Social Media

How Long Should a Facebook Video Ad Be?

How long should a Facebook Video Ad be? Should it be short or should it be the length of a Shakespearean monologue? We’ve polled experts to get their opinions.

Mariana Santiago Mariana Santiago on February 24, 2021 (last modified on August 2, 2021) • 14 minute read

A picture is worth more than a thousand words – and a thousand words alone can get a marketer’s point across quite easily. That’s why Video Ads are the newest craze among Facebook advertisers, who’ve fallen in love with the medium.

With high return on ad spend and a great average conversion rate, Facebook Video Ads might be the best thing since sliced break. But what’s a Facebook Video Ad, anyway? How do you even make one? And how long should it be?

Let’s discuss.

Facebook Ads Dashboard Template

What is a Facebook Video Ad?

If you’ve been on Facebook any time in the last several years, you’ve inevitably seen an advertisement by now. As you might have guessed, a Facebook Video Ad is an advertisement placed on Facebook that happens to be a video.

Facebook Video Ads can be placed in a number of locations: you can try in-stream video ads if you’d like to have viewers see your advertisements while they’re already in the flow of watching cat videos; use a Feed placement if you’d rather browsers spot your advertisements in the midst of doom-scrolling through their Facebook feed; or place your advertisements within the Stories section if you’d prefer to “create and engage just like your customers”, as Facebook says on its own page about Facebook Video Ads (and no, we’re not quite sure what exactly that means, either.)

How Do You Make a Facebook Video Ad?

If you’re interested in making your own Facebook Video Ad for your business, the first step is to create a video. You can use a tool like Promo, InVideo, or even the movie maker software that comes pre-installed on your laptop to get this accomplished.

Once that’s done, you have two options for getting your video into Facebook’s lucrative ad network. You can either use a Boosted Post – that is, a post your business’s page makes that you pay to ‘boost’, or get more eyes on – to create a Facebook Video Ad, or you can upload the video directly into Facebook’s Ad network by using the Facebook Ad Manager.

How Long Should a Facebook Video Ad Be?

Alright! You know what a Facebook Video Ad is; you know how to make a quick video fit to be an advertisement – but that’s where you run into a snag.

How quick is quick?

In fact, just how long should a Facebook Video Ad be in the first place?

how long should a Facebook video be

Never fear! We’ve polled a group of experts and collected their best advice on exactly how long a Facebook Video Ad should be to maximize your business’s ROI.

Read on to hear their opinions.

< 10 seconds

If your point of view is that the denizens of Facebook didn’t sign up to view your ad and are thus highly unlikely to actually want to view the thing, it makes sense to keep your Facebook ad short. You wouldn’t want to waste a potential buyer’s time, would you?

In that case, it’s best to keep your Facebook ads under ten seconds.

Jerome Williams of JWorks Studios says, “I think ads less than 10 seconds are perfect for better engagement. Ads are things people didn’t sign up for, so if you’re going to show up in their feed, you’d better not waste their time.

Think about it, how do you scroll through your feed? Pretty darn fast, I’m sure. So, if your ad thumbnail does get someone to stop and click, then get your point across ASAP before they’re onto the next thing! Your follow-up video (on your own page/website) can be as long as you need in order to deliver a thorough experience.

The point of an ad is to instantly hook people, but their modern-conditioning won’t let them stare at an ad for more than a few seconds.”

< 15 seconds

Then again, what’s an extra five seconds in a lifetime that could last over 90 years? Several of our experts argued that keeping Facebook ads between ten and fifteen seconds long was the best strategy – and used data published by Facebook itself to back their arguments up.

Morgan Hennessey of Electric Enjin says, “We see the most performant Facebook Video Ads are 10-15 seconds. Shorter videos allow the viewer to see and react to your entire message, from your brand to your product/service benefits. The shorter the video, the more likely you’ll keep them engaged for the entire message because there’s less time they need to commit.

