos. If you cut corners, it’ll show. When you make the extra effort to hire a production team known for polished, professional videos, you’ll see rewards in terms of how your video marketing performs. Not only does going with a high-quality production win viewers, but it also helps establish your brand as one of style and quality—and lets people know you value their time. Also, since most of the content on Facebook is user-generated, a well-done, pro video ad will help you stand out from other videos in the feed. Just be careful not to make it look too polished (more on this below).
In this ad, UAG uses a super slow-motion camera to really up the production value and grab the attention of the viewers.
5. Present your offer early
If you’ve got a value proposition you’d like to extend to your viewers, why “bury the lead,” as they say? It’s that something special that gives your ad an edge, so put it out there as early as you possibly can. Let the offer be the thing that hooks them, then spend the rest of your video telling them why and how they’ll benefit from doing what they’re tempted to do—take you up on your offer! And, if you’re wondering what kind of offer viewers will respond to best, do a few versions of the video with different promotions to test the impact of each.
6. Be bold with graphics
Don’t be modest; tell your viewers what you’re offering and why you’re the best company/product/brand for the job with captivating graphics that communicates your messaging clearly to your audience. Great graphics that are eye-catching not only help hook your viewer in the first 10 seconds, but also ensure that everyone understands your story with or without sound. Graphic text can be used in the intro to tease a later payoff, drop your value proposition right away or reinforce already strong visuals.
Take this example.
In this video, Nekter uses bold graphics and imagery to keep the viewer engaged and entertained through the entire ad.
7. Add in visual effects
What might make the average Facebook user stop and stay on your video? It’s often something that’s so graphically different that it jumps off the screen. Visual effects can be the differentiator that you need to command attention within the first few seconds of your Facebook video ad. While off-the-wall effects may not fit within the brand image of, say, a high-end law firm, it could be just what the doctor ordered if you’re a film school trying to recruit on the basis of innovation. Recent trends include shaking images, bouncing visuals and sliding transitions, but, again, the point is to stand out from what’s popular. Defer to your production team to help find the right fit for visual effects.
XFX uses the power of visual effects to bring the viewer into the experience of a 3D glasses.
Facebook viewers of all ages love a good animation because they’re easy to understand and fun to watch. Whether you decide to animate the intro only or the whole ad, animations can be an enjoyable way to package your messaging. Even if the viewer isn’t necessarily a big fan of animation, the illustrated style is definitely a deviation from the influx of static photos and similar videos on Facebook. You may be a step ahead, just by choosing to go animated. It’s also a terrific way to present complex or unsexy stats, product details, and other information in a more vibrant way.
In this example below, Zivelo uses the power of animation to explain BIG ideas in a short amount of time.
9. Look and feel native
While your Facebook ad should encapsulate a high production quality, you don’t want it to be so professional that it comes off as inauthentic. If it looks too much like an ad, you risk losing trust. Some of the styles that companies are using today to stay relatable to their target Facebook audience include shooting the spokesperson or actors with selfie angles, going with a vlog feel and realistic environments and backgrounds (as opposed to fake studio sets or green screens). In some cases, you’ll connect with audiences more by mimicking the look and feel of native content.
A good example is this ad below, run in the summer for Stella Artois and featuring Idris Elba.
Though the production had a big brand backing it, along with a big movie star, the ad doesn’t feel over produced.
10. Get to the point
Are you debuting a brand new product, dangling a limited time offer or explaining how your new product works? Rather than a slow build, use the “short and sweet” principle and get to the point quickly. Remember, your viewers have places to be! Make your point within the 10-second window. If you want to expand a little later with testimonials, product details or instructions, go ahead, just make sure it’s clear why you’re making the video a few moments in.
Take a look at this video. Liquipel jumps right into it by showing the actor in the video drenched in water.
The ad is to talk about the waterproof technology, and it doesn’t wait to tell you—rather it jumps right in and shows you.
11. Borrow the news model
Facebook is much more than a social medium; in fact, 43% of users go here to get their news. Depending on your brand image and the messaging of your video ad, you may want to try a news style to help attract viewers and increase your chances of getting organic shares. Recreating the serious tone of news broadcasts with a third-person narration may make certain types of viewers sit up and take notice. You can also use graphic text to highlight the important points of your message, similar to what you might see on the news.
A great resource is lumen5, which many news organizations use for quick reporting on social media.
Now, go and hook those Facebook ad views!
Here’s a recap of the 11 ways to improve your Facebook video ad with a killer hook:
- Use a blurred image for the intro
- Make your brand mark early
- Get your message across with or without sound
- Shoot for high production quality
- Present your offer early
- Be bold with graphics
- Add in visual effects
- Look and feel native
- Get to the point
- Borrow the news model
Now that you know a few things about developing a strong and creative 10-second hook, you’re ready to make a video. Follow these guidelines and you’ll end up with a captivating Facebook video ad that stands out from the rest and gets real results.
About the author
Torrey Tayenaka founded his first production startup in high school. Today, he is CEO of Sparkhouse, which focuses on high-concept, branded video production. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse and Forge54.