Welcome to episode #74 of The PPC Show, where we interview the best and brightest in paid marketing. This week we're joined by Akvile DeFazio, President of AKvertise Inc.
In this episode, Akvile talks about what makes a good video for Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads.
Stay tuned as she covers:
- What makes a good video for Facebook Ads
- How can small to medium size brands affordably and effectively create video content for their campaigns
- What is the best way to use video in Instagram ads
- Common mistakes she sees companies make with video
- The most interesting trend in social media advertising right now
Listen to the Episode
As someone who lives for connecting people, making the connection between consumers and brands is what Akvile DeFazio, President of AKvertise, Inc., a social media advertising agency, does best. Prior to launching AKvertise, she spent the last decade working in-house at a variety of companies, ranging from ski and snowboard ecommerce, to pet health insurance, and event marketing at Search Marketing Expo via paid search and social.
As a conversion driven marketer, Akvile is passionate about helping businesses expand their online visibility and reaching their goals. Her expertise lies in ecommerce, event marketing, mobile apps, and lead generation, by way of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest Ads. When she's offline, she enjoys exploring Central California where she, her husband, and their dog, call home. Connect with her on Twitter at @AkvileDefazio or at AKvertise.com.
Show Notes and Transcript
JD Prater: Akvile, welcome to the show.
Akvile DeFazio: Hi JD, thanks for having me on.
JD Prater: Yeah, this is pretty cool. We have a Californian on the show not too far from us right here in San Francisco. Why don't you give the good people a quick summary of who you are and what you got going on and then let's talk about California.
Akvile Defazio: Certainly, so hi everyone. My name is Akvile DeFazio. I am the President of AKvertise Inc., and we are a social media advertising agency in central California.
JD Prater: Nice. Central California, I like it. So we were talking right before the show. You used to be here in the Bay Area, right?
Akvile DeFazio: Yes. I was in the East Bay in Berkeley. The BART is the best invention for the Bay Area, which I wish more cities had it.
JD Prater: 100% agree. So where in Central California are you?
Akvile DeFazio: I am in Paso Robles, which is equidistance between San Francisco and LA. For anyone that might be a little bit more familiar with California, it is about 30 minutes from San Luis Obispo.
JD Prater: Very cool. So you are truly central. All right. Well, great.
Well, we brought you on to talk about some Facebook ads as you do, everyone's favorite going into 2018 and specifically we're going to talk about some video ads, which we haven't talked about on the show so I'm pretty pumped to actually get into this one.
What Makes a Good Video Ad for Facebook?
Softball question here. What makes a good video ad for Facebook?
Akvile DeFazio: There are a number of factors, but relevancy to the audience is number one. Make it captivating. Make it interesting, helpful, useful, entertaining, even, to the people that you're targeting. Just make sure you have a goal, and that it's high quality in appearance even if you have a low budget for production and just make sure to get your message across to accomplish your goals of your video.
JD Prater: Yeah, that was like a 10-point blog that I'm going to have you write for us, but let's dive into some of those with how do you ... Let's just like go real, like B2B. Right? How do we make that educating and fun? How would you approach these type of companies that are afraid to think about their company as fun, and educating, and entertaining?
Akvile DeFazio: Oh, great question.
I just actually wrote a post that's coming out soon about B2B video ads for Facebook and Instagram. I feel like it's a heavily under-utilized medium for B2B especially. Sure, they're all over Facebook for eBooks and webinars and to do lead gen, but not too many people are doing videos.
So one thing is just even if you have a gif or just using any sort of subtle motion in it, even if you don't have a production team for it, even just use your phone or just have somebody that's ... For instance, if you're in a webcast and you're trying to promote attendance for it, have the host do a little introduction, give them a little sneak peak, a taste of what's going to happen on the webinar, and have them hungry to come back and sign up and actually be on the webcast. Or, maybe if you're doing an eBook maybe have a video of somebody reading a little snippet of it or just do something fun with maybe just a slight animation, a gif even, just to loop for 10 seconds if something just popping up or drawing attention to the ebook itself. So there's a lot of different ways you can get creative with it. Just take what you're doing with static images and try to add some sort of motion to it.