Regardless of the length of your video, make sure that you are creating ad audiences for different viewpoints (i.e. 5 seconds viewed, 15 seconds viewed) so you can retarget the most engaged users to drive them further down the funnel.”

JP Brousseau of Phoneloops agrees, adding “As we all know, if you want to create the best video ads on Facebook, it is essential to create the best video ads strategy first. One of the crucial steps is deciding on the video length. Based on my research and experience, any Facebook video ad shouldn’t be longer than 15 seconds.

It all depends on the behavior of your audience. Our choice was to create a short video that gives a brief description of our brand. Some opt for longer informational video, explaining the functions and usages of their brand products.”

PearlLemon.com’s Deepak Shukla notes, “According to Facebook’s own data and recommendations, video ads should only be 5-15 seconds in length.

Right now, getting your message across as fast as possible is the most important goal in digital marketing. In fact, some trends, in mobile marketing especially, push to have video ads 6 seconds or less. In almost every case, video ads under 5 minutes perform much better than their longer counterpart.

Data from Facebook Business has actually shown that viewership declines with the length of the ad across all their video ad channels.”

does ad video length impact it overall engagement?

< 30 seconds

15 seconds is a little short, though – and you could probably get a lot more story told if you just doubled that time. Perhaps the best length for a Facebook video is under 30 seconds – especially if you come out swinging at the beginning of the video.

Polly Kay from English Blinds says, “Unless you’re creating an ad that’s filling the role of brand storytelling in support of brand-led campaign rather than direct marketing, Facebook ads should be as shorty as possible. 30 seconds is about the top limit, and the first 3-5 seconds themselves are vital when it comes to ensuring the entire ad is viewed even then.

How length impacts positively or negatively depends on the type of ad and its purpose. How the time within the ad is used is more important than its length in many ways; even if the ad is short, if the viewer has opened it due to a teaser or to get a specific offer or piece of information and they first have to watch a load of promotional, boring, or irrelevant (to them) filler or waffle, they’ll just navigate away anyway.”

Superwords’ John Lombard agrees, but adds a caveat: “In my experience, the shorter the better. If you can succinctly state your case in 30-seconds, that’s ideal. And if you’ve honed your key message and identified the problem you’re solving, it shouldn’t take more than a minute to explain.

If you find yourself with more than a minute’s worth of content, you may want to go back to the brief and figure out what exactly you want to say. The key is to state one thing clearly and then use the rest of the time to back up that claim.

But here’s the caveat: If you have a really unique product, and have a lot to say, sometimes longer is better. Some companies create two versions: The short, punchy ad, and the longer in-depth explainer.

The main thing you want to consider when it comes to video length is that people often check the length when they hit play – to see what they’re in for. 30 seconds isn’t a huge commitment. Two minutes though? That’s pushing it..”

< 1 minute

WAIT! What about Instagram? Has anyone thought of the influencers, the Instagram models, or the Fyre Festival’s victims yet? In all seriousness, Instagram has turned into one of the top social media platforms in the entire world over the last few years – and advertising on Instagram has yielded a hefty ROI for many a marketer. Instagram only allows ads up to one minute long. You might as well take advantage of that time, right?

BlueTuskr’s Andrew Maff says, “Facebook ads should always be under one minute, this way you can run the ad on Instagram as well. Instagram only allows up to one-minute videos. Plus, with everyone’s shortened attention spans, you tend to see a drop off in views after one minute as well.”

< 90 seconds

Then again, what’s an extra 30 seconds, especially if it makes it easier to time your pitch perfectly? If you can establish a call-to-action in the first minute of a Facebook Video Ad and hit on at least one motivation to buy your product or pay for your service in the first 30 seconds, there’s no reason not to film a video lasting as long as ninety seconds, right?

Brooke Markevicius from Allobee says, “A Facebook video ad should be no longer than 90 seconds. The sweet spot is right around 60-80 seconds. Although the entire length of the ad isn’t as important as when you reach critical points in your pitch. You should cover at least one pain point within 30 seconds and include your CTA within the first minute. If you reach these 2 milestones your audience will click through to your offer before the ad finishes.”

