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Bring Your 'A' Game With Video Ads For Retargeting

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Bring Your 'A' Game With Video Ads For Retargeting

The madness of display retargeting ads has engulfed the entire e-commerce realm so much so that users have started getting used to seeing plain old image ads. Some marketers had foreseen this and have jumped on the wagon of video ads to get a piece of the pie. You just can't afford to ignore video ads in this age of video dominance. Know how video ads can make your brand stand out of the clutter and bring back users to convert.

Dick Fosbury an Olympic gold medalist set an Olympic record in high jump when he jumped 7 feet 4 1/4 inches in 1968. But what made him set that record is a story in itself. When in high school, he just could not get the high jump technique right. He kept trying to do the scissors-kick, the straddle, and the belly-roll but all in vain. He kept working on the same techniques, again again and again, but he kept failing.

Because he was determined to attain the goal, he tried a different technique- He tried jumping head first, his back to the rod, arched his way over and landed on his neck and shoulders. Just with a small change in technique, he could now jump higher than anyone in his high school track team! This technique became so famous after he won the Olympics gold medal, and the technique came to be known as the ‘Fosbury Flop’. And within a few years, almost every elite high-jumper was doing it Fosbury’s way.

Similarly, when a technique does not work out for you or does not give you the desired results, you need to take the leap and try a different way of getting closer to your goal. Marketers spend a prolific amount of time and energy trying to get it right, rather than trying a different approach. In this age where the users have umpteen options, to get them looking at your ads, you need to do something that strikes out.

While static image ads might have helped you get some lost sales back, you know that the numbers are not what you desired. Videos are something that a lot of marketers have slowly adopted, but not everyone makes use of it to retarget users. In this age of competition, it is not just enough to hit when the iron is hot, you need a different hammer altogether.

Leveraging the power of movement


Srinivas-quote on importance of videos

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is a library.”

Videos have taken the internet by a storm. Right from Amazon, to Nike to an Etsy store owner, everyone is doubling down on video content. According to a recent study, 86% of marketers are using video content to advertise, educate, and entertain users. Here are some stats that back the fact that video consumption has exploded.

stats on video consumptionVideos grab attention and make it easier for users to consume information. If you haven't embraced videos in any form in your business, it is high time you take the leap.

Sanket Shah is the CEO of InVideo that helps thousands of small businesses, as well as enterprise brands, to create videos at a fraction of the cost. 


“Video is an extension to the word that you actually live in. A banner ad allows you to just say one thing since it is static in nature, a video ad on the other hand without consuming more space lets you give out multiple messages which enables you to resonate with more people as well as double down on your thoughts.

Due to motion in the video, you can have 3-4 slides - Which gives you more space to communicate. For eg: I can have a video with content around - Highlighting customer needs, what customers want to achieve as well as our Delta/USP all in one. A banner ad will not allow that.”

Sanket explains why videos for retailers play a vital role. He shares why retailers need to go all in with videos irrespective of their scale and how they can bring out the right emotions in The Impatient Marketer Series.

Video ads as a retargeting grenade

In 2018, brands spent over $90 billion dollars on video ads. According to a recent Forrester report that number is expected to hit $102.8 billion by the year 2023. Needless I say, that is HUGE.

Turms creates brilliant video ads to retarget users. Here is what Sandeep Katari, the Co-founder had to say-



“When you retarget a user who already knows something about your product, a video gives you the ability to have a deeper, more detailed interaction. At Turms, we started using video in 2017 and over the last 2 years have seen incrementally better results than the static formats of advertising.”


Bring back the 98% that got away. But with video ads

Only 2% of users who visit your site convert. By now there must be thousands of articles that support this fact. Yet marketers are talking the same talk and walking the same walk. When you know a channel is not working out for you, the sensible thing to do would be to experiment with ways to fix it or change the channel altogether.

When it comes to ads, you can NOT turn a blind eye to video ads. 64% of people are more likely to purchase after watching a video ad. The ad space is so saturated that it is an almost go all in with videos or go home kind of situation.

Starting off with creating ads would require you to have some resources that can make beautiful ads for you. There are quite a few tools out there that can help you with the creation of videos. Some even have set templates, from which you can choose from. Here are a few tools you can give a try- Vizard, Invideo, Rocketium.