JD Prater: That's good advice. I really like that.
Do you find that users are maybe more forgiving of like the polish of videos now on Facebook?
Video Quality on Facebook
Akvile DeFazio: Oh, absolutely. As long as it's entertaining or interesting to people in some way, they'll watch it, even if it's just for 10 seconds or some people will even watch the whole thing. Like with Facebook ads I think Buzzsumo came out with an article last year saying that the sweet spot for Facebook at that time was like 60 to 90 seconds, but for Instagram it's obviously shorter than that since there's a 60-second cap on it. But there's so much opportunity to maximize your efforts using video, especially in the B2B space. Even if you are a corporate company that you can't be too flashy there's professional ways of making it stand out among the stillness of the feed.
JD Prater: Yeah, for sure. I think one of the things too, which we'll get into, is like really creating audiences based off the video. I think that's really ... I think smart advertisers like yourself are doing these things, but I think it's an, I would say, untapped resource. From what I have seen is that people using video one, 100% agree, not using it enough, but then two, not getting those audiences based off that video.
Akvile DeFazio: Absolutely, yeah, making audiences from those. You already got someone's attention for it even if it was 10 seconds make an audience out of that, try different messaging, video and static, or whatever you're trying to accomplish, whether it e-commerce, B2B, or you're trying to do lead gen for B2B. There's so much opportunity, I feel like people aren't using it to its full potential, so yeah, creating audiences and capturing those people to come back and complete the goal is definitely recommended.
JD Prater: Nice. Yeah. That's such a tough one, when we talk about budgets and everything, so I think you gave some really good ideas for- Hey, look, man, just pull out your iPhone, take some video, and get over it. You know? Would that be your number one thing? Just get over it and try it.
Akvile DeFazio: Yeah, just do it. Turn your phone around, or use your front camera, and just go to town, make a short video and see how it works. One example that I saw that people are like, "Oh, maybe I need to get a nice camera," like a DSLR or a go-pro. Use your phone, because Taylor Swift just did a whole bunch of ads on Facebook to promote her new album a few months ago, and she was just doing behind the scenes sneak peaks of her in the recording studio with her phone, and you could tell it's not IMAX quality, but it's good enough, and if it works for her, it could work for a small business owner, as well.
JD Prater: Yeah, that's a really good point. I put you on the spot there with some B2B, but I think it's another social platform, so I think on LinkedIn, we see this a lot. I know we won't get in to LinkedIn, we'll push them aside. We're going to focus on Facebook, but for B2B people that are like, "No, this doesn't work." I see B2B people all the time on LinkedIn with these front-facing camera shots just talking into the camera and telling people about their product, or being inspiring, I guess you should say.
Akvile DeFazio: Absolutely. Yeah, and transfer that over to other channels and see how it works, and if you need to tweak it, do so. Test it, if it's shorter, longer, different background, whatever, just test it out and see what works best for you.
JD Prater: Yeah, good point. Well, cool. Let's go even deeper into this part of it. Whenever we talk about small and medium-sized brands creating these videos affordably and effectively and really kind of creating this content, what advice do you have for those types of advertisers?
Advice for Small and Medium-Sized Brands Creating Video Ads
Akvile DeFazio: Get your phone out, use a simple background, whether it's just a wall or a table if you're trying to display a product. If you're promoting services, do a little sneak peak of what somebody can expect. For instance, like Hello Fresh, they do have a lot of ads for home food delivery, and they just have simple videos where it's just a woman in her kitchen, and she's just unboxing it, and that enough gives the viewer the expectation of what they can expect at their own door if they use their service, and it's simple. If you want, there's a lot of really cool aps that are free, even, or low-cost if you want to upgrade. There's stop motion studio if you want to do stop motion videos and just have some subtle motion from boomerang and hyper lapse, in shot. There's also quick, but if you do have a go-pro, you can use that and just put overlay text, simple things like that, that will make it look like it's designed really well and it's high-quality, but it just takes a few little things to amplify your video and get your message across, or just captivate people, as they're scrolling through the feed.
