All Signs Point To Video Ads Being Your Best Investment On Facebook

by Amanda Oliver April 21, 2016
April 21, 2016

TL;DR Version:

  • Video ads on Facebook perform better than link or carousel ads

  • Canvas ads are killing it with user engagement versus traditional ads

  • Instant Articles are Canvas Ads’ more grown-up cousin and they have integrated video ads

  • Live broadcast video is Facebook’s newest frontier, and shows extremely high levels of engagement

  • The inclusion of ads within the live broadcast feature may take user engagement to an entirely new level


With the F8 Conference last week, the tech world has been abuzz with all of the innovations and changes that Facebook continues to introduce. Virtual reality and its impact on the social network have captured much of the media attention.

However, less discussed were the changes to video as the launch of Instant Articles and Facebook’s focus on live video. Both of these changes will not only make video ads more popular, but they also suggest significantly higher ROIs for advertisers and brands.

Let’s break down how these changes are going to revolutionize the video ad game.


Video ads on Facebook have already been showing a significantly higher ROI for both lead generation and ecommerce. In Q1, we had multiple campaigns provide proof that video is the most cost effective ad type for reaching your potential consumers.

In lead generation, not only were the acquisition costs 14% lower for video over link ads, but they had a 66 % higher conversion rate over carousel ads.

Ecommerce performed even better, with a 25% reduction in CPA for video over link ads.

And your CFO would be pleased to hear that video had an 175% return on ad spend as well.


These numbers prove the power of video ads on Facebook, and the inclusion of video ads within Instant Articles will likely create an even stronger return. Instant Articles, which officially launched April 12th, are a seamless integration of content into the Facebook newsfeed.

These articles will also open with a full screen in mobile, providing users an “immersive” experience, where they can tilt and move through images and text. With this launch, Facebook is allowing an additional video ad unit at the bottom of each Instant Article.

Tech Times interviewed marketing experts who believe that the inclusion of video ads in Instant Articles will boost impressions by 20%.

This move to include video ads in Instant Articles comes after Facebook launched Canvas ads in February. Canvas ads were billed in a similar manner to Instant Articles, in that the ad would increase user engagement “by covering the[…] whole mobile screen with an advertisement.”

Paresh Rajwat, the product lead for Canvas, told reporters that in early trials of Canvas ads, more than half of users viewed at least 50% of the ads.

Even better, the average time spent viewing the ads was 31 seconds.

It isn’t a stretch to assume that the performance of Canvas ads is indicative of how Instant Articles will perform. Combined with the powerful performance already proven by video ads on their own, video ads within Instant Articles point to a strong possibility of lower CPAs and a higher ROI.


One of the splashier announcements at F8 was the discussion of live broadcast and its ability to connect people across Facebook. While there have been no immediate plans for the monetization of the live broadcasts, that addition cannot be far in the future.

Snapchat has already tapped into advertising with their “Live Stories” section, as well as having brands sponsor filters that users can add. Connecting with users in a live streaming environment makes perfect sense, when all indicators show that there is a hyper level of engagement between users and live broadcasters.

As TechCrunch and others have noted, it seems likely that Facebook is getting users used to live video within their feeds first, before the company makes the move to include ads. As another reporter surmised, “Facebook has a history of building content and features that focus first on the user experience without placing emphasis initially on monetization, but then later carving a revenue path for the content or feature via ads.”


The numbers from our campaigns prove that video performs better than more static ad methods. With video ads now included in the higher performing Instant Articles, it appears likely that video ads are set to provide even stronger ROIs and lower CPAs.

And Facebook’s rollout of live broadcasting may just take engagement between your brand and users to an entirely new level. Only time will tell if these original numbers hold true for the predictions of Instant Article and Live Video performance, but jumping on the video ad train now is an excellent bet.

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