“Videos are much more engaging than image ads/posts. In fact, videos get 1200% more engagement than text and images. Our own data suggests video ads get 1.5 times better ROAS than image-based ads on Facebook. Since Facebook is focusing a lot on videos and encouraging marketers to use videos for running ads, the cost per impression of video ads is also much lower than image ads. And since videos get better engagement, it is a better alternative for retargeting.

While it may be better to make a custom video for a product but the biggest worry of most marketers is making them at scale. Video templates provide a good option to start marketing with video ads. With the product pricing and inventory data changing very frequently, automatic templatized videos are the way to go.”

To make a video from scratch, you need a plan. Work on a script, create a storyboard so that you get the flow right. Select a theme with your brand colors to build a sense of familiarity and choose the right fonts, add the right images.


"One of our customers used to create videos in-house manually. Typically a designer would take anywhere between 6-7 hours to edit and customize each video. With ready-made templates and automation, we were able to reduce the time taken for customization by 70%.

Not only did this save their effort, which resulted in they increasing their video production by 3x, they also saw the Cost of acquisition of the lead drop from $40/lead to $10/lead.

So overall ready-made templates can help in
-Reducing the time taken to create and edit videos from 70 to 90 %
-Increase video production by at least 3x
-Reduce the cost of acquisition of customer"

Breaking down a video ad

Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzMetrics shared what 60-second videos ads should consist of for the user to view it entirely.

  • Hook: The first 3 seconds needs to be an attention grabber
  • Ignite an emotion: Identify problem or opportunity in 3-15 seconds range
  • Describe Solution: Show how your brand can help in the next 15-50 seconds
  • CTA: Encourage to revisit your site in the final 10 seconds

If you think 1 minute is less, Facebook recommends videos to be of 15 seconds or less! That’s how fast you need to grab attention.

video length of top performing video ads stats

Check out this ultimate guide to retarget and bring back lost sales. Know what channels you should be trying out!

Changing the retargeting ad game

Retargeting users can get tricky especially when most of the e-commerce store out there is trying to vie for users’ attention. Images help you retarget, there is no denying that. But with videos, you delight users and grab their attention in the first go itself. Just like anything new gets your attention, and brings out the curiosity in you, videos make your ads stand out. A video helps you convey a lot more than what an image can, helping you to evoke emotions and encourage them to revisit your store and convert.

For your video ads to reach out to the users, you need to make sure your ads show up on platforms where your users mostly hang out. This graph from Techcrunch shows the popular platforms which people visit.  




Let’s start off with Facebook and Instagram ads and see how you can make use of videos for retargeting.


Facebook and Instagram video ads

Both Facebook and Instagram are rich in video content, adding ads to these platforms help you merge along with the other posts in the users feed or the stories. Give you a wonderful opportunity to showcase your products and also retarget them to your site to convert.

Facebook Video Ads

Firstly, add a Facebook Pixel

To reach out to users who have visited your website, you need to add a Facebook pixel that tracks the user actions and helps show relevant video ads to specific users. It also helps track the activity of a user when they return to the website. This also helps you understand your audience better, know their browsing behavior, their interests and retarget them accordingly. Facebook also lets you create a lookalike audience to show your video ads to users who are similar to your best customers.

You can add the pixel manually by yourself by adding the pixel to every page of your website on the website’s global header. After you add the Facebook Pixel, you can start tracking how many people interacted with your video ad, track conversions and optimize it.


Secondly, create a Business management account.

Note: Create a page for your business on Facebook, if you haven’t already.


Going mobile with Instant Experience

The future is mobile; something that experts have been screaming from rooftops. There is no way you can leave out ads on mobile. The Instant experience helps you reach out to your users with ads that run on mobile. It is a full-screen experience and loads instantly and also gives an opportunity to link 2 or more instant experiences so that your users can explore more content.  


Hitting the bullseye with Dynamic Ads

Reaching out to users with products they have seen before or a product they have liked, works brilliantly well, than randomly showing them the product in your store. Dynamic ads help show the right product to the right user. The ads are shown according to the activity the user performed on your store. All you need to do is upload the product catalog (if you are on platforms like Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce, skip this step) and set up your campaign once and Facebook will take care of the rest.