JD Prater: Nice. I know that you're a Facebook ads expert, but do you also create the videos for clients?
Akvile DeFazio: No. I have done that for some smaller clients, but usually I just give creative direction, and I give them suggestions, especially with smaller clients and they're not too familiar with what's out there and being in the space. I can give recommendations of free trials or free apps or just low-cost things to kind of get their foot in the door and see just how impactful video can be. A lot of my clients are mostly medium-sized, and they do have somebody in-house that's a designer that has video editing abilities, so I'll usually work with them and tell them what to do with certain ad copy or audiences that we're looking to target, and we'll just work together on that to produce some video.
JD Prater: Nice. Yeah, I was doing another podcast with another friend. It hasn't aired yet, but it is coming out, but one of the things that caught me, that he said I thought is might be kind of what you're getting at. He was like, "2017 was the year of video," and then it was like, "Really, 2018 is the year of implementing video." Do you find that to be true with your clients, that they're really warming up to the video space?
Akvile DeFazio: Absolutely. There are some that jumped right into it last year, but as you've said, they were talking about it, but they weren't doing it yet. Even though we're only in to February now that I already have some that are starting it for the very first time, and seeing great early results. So, it just goes to show that you don't need to put too much work into it to make it work, and you can just tweak it and improve it. It's still under-utilized. Yes, a lot of people are doing video, but most ads are still static and now with Instagram coming in to play, where that's another huge visual platform that I think it's a really good time to get in and just launch that first video. Make it easy, make it quick, and see how it goes. Just get in that space.
Instagram Video Ads Best Practices
JD Prater: Nice. Yeah, let's transfer over into Instagram, because I think, again, I don't think we've ever really talked about Instagram on the podcast. It is blowing up right now. I think it is a really good place for Facebook inventory going over, but what are some of the best ways that you see to use video on Instagram, because it's a very different platform than Facebook.
Akvile DeFazio: Right. So, there's, obviously, less placements for it, there's just the regular feed and you can do video ads that way, but now, with stories kind of taking on Snapchat, and making it a huge jump forward, a lot of people are on there and more people are advertising stories, and now, I think, just this week they started announcing that, as an e-commerce brand, you can start doing carousels in stories, which is huge. So, if you work in e-commerce, and you're listening, jump on it before it gets super saturated. I think Instagram will have to have a lot more placements over time, since people are trying to get into that space, but there are 2-3 ways to get in there now with video, so make them short and make them captivating.
JD Prater: Yeah. That's a really going point. Let's unpackage jumping on stuff. I think this is why it's so important, that whenever you're looking for an agency, you're looking for someone like yourself to run your Facebook campaigns, that it's really important that this person is tuned in to what is happening now, to really either help guide that direction, but also to inform you, because I know, a lot of times, you might be just too busy to keep up with the news, but this is why you have these people that geek out, like you and I do, that keep up with these Instagram carousel ads for stories, which I think is going to be really cool. Just launching for e-commerce stuff. What are some things that you're looking forward to with this type of new placement and ad type?
Akvile DeFazio: Just being where the people are. I feel like, in the last several years, that e-commerce and just shopping in general, whether it's on or offline, has significantly changed to where now the customer dictates where they want things and where they're going to purchase. If they're using Instagram, and they're looking at stories, then it's a quick way to just put in your products as they're scrolling through and if they see that they're interested in it, they can just swipe up and convert and just have a plan going into it, know what you want to test out first and then expand outwards. Yeah, I'm excited to see what they'll do going forward since they're introducing a lot more offerings to advertisers.
