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Video Advertising in 2020: Techniques and Trends to Consider by Susan Wenograd

We all know how powerful video marketing is – from post to post we share some overwhelming stats to prove this point. However, given the ever-changing online landscape and new trends overpowering your efforts, you want to keep finding ways to spread your video around as efficiently as you can. And social media platforms are the best places in our online town for that. But with the decline in organic reach across pretty much every social media platform – from Facebook to Instagram, – paid advertising options are the “it” thing for video marketing efforts.  

The problem is, often video advertisers tend to think of online video advertising like old-school classical Madison Avenue admen. So, we invited Susan Wenograd, the CMO at Aimclear, a Facebook ads expert specializing in Facebook ad funnels, to walk you through some of the biggest video advertising trends in 2020 and give tips on turning your video ad efforts into gold.

Video Ads From 2019 to 2020: A Little Context

To better explain video ad trends in 2020, Susan shared some context following us from the previous year. This is where the year 2019 left us in regards to video advertising:

  • Competition is only growing. Video ads in 2020 aren’t a novelty anymore, they are a must for almost any kind of business. So, if previously you had that first movers advantage, in 2020 you have to come up with more creative and efficient solutions for making sure your video ad stands out from the crowd, attracts the right audience, and pushes your viewers to take the right action.
  • Autoplay killed your video ad’s competitive edge. Now, everyone is just used to seeing video autoplay. So, it’s become a lot more competitive from, what Susan calls, “a mindshare perspective of the users”. 
  • Facebook and Instagram audiences tend to only watch 6 to 8 seconds of the video, and the advertising costs are only growing.

So, you may ask yourself – how do I make them watch the full video, then? Susan answers that you probably can’t – not on the first touchpoint anyways! So, what do you do about it?

Change the order of the story! You need to start with that middle hook. It’s not that the messaging is wrong, it’s just the length of time you’re taking to do it.

On social platforms, people can choose to skip the ad. So, by changing the structure of your story, you can, at least, ensure that they’ll get the key message, so your ad budget won’t go to complete waste.

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So, What’s With Video Ads in 2020?

Before jumping into the state-of-the-art video advertising trends for this year, Susan mentioned some of the previous video ad dogmas that aren’t going anywhere. 

Ever-lasting video ad trend: 3-second rule

It’s still the case that you only have around 3 seconds to catch your viewers’ attention.  How? Susan suggests that you stop being concerned about what you’re trying to communicate to the audience, and worry a little bit more about what it is they’re going to care about. Somewhere in between these two approaches is the golden mean. So, it’s not just about showing your viewers that you have the solution to their problem, you know all about the pain and have the answers, it’s more about your video ad showcasing why your viewers should care about the problem in the first place. Being able to communicate that visually is the biggest challenge.


Use those classic marketing techniques of asking yourself – why do they care about this problem in the first place?


And once you understand that WHY,  you have to communicate this understanding within the first three seconds of your video ad.

2020 video ad trend: experiment with formats

If we previously learned to adjust from TV to feed video ads, we now have to wind back and unlearn the feed video ad practices. You better embrace the Stories video ad format, as they are the new prevalent place for video advertising, especially on Instagram. They are more like a TV commercial – they take up the whole screen, and have a different mechanism in place (unlike feed video ads). There is no body copy, there’s no headline, unlike the standard feed ads that you would see on Instagram or Facebook.


Take what we learned from in-feed ads and then repackage the message yet again, knowing that we cannot rely on type copy to communicate.


Another obstacle to this format experimentations is that you will have to sort of create two videos instead of one. There’s the feed version. And there’s the Stories version. So, in 2020, you will have to double your efforts when it comes to video ad creation. 

2020 video ad trend: drop the branding, make it native

According to Susan, in 2020, you will also have to rethink your branding strategy. Previously, the best way to stand out was to “over-produce” the video ad, make it your own with branding, the original style and so on. What happens in 2020, specifically in the case of Stories, you’re running on a platform that has known familiar fonts, stickers, interactive elements that people are used to. Using these elements makes your video ad seem more organic. And being able to integrate those elements into the ad is precisely the way to stand out. It may seem counterintuitive, but this is the case.

Stories video ad examples from big brands that “dropped” their branding

Stories video ad examples from big brands that “dropped” their branding

When your video ad looks heavily overproduced, the audience will immediately subconsciously know it’s an ad. So, you’re almost better off when you drop some branding and keep your video ad organic and native to the platform it airs at. 

Things to Keep in Mind When Using Video Advertising on Social in 2020

Before rolling up your sleeves and starting to implement the newest video ad trends on your social media, Susan insists that you keep in mind a few key aspects of video marketing and advertising on social media (and Facebook and Instagram in particular):

  • Be aware of what you run on Facebook versus what you run on Instagram. When you look at heatmap studies at how people look at feed ads, they reveal that people tend to look at the visual, then their eyes drift down to the headline and then they go up and read the body copy. On Instagram, you don’t have that –  there’s nothing above the image, it’s just the photo and then it goes right into text that often gets truncated. So Susan suggests that when it comes to feeds, definitely use the preview feature on Facebook to look at how it renders on Instagram. And really think whether that makes sense, because sometimes without that big bold headline, it just doesn’t translate.
  • Learn about your audience across each social platform. If you run everything as combined placements, then break out various social media by different parameters. Facebook and Instagram aren’t the same things anymore, they have different demographics and people use them for very different purposes. So, you will probably need a separate strategy for each platform. 
  • Longer formats are alive but very specific. On top of the funnel stage, you may find luck in using longer video formats if you’re targeting a super-enthusiastic or very specific (narrow) audience. But you can normally elongate your video the further down the funnel your audience goes. Remarketing with longer video ads proves itself as very efficient, as you’ll be setting up audiences based on behavioral indicators that show this segment is probably interested in hearing more. So, if viewers watch all 6 seconds of your video, you can put them in a custom audience because they watched 100%, and then maybe show them a 32-second video, and so on. 
  • Build an involved & engaged audience. Susan forecasts that Facebook and Instagram will keep adding interactive elements options to video advertising (especially with Stories). So, embrace things like running ad polls to create a dialogue with your audience. Use this interactivity to make people engage with your ads, which leads us back to remarketing audiences once they’re truly involved.  

Ad Polls Examples

Examples of ad polls on Instagram. Source

Over to you

Have you spotted any other video advertising trends Susan did not mention in the live session? Which trends you’re already ready to hop on, and how will your video ad strategy change in 2020 vs. 2019? We’d love to hear your thoughts and answers in the comments section below. 

Video Advertising in 2020 Techniques and Trends to Consider by Susan Wenograd

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