With Dynamic ads, there is zero manual work. Facebook will display personalized ads to users who abandoned your site at different stages of the conversion funnel as per your product feed. For this, you need to update your product feed so that dynamic product ads product in stock. Also, keep your product feed updated so that your dynamic ads contain products that are currently in stock.

Could also make use of templates when it comes to dynamic video retargeting-  

  • Grid Layout

grid-layout-facebook ads

The grid template shows relevant products, in a grid format. You can specify one major video as a cover image to draw attention to the ad. The rest of the images can be picked by Facebook itself from your store and show the user's product images that are the most relevant.

  • Lifestyle layout


In this, products are shown in action. A person is shown using the product in his day to day life. Like this skateboarder example, Facebook has shown, the skateboard, sling bag, the coat might be individual products from your store. Here you can add 2 or more product visuals.

There are other kinds of video formats from which you can choose from to know what gives you the best results.

Facebook Ad Formats And Ad Placements

You can have a look at the formats and different ad placements in this video. Check out the examples and get inspired-

VIdeo ads article - Google Slides (1)


One of the most common Facebook ad formats you see is single video ad. But the question here remains- is it better to show a  single product or show multiple products? Anshuk Agarwal, Co-founder of AdYogi shares how they help customers get amazing results with video ads (a detailed video at the end of the article).

In this video that follows, shows an example of a single video ad that one of his customers makes use of, draws a comparison between single product videos & multiple product videos, and shares which one usually gives better conversions and why.



Facebook Messenger

These are full-screen vertical ads that are shown to users when on Facebook Messenger. The video ads run for a maximum duration of 15 seconds and are skippable.


Instagram Video Ads

There are three ways you can create ads on Instagram-

  • Create ads from Instagram directly - All you need is a business account and you can get started. Know how you can create a business account here.
  • Create ads from your Facebook business page- You can simultaneously run ads on both platforms when you create promotions from your page.
  • Make use of the Ads Manager to create ad campaigns - You can use the tools provided to create ads for Instagram alone.

It is advised that you link the Instagram page with the Facebook business page for a better selling experience. Since Facebook owns Instagram, the same pixel works for both platforms and most of the filters while creating an audience are the same.

While we have noticed that well-put-together video ads are, in general, more effective for Instagram engagement than plain images, that alone does not create a guarantee that you will reach a good number of conversions. Instagram video ads still need to be relevant, eye-catching, and engaging. 

By utilizing any editing tools you have at your disposal to improve the look and feel of your video ad, you can better communicate to your audience what your brand stands for, what it’s selling, and the value of your offer. For example, adding text to your video can highlight a promotion or sale, or adjusting the colors in a raw video to evoke a certain mood that resonates with potential customers. Context matters.

Instagram Ad Placements-


  • Single video ad
Instagram Feed finalTrim


  • Collections

This is similar to Facebook collection ads and helps show multiple videos, or images to retarget users.

ScreenRecording_06-13-2019 22-45-15


Instagram Stories


Instagram story finalTrim


More than 500 million Instagram accounts make use of Stories every single day. 1/3rd of the most stories that are viewed Instagram stories are from businesses! And if you haven't tried our Instagram ads, that’s a lot of eyeballs you are losing out on. Stories run for 120 seconds.

Note: If you want to run Collection Ads across Facebook and Instagram, keep in mind that the headline won't show up on Instagram.

Paul manages close to $2 million of ad spend a year and works for Hootsuite, who is Facebook’s largest marketing partner and a Google Premier partner. He also runs webinars for Facebook, AdEspresso, and Hootsuite as well as co-hosting or arranging webinars with Google and top social media marketers.

Paul Fairbrother-quote-on-video-ads-retargeting

“We collaborated with Wistia to test the importance of video thumbnails and we found that the video thumbnail can have a 2X difference on CPA. While this isn't as big as an effect as testing the video itself - which made a 3X difference to CPA - a 2x difference is still huge. Importantly, video thumbnails are free to test, whereas the video we used cost $10k so it's hard to A/B test several of these.

Most marketers spend a lot of time and effort on creating a good video, then pick the thumbnail at random. This needs to change, the brand or the video editor should be putting effort into specifying the thumbnails that the ads team use.