< 2 minutes

Or we could just add another 30 seconds onto that.

Jonathan Aufray from Growth Hackers says, “Less than 2 minutes.

From my experience, a short, concise highly-engaging video is crucial for successful video adverting campaigns on Facebook. People’s attention span is becoming shorter every year so you don’t need to create a lengthy video.

What you want is to grab attention at the beginning of the video. How? For instance, ask a question about a problem that your audience is facing and mention that the video or your offer will help them solve that problem. It will help you increase engagement and generate targeted and qualified leads from it.”

< 3 minutes

And we could add another minute to that. Is this a song or a video ad? At this point, if you’re filming a three-minute-long Facebook ad, you might as well be performing a standard monologue for a theatrical audition. So make it Broadway-good and Tennessee Williams-level engaging, or else that’ll be a long three minutes for all involved.

Socialry Marketing’s Jack Fleming says, “Based on our advertising efforts we like to keep Facebook video ads to be about 2-3 minutes max. We truly feel that if you can’t portray what is needed in that time-frame, maybe a video ad isn’t right for you.

The length of videos in terms of engagement does matter for a few reasons. One top reason is retargeting.

For most cases, we use videos as the broad advertisement for the business. Videos do get the most engagement in general anyways. Then, we retarget people who viewed the video for an extended period of time.

This does two things. For one, it helps qualify the lead more. If they watch more of the video they’ll most likely be more attached to the brand, product, or service. Two, it sets up those retargeting campaigns. Those people who viewed the video will then be targeted with ads like client testimonials, or product sales, and are more inclined to purchase.

The second reason is shorter videos fit consumers’ attention spans. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and I can tell you without a doubt that a 1-minute long ad will do better than one that’s 30 minutes (we’ve seen this on YouTube specifically).”

PearlLemon.com’s Deepak Shukla further opines that “Firstly, this question should also be approached pragmatically – your video should be as long as it needs to be to convey your message.

However, due to the abundance of information modern audiences have access to, consideration should be made for attention spans have narrowed. With this in mind, the general consensus is that Facebook videos should typically be no longer than three minutes.

This is particularly the case for paid ads, where your video will appear on the timeline of users who haven’t necessarily engaged with such content previously. Therefore, it is particularly important to get straight to the crux of your message within the first thirty seconds.”

< 4 minutes

If it’s a retargeted ad, though, or a video aimed towards bottom-of-the-funnel prospects, you might get away with a video as long as four minutes. Top-of-funnel viewers, however, should be targeted with videos under four minutes.

Cody May from StudioPTBO says, “When looking at the data of the Facebook ads for our clients, the answer is often both.

It does however depend on where the video is placed in the sales funnel.

For example, we have had 7+ minute video testimonials perform extremely well as retargeting videos on Facebook. Our general rule of thumb is to keep it under 3 – 4 minutes if it is a top-of-funnel video and use longer videos to engage a warmer audience.

We have split tested multiple types of video testimonials and the iPhone or Zoom video style, and found that raw video testimonials always seems to outperform the polished testimonial video.”

Facebook Ads Dashboard Template

Editor’s note: In this report, we have come across a lot of different expert opinions, and believe it or not, some marketers think that Facebook videos should be even longer than 4 or 5 minutes. Since these were mostly unique opinions, we decided to omit them.

According to our own research, and research done by other industry experts, the sweet spot is indeed 5 to 15 seconds. Still, variety is the spice of life, and it’s worthy to consider the arguments of those who claim that longer ads brought them significant success.

About the author
Mariana Santiago
Mariana Santiago Mariana Santiago is a copywriter, email marketer, theatre geek, and adventurer. While she's redoing her website, you can find her on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you're looking for someone to obsess over the power of CRM-ESP integrations with, she'd be happy to oblige.

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