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A Beginner’s Guide To Facebook Ad Units: Video Ads

Written by: Carolyn Berk, Content Marketing Associate

Note: The brands featured herein are meant to serve as compelling examples, and are not Nanigans customers unless expressly noted.

What Are Video Ads? 

Video ads take Facebook advertising to the next level by harnessing the power of moving pictures to attract viewers and clicks. Videos are commonly shared as Unpublished Page Posts, featuring a call-to-action (CTA) button in the lower right hand corner of the ad. Options include “Learn More,” “Shop Now,” or “Watch More.”

The Benefits of Video Ads

Video views on Facebook are on the rise, with an average of 8 billion video views daily. You can take advantage of this uptick in engagement by using video ads to showcase your products or services. Because video ads automatically play as users scroll through their feeds, your ads can immediately jump out and grab their attention. In addition, video ads are an ideal option for mobile ad campaigns as smartphones continue to drive an increasingly larger portion of overall video views.

Video Ad Specs And Other Requirements

Facebook recommends the following design guidelines for video ads:

  • Startup Institute Video Ad - Beginner's Guide Video AdsText: 90 characters
  • Thumbnail image size: should match the aspect ratio of your video. Your thumbnail image may not include more than 20% text. 
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Frames: 30fps max
  • Format: .mp4 container ideally with leading mov atom, no edit lists
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 / 4:3 / SDTV, 1.375:1 / film, 1.77 / 16.9 / HDTV, 1.85:1 / Film, 2:39:1 or 2:40:1 / Widescreen, no pillar boxing or letter boxing
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
  • File Size: Up to 1.75GB max
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as long as your file doesn’t exceed 1 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.
  • Length: 45 minutes max

Video Ad Examples And Why They Work On Facebook

Harvard Business School

This video ad from Harvard Business School is 15 seconds long, making it short and to-the-point. HBS has clearly chosen real students, not actors, to offer a glimpse into what their HBX Core program is like; this approach fosters trust with millennial Facebook viewers who may not be swayed by highly polished ads. The video ends with a link that is easy to type into a browser should the viewer want to learn more.


Because Facebook video ads play on mute until users choose to turn up the volume, it’s important that your ads can be understood even when they are silent. Clinique‘s video ropes in audiences with a title card announcing “What To Wear With Your Party Dress,” and follows up with a couple makeup looks that viewers can achieve with Clinique’s products. The video addresses a question customers are likely to have year-round, and provides value by acting as a mini lookbook.

Humor is one of the best ways to engage video viewers, as you can see from this video from Temptations Cat Treats that was shared as a Facebook video ad. With multiple fluffy feline stars and a sly nod to the holiday season, the setting is relatable to cat owners, the target audience. To wrap things up, Temptations concludes the ad with hashtag #SaySorry, which prompts viewers to check out what other pet owners are sharing on Facebook.

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