We also tested Instagram feed v Instagram stories. Instagram feed ads had a 14% lower cost per lead, so stories are a bit more expensive but could be useful for retargeting where you need the maximum number of eyeballs on the ad as quickly as possible. Also, the CPC was 50% lower for stories, so if you want traffic as well as conversions they can be useful.”

Audience Network

It is not just about being active on Facebook and Instagram. With Audience Network you can reach out to your users when they are on different apps on mobile. The conversion rates shoot 8X when users are shown across Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network. You can know more about Audience Network here.

Note- For your ads to perform better, make use you use minimal text on the video thumbnail. Here is where you can check the proportion of text to image.


YouTube And Google Display Network

More than 3 billion searches take place on YouTube every month. When it comes to retargeting, you can remarket according to YouTube video actions or retarget website visitors. You can retarget users through AdWords by using the same marketing list you use for Display or search campaigns.

Here are the kind of ads that you could try-

TrueView In-stream ads

These ads are the most common video ads on YouTube and the user can skip the video after 5 seconds.

These are ads that are played before or during another video from a YouTube partner. You only have to pay when the user chooses to watch the video for 30 seconds or more to view the videos in entirety, whichever is shorter.  


Non-skippable video ads

These ads would run for 15+ seconds. Gives you a chance to show what you want them to see without being skipped. But these videos might also come across as forced. So you need to tread with care. If the user is interested they would watch the entire video. If they are not, you just end up paying for impressions.


Midroll ads

These ads are played in between the actual video. At present these videos ads can be added to videos with a duration of 10 minutes or more.

Here you can choose from skippable ads and non-skippable ads. The maximum length of the video is 3 minutes or less for skippable ads. The minimum length of the non-skippable ads ranges from 12-20 seconds depending on the region.


Bumper ads

The ads are non-skippable videos that run for 6 seconds before the actual video starts. Since the duration of the ad is less, it is advised that you use multiple bumper ads to weave a story and make a lasting impression. According to a study by Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%.

Here is a video ads length guide for every platform compiled by Scrategico-


Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzMetrics, helps grow expertise in digital marketing to drive leads and sales by managing ad campaigns for enterprise clients like The Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone. He is also an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing. Here is what he had to say-


Dennis Yu-quote-on-video-ads-retargeting

Video retargeting is the most powerful and the cheapest retargeting. On Facebook, you can build audiences for under a penny and on YouTube, you can build them for under a nickel. But more importantly, where else can you target by a particular creative and even how far they have watched? When you start building sequences of video retargeting, you have the most powerful marketing machine!”

Amazon to introduce video ads in mobile-app search results. You can read more about it here. Once that is out, you can reach out to users because Amazon now dominates Google when it comes to product search.

Good to know

  • Keep it short and simple

No one wants to watch an ad for long. Write a catchy and crisp script. Facebook’s Autoplay will count 3 seconds as a ‘view’, so make the first 3 seconds count.

  • More about them less about you

Show them what's in it for them, the value they would receive from using your product and so on. You need not just try to build a brand image.

  • Always plan a video without audio

Not everyone watches videos with the audio turned on. Facebook video ads, 85% are played without sound according to 2016 research. Most people browse through apps while commuting and end us watching the video without audio. This is where you need to rethink videos without captions as well. If the users are not listening, captions can help them lead to the desired direction.

  • Mobile first- Say yes to Instant Experiences.
  • The first frame - make sure you have interesting thumbnails. Not all videos autoplay.
  • Do a split test - Split tests cannot be done with dynamic ads, but you could try it for generic ads to see which worked better and get better insights.

Anshuk Agarwal, the Co-founder of AdYogi, talks about the ads to be shown to different audiences, the ideal frequency you should stick to with retargeting video ads and the ideal campaign duration and share stats that his customers have received with video ads.



The future of video is dazzling. Jump right into it to have an early advantage. Try out video ad for retargeting and get those numbers rolling. Let us know in the comments below, how video ads have performed for you.

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Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin
Pravya Pravin is a Product Marketer at iZooto. An artist who paints not only with words, but also on canvas. She loves exploring places less traveled and wishes to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road.

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