JD Prater: Yeah. Whenever you're thinking about video creation for Instagram, so separate from Facebook, are you creating two different videos or are you just taking that video, maybe cutting it up differently for Instagram?
Video Ads Creation for Instagram
Akvile DeFazio: For a lot of my clients, we'll launch the same video in both if it fits the requirements for each channel. If it's a longer Facebook video that doesn't cross over to Instagram, then we'll edit it to make it shorter, or if the story needs to be shortened a little bit to kind of get the whole message across, then we'll edit it that way. Sometimes, depending on the ad copy, too. So, with Facebook, we can add a little bit more, if we're trying to do stuff there, but on Instagram, the copy's a lot shorter, so we tried to tell more of a story often times there visually, rather than contextually. So, there are some tweaks here and there.
JD Prater: Nice. So, if you're listening and you're running Facebook video ads, just feel free to pop it over. Just test out the placement. Facebook is making it very easy to run Instagram, I'll say that. They're really pushing towards that, so check it out, but here's something that I'm sure you hear a lot, and it's a question that I've seen so many times, but what are some of the mistakes that you see companies making when it comes to video ads?
Common Mistakes Companies Make with Video Ads
Akvile DeFazio: Excellent question. This happens quite a bit, unfortunately, but a lot of clients tend to get excited about a new product coming out or a new service, and they, often times if I don't work with them directly in their office inside, I do have my own office, and most of my clients are out of state, that they might overlook consulting with me first, in terms of what's good to use in ads. If you are on the team that's creating your video content, and you're looking to promote it on social media channels, definitely talk to your advertising person, because sometimes the story isn't told the most optimally throughout that video, or they're missing a shot of the product, or maybe it doesn't work with the goal that you had in mind. Before you even start storyboarding, talk to your advertiser, talk to your whole marketing team, and see how you can utilize that video so you don't have to go back and reshoot.
Talk about your goals first, no matter what campaign you're doing, and then start storyboarding, and then how you can accomplish that goal, whether it's brand awareness, to drive traffic to your site, or to convert people through a video. Talk to everybody on your team, figure out a strategy, and then launch it, so you don't have to struggle and then figure out, how do I make this work? Instead of trying to jam a square peg into a circle. It's good just to have all your ducks in a row and storyboard with your entire team, I guess. Long story long.
JD Prater: No, it's good. I think it's a really good point and something that I've been seeing as a trend, myself, is we're really good when it came to advertising. We got really good. We started off in search, we moved into social, but now it's like this storytelling ability and really being able to, like you were talking about, storyboard a video. How did you develop that skill or that process? Did you have experience with that?
Akvile DeFazio: I did. I used to do a lot of organic social media marketing, as well, for companies I used to work with in the past, and I still consult doing that, now, and I love the creative aspect of it and I've always been a creative person in my personal life, as well, through art, and while I don't have high-end equipment, I do enjoy shooting video and playing with other visual mediums, so I always know that if I'm trying to tell a story, whether it's visual ... So, I'm in toast masters, let's back it up a little bit, and even when you're doing a speech, you have to have a story, you have to have an introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Same goes to video. Know what you're trying to get your point across, and then put it together in a way that it will convey that story, visually, or whether you're using audio or not. It's just important to have a strategy going forward.
JD Prater: Gotcha. Yeah, it's really tough, whenever you think about all the different skillsets that we need to have. I know that this is one that I've been thinking about more and more and something that I've always found myself doing, but never really thought about it. When you're in Facebook and Instagram, and you're like, "Man, that was a really good ad," and I end up saving them or screenshotting them and then sharing them. Do you do the same thing?
Akvile DeFazio: Absolutely, yeah. I have a whole folder on my desktop where I keep- I separate them out by type or industry or video or static, but I do take a lot of those and I have a white board in my office, as well, where when I am storyboarding, I'll draw little sketches of what I'm thinking, as well, for video, or other types of ads if I'm trying to do stuff for funnels.
