A 6-Step Guide to Getting Millions of Views with Facebook Rewarded Video Ads

man playing mobile game to show where facebook rewarded video ads would appear

Video ads have become a regular part of most advertisers’ arsenal. Ideally coming in at 15 to 30 seconds (get familiar with that digital scalpel), these short, high-performing clips can generate some great results as ads on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere.

But one of the most cost-effective placements right now is with Facebook’s audience network. It’s rewarded video.

We recently received just shy of 1 million views on a video ad for just over $2,000.

screenshot of facebook ads manager results for rewarded video thruplay
Results from a recent ThruPlay campaign we ran for a client.

What is Rewarded Video?

You know when you’re playing Candy Crush or Angry Birds or whatever your guilty mobile pleasure is and you lose your last life and a message pops up, inviting you to watch a video to earn another life to keep playing? That’s rewarded video.

With Facebook’s audience network, you can put your video in that placement.

One of the reasons rewarded video is so powerful is because people have to watch to the end. They can’t skip it or they won’t get their reward.

That figure of 958,848 above isn’t just three-second views, as many video ads are counted. Those are people who have watched at least 15 seconds, which Facebook calls a ThruPlay.

This particular video was actually 30 seconds, and our average video watch time was 95% of the full 30 seconds!

How Do I Create a Rewarded Video Ad Through Facebook?

You’re probably wondering how to take advantage of this opportunity and start running some rewarded video ads!

Step 1: Create a 15- to 30-Second Video

Rewarded video needs to be between 15 seconds and 30 seconds, and I’d advise it be exactly 15 seconds or 30 seconds. It also needs to be 16:9 or 9:16 aspect ratio.

But there’s more to making a great video ad than getting the length and dimensions right. Here’s a few things to remember, but a full conversation about this would make for another article:

  • Create clear messaging first and build the video to serve that message
  • Include a lot of visual movement and keep it fast-paced
  • Use high-quality video and audio
  • Focus on benefits of your product/service and transforming people from an undesirable state to a desirable state

Now that you have your video made, log in to Facebook Business Manager and let’s get it out there!

Step 2: Create a Video View Campaign

Go to Facebook Ads Manager and create a new campaign. There are three columns for different types of campaigns you can create, following the familiar customer journey steps of awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Under the “Consideration” section, you want to choose “Video views” as your campaign type. Makes sense, right? We want video views.

screenshot of creating a facebook ad campaign
Select “Video views” as your marketing objective.

Since we’ve selected “Video views” as the objective, set the right expectation for the results your ad will deliver. You will get a lot of views. You will not, however, get a lot of website traffic (you’ll still get some) or purchases if you’re selling online (you might still get some of these too), because people mostly want to get back to what they were doing, not leave the app. You’ve set the campaign to get views, so your measure of success is views, not another action. Think of it like a TV ad.

An exception would be if you’re advertising an app download. You’re more likely to convert that action because it’s a similar activity to what the viewer is already engaged in.

Now name your campaign and let’s move on.

Step 3: Set Your Audience

After hitting “Continue” at the campaign level, you are now at the ad set level. Name it something that reflects what would make this ad set unique from another within this campaign (likely the targeted audience or the ad schedule or the placement).

I won’t go into much detail here on audience targeting, because it’s a topic in itself. So set an audience based on location and age and gender and interests unless you have a saved audience or custom audience that you already know you want to use.

But if you’re unsure with audience targeting, just pick the relevant location(s) and age range and a few related interests. You’ll want to be broader with these kinds of ads than you are with some of the other hyper-targeted ads you can do through Ads Manager, so don’t be too concerned.

Step 4: Set Your Placement

This is where we make it rewarded video. The placement will be set to automatic by default, so switch to “Edit Placements” instead. Then you’ll deselect everything except for “Audience Network Rewarded Videos” under “Apps and Sites”.

screenshot of selecting rewarded video as the ad placement in facebook ads manager
Set your placement to only rewarded video.

Make sure to have just that one placement selected. Other placements are best used with different practices (dimensions, video content, intent, etc.), so you only want this ad going in rewarded video placements.

Step 5: Set Your Optimization and Budget

Facebook has something called a ThruPlay, which is counted when someone watches at least 15 seconds of your video, or watches your complete video if it’s less than 15 seconds.

As of the time of writing, your optimization is set to ThruPlay by default, and 10-second views are no longer an option. What optimization means is that Facebook will show the ad to who, when, and where is most likely to get a 15-second view or more. With rewarded video, this optimization is pretty well already baked in by the fact that people have to watch to get their reward, so it has less of an impact here than a video ad in other placements.

Then you’ll set your budget, either daily or lifetime. If you plan to run this ad on an ongoing basis, daily is a good way to go. It’ll spend that amount (when possible) every day until you turn it off. Lifetime budget is good for if it’s a one-off promotion and you only want it on for a specific period of time.

An important thing to note is that ads with a daily budget have to be set to run all the time. With a lifetime budget, you can set an ad delivery schedule like only showing your ad on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, not the other days of the week. Or only showing your ad from morning till noon. This can be really beneficial for some businesses and campaigns (a restaurant promoting a weekday lunch buffet, for example).

There are other options here in the ad set level, but they can be left alone.

Step 6: Create the Ad

I hear you saying, “I thought I’ve been creating an ad this whole time!” You have. But we are now at the ad level (all ads are part of an ad set and all ad sets are part of a campaign). This is where you create the thing your audience sees. Everything else has been setup.

Start by naming the ad something descriptive of what is in the ad itself. Ensure you have the right page selected (if you manage multiple).

Scroll down and upload the video you created for this ad in Step 1.

screenshot of uploading a video to a facebook ad
Upload your video here, or use one in your library from before.

Once it has uploaded, you can add some text. There is just “Primary Text” if your ad will not have a link. But if you add a link, there is also “Headline” and “Description” and a call-to-action button.

Unlike other video placements (in news feed, for example), none of this text is visible until the very end of the video. So consider that it isn’t to draw people in or provide context, like it might in other placements. This is after they’ve seen your ad and you now want them to do something or remember something. This is what you want to leave them with.

If you select the icon of the star with the play symbol in the middle (in the grey column in the middle of this section), that will show you a preview of your ad as it will be seen as rewarded video. You can toggle between how it’ll look in portrait and in landscape, depending on how the viewer is holding their phone.

screenshot of setting the text fields in a rewarded video facebook ad
All this text will only appear after the video finishes playing.

Lastly, you can add link tracking parameters, if that’s something you’re familiar with and need to do. Otherwise, you’re ready to hit “Confirm” and await the Facebook gods’ approval for your ad to start running.

Watch the Video Views Roll In

Once Facebook approves your ad, it’ll start running.

Due to Facebook’s audience network, this ad will actually never appear on Facebook itself. Facebook Ads Manager is a tool to access so much more than just the social platform!

Please let me know if anything here needs more clarification. I’m happy to revise to ensure this guide makes it simple to walk through with just a little Ads Manager experience so you can start taking advantage of severely underpriced rewarded video ad placements. Good luck!

Lane Anderson

Lane Anderson

Lane has worked in marketing since 2013, and is the owner of London Road Media. He lives in the beautiful city of Lethbridge with his young family and serves clients locally and around the world.

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