Unraveling the Social Video Landscape

With the video advertising space on fire, and more social networks offering the ability to advertise, you need to know where to get the most bang for your buck. Each platform offers unique opportunities for video ads, with different key user demographics, varying ad formats, attribution methods and buying strategies.

Understanding the landscape and what you can do on each platform is the best place to begin to budget for an effective social video strategy. For the next three days, we’ll outline what you need to know about the four big players: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.

Let’s start our examination with Facebook and its wildly popular imagery-focused social network, Instagram.

Facebook: The Social Hub

There’s no longer any question: Facebook is the Internet’s dominant playground, and it’s also the fastest-growing video platform in the world.

With more than four billion video views per day and over 80% of Internet video engagements taking place on Facebook, it should be a major factor in most brands’ social video strategy. Facebook’s user demographic is broad and highly varied, but the depth of its knowledge and understanding of the user base means that brands and agencies can utilize precise, people-based targeting to reach their most coveted audiences.


Facebook offers three ad formats for social video: Desktop News Feed, mobile News Feed, and right-hand rail, formerly known as domain ads.


Instagram is the same as Facebook; an impression counts as long as any video pixels have hit the user’s screen. When any video pixels are on screen for three seconds or more, Facebook counts that as a video view.


Similar to Facebook, video ads are bought using an auction system, with two dominant bidding options recommended: oCPM bidding with optimization for video views, or CPV bidding. Unlike on Facebook, CPM bidding is not available. It’s important to note that as Instagram automatically loops your videos, instead of charging for aggregate video views, it charges on unique views.


Again, it’s the same as Facebook: impressions, views (three seconds or more), 25-50-75-95-100% completion, CPV, CPCV, VCR, etc.  AdParlor recommends: Instagram ads are still fairly new, so best practices aren’t etched in granite. Nevertheless, videos 15-30 seconds long that have content suitable for looping are best.

The Big Picture of Facebook and Instagram

If you haven’t already, the time is now to take advantage of the video offerings on Facebook and Instagram. Videos are not only naturally more eye-catching and engaging, but they enable you to present more information to the user in the same amount of time and/or attention span. It should come as no surprise that a recent Nielsen study of Facebook video ads reported an average lift of 86% on over 300 video campaigns measured. If pictures are worth a thousand words, video must be worth ten-thousand. Make sure your Facebook and Instagram campaigns are maximizing every syllable!

Want to learn more about social video?

Sue-Mun Huang

About Sue-Mun Huang

Kia ora! Sue-Mun Huang is a Kiwi biomedical engineer turned full-time tech geek at AdParlor. When she's not solving clients' product needs, she's covering industry hot topics and translating tech-speak to normal English. She identifies as a bilingual rock climbing fanatic, scotch drinker (neat, please), waterslide builder, and boisterous traveler. Sharp tongue. Small hands. Types fast. Sue-Mun is based in the Toronto office.

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