Strategy vs Implementation
JD Prater: Nice. Here's a question that I've always kind of wondered, and it's something that I've been kind of framing in my own head, is how much time would you say that you focus- Let's say that you're going to launch a new campaign tomorrow. The actual strategy into implementation, and then the optimization, if you were to break that up in let's say it was 100 percentage, how much percent would you place on strategy, like setting up, implementing, and then optimization. If you could break them down?
Akvile DeFazio: When it comes to social ads?
JD Prater: Yeah.
Akvile DeFazio: That's a great question, though.
JD Prater: It's a tough one.
Akvile DeFazio: I would say, 80%. It is a very front-loaded process, but once you get all of that set up, then it's just maintenance and optimization going forward, and just making adjustments. So, yeah, 80-20.
JD Prater: So, okay. I agree with you, right? I've had this conversation with other paid advertisers, and it's not always the case, which I was kind of surprised by. I'm with you. I spend so much time, and I'm talking having meetings, meeting with the design team, meeting with the product team, or meeting as a marketing team, right? You're trying to figure everything out before I even set up a campaign in Facebook, right? I'm with you, I spend way more time front-loading, but I found that other people, and maybe it's a big agency kind of thing where they're like, "Nah, I'm just an implementer," and the optimizer, so it could be just a breakdown in roles, but I find it interesting. If you're listening, tweet at us. I would love to hear your response to this. Where can people find you on twitter?
JD Prater: Yeah, definitely. That was our mid, our mid-podcast break, but if you're listening and you made it this far, tweet at us and let us know how much time you spend on strategy versus maybe the execution part of it. Let's keep rolling, now. We're moving into 2018, it's still kind of early. Let's just say, 2018, most interesting trend that you're seeing in social media advertising, and then I'm going to have you stretch it out. Give me like a two-year, and maybe a five-year. Some trends that you're expecting or could see.
2018 Social Media Trends
Akvile DeFazio: Oh, okay. SO, for 2018, I feel like this is last year you were saying that everybody was talking about video in 2017, and they're actually doing it in 2018. A lot of people are talking about chat bots, but we're probably not going to see too many people implementing it until later this year. I know there are some already doing it, but it's still very, very quiet on the Facebook feed in terms of messenger ads. There's some really good companies coming out, like Manychat, Larry Kim’s chatbot, he just opened up his own company called Mobile Monkey. It's alive. There's tons of different chat bot creating services out there, and right now I'm working with a client that we're trying to build that out for them because they have something really great in the home improvement space that can definitely benefit from this.
I feel like, chat bots are kind of the new, closest way to get to your users aside from getting their email and getting in their inbox. You are right in their messenger, which people are using that all the time, now, and props to Facebook for building that up in the last few years, but I feel like that will be the new space for us as advertisers to get in and utilize, but let's not ruin it. It's a good thing.
JD Prater: I definitely hear you on that one. We were testing it out back in, let me see, like March, April, May of last year, and we were just doing e-book stuff, right? We were also running demos, so if you visited maybe the pricing page, "Hey, do you have a question?" Schedule a demo or talk, and we just had our sales team managing it. It worked out okay. It was still so early. I'm going to revisit it now, in 2018, now that people are warmed up to the idea. I think we were too quick, and so it was just ahead and people were like what is this? Why are you in my messenger? You're annoying me. Now, it's like, "Oh okay. I'm somewhat used to this. I'm conditioned," but I agree with you on that one 100 percent. I think video, I think chat bots are going to be huge, moving forward, so let's say it's 2020, where do you see social advertising headed?
Akvile DeFazio: It will be much more automated and with the rise of artificial intelligence, it will be interesting to see how that converts our jobs. I feel like we'll still be a part of the creative process, but I imagine going forward with everything else being- with computers kind of automating and optimizing everything, that they'll have a larger play in that space, but I don't want to give up my job because I love it, so I hope the creative aspect, at least stays on the human side of things.
JD Prater: Yeah, I think I would agree with that one, but going back to what you said, that 80 percent of strategy time can't really be automated, but the 20 percent, that can get quicker. That can get faster using machine learning, or even AI, so I would agree with you on that one. I think that's always a good one. See, you're in the 80 percent camp, so you're good. You are solid. Cool. Let's kind of wrap up here, we released our Q4 benchmark report, and within it, we saw prices triple on Facebook, right? We're seeing this happen, even across not just the newsfeed, but we're seeing it on Instagram, we're seeing it audience network. It's just getting more expensive as more advertisers get on there. Do you think- What is that breaking point? Because we were talking about, we got on early, right? We saw great results, but now maybe those great results are getting more expensive. Still great results, but they're getting more expensive. Do you think advertisers will still stay with the platform? Or do you think they'll start shifting budgets in 2018/2019.
Akvile DeFazio: I hope they stay with the platform. Facebook is trying to figure out how to keep advertisers and users alike on the platform, and they'll have to come up with something in terms of more ad placements, or other ways for advertisers and small businesses, or any size business, just to stay relevant and in people's feeds or wherever they might end up being. Sure, it will get more expensive, but I know Facebook is still usually the lowest cost per click in terms of all of their advertising platforms. I feel like there is some wiggle room there, and it will have to cap out at a certain point until they start noticing people drop off. For now, I think we're safe, and Facebook needs to make their own revenue as their own business, so they'll figure out a way to keep earning that money, and keep giving us as advertisers room to play.
JD Prater: Yeah. I think that's a fair result. I think that's a very fair answer of kind of evaluating Facebook's take on it, right? Because Facebook is like, I can't lose this ad revenue and I can't lose users, but I also need more inventory. I need more users, and I need them to stay on there longer. I think that's what we're seeing right now in 2018 with their news feed updates. They're just like, Oh, we've got to get that time back.
Akvile DeFazio: Yeah, it will be a bigger change but it will be interesting to see what pans out.
JD Prater: Yeah, definitely. I think those are all great takes. Anything else that we missed as far as with good video advertising?
Akvile DeFazio: One thing that I want to share, in case anybody didn't see it earlier this week, AdEspresso posted something really great about video ads, so perfectly timed for us to chat, but one thing that really stood out is that they suggested that when you're creating a video ad for any platform, really, that think like a silent film artist when you're creating it, and I love that, because 85 percent of people do watch it on mute, and we also can't disregard anybody that might be hearing impaired. So, just be mindful to your audience and take that tip and run with it and add captions.
JD Prater: Yeah, great point. Yeah, I definitely missed that one as well. I mean, I missed the tip. I saw that article, I believe I saw you tweet it out. So, we'll definitely include that in the show notes for all those listening. Again, that was ad espresso talking about silent movies and creating your video to kind of think about that, where I don't necessarily have to have the music on, or the video sound on, so, really cool stuff. Oh, we've got to finish with this one. This is the last one, with the tip. I was asking Akvile, where is the origin story of this name? This Akvile DeFazio, it just sounds so exotic, so tell us a little bit about your name.
Akvile DeFazio: My mother heard something similar to my name, or maybe heard Akvile as well, but I was born in Lithuania, so that adds to the uniqueness of it, and now apparently there's a water company that I share a name with in Lithuania, and it doesn't mean anything, but I appreciate it a lot more these days. But as a kid, oh man. It was rough. I've had every letter inserted into my name. Then, my previous last name was Sniechkute (pronounced Snech-koo-teh), which was terrible as a kid, so I got married recently and my husband's last name was DeFazio, and he's half Irish, half Italian, so, hence the last name.
JD Prater: Gotcha.
Akvile DeFazio: The trifecta of ...
JD Prater: That's awesome. Yeah. Thanks again for coming on, talking to us about Facebook video ads, and Instagram video ads, the future of social media advertising, and sharing a little bit more about even your origin story, so thanks again.
Akvile DeFazio: Thank you so much JD, it was great chatting with you.