11th Feb, 2016 / Sofiann McKerrellSofiann McKerrell

Silhouette of hands holding a smart phone with Facebook app opened. Facebook logo on the background.

Facebook is set to roll out an advertising tool that will automatically generate captions for video ads, the company revealed on a blog post. This new feature will be available in the next weeks to Ads Manager and Power Editor worldwide, and advertisers will be able to review and edit the generated text. The company also introduced new video ad metrics and shared best practices on creating videos for audiences on mobile devices.

The automated caption will essentially help advertisers to streamline the arduous process of creating video subtitles and to capture the attention of their target audience who are browsing mobile feeds on silent mode. In the past, advertisers will have to upload caption files or embed text on videos.

The auto-caption tool is the result of Facebook's research on the behaviour of mobile users compared to desktop users. Specifically, the company's internal data showed that 80% of viewers negatively react "both toward the platform and the advertiser" to video ads playing automatically with sound when viewed on feed-based mobile. Furthermore, internal tests revealed that viewing time increased by around 12% when video ads have captions. Another internal research showed that "41% of videos were basically meaningless without sound."

A&W Canada's communications manager, Robert Cifarelli, disclosed that "[a]dding captions increased watch time by 25%." The company used the automated captioning tool for their video about using chicken that are free from antibiotics.

screenshot of a video post on the Facebook page of A&W Canada - "All our chicken is raised without the use of antibiotics, even the chicken in our new Chicken Buddy Burger!"

More Detailed Analysis of Video Ads

Facebook also revealed more tools that will help advertisers to further analyse the performance of their video ads. One of which is the capability to view the percentage of people who have watched their videos with sound by visiting the Page Insights section. The same metrics will be available in Ads Insights soon.

Advertisers around the world will also be able to enjoy a more reliable video ad analytics, as Facebook's integration with Moat is finally complete. The partnership was announced on September 2015 as part of Facebook's "continued dedication" to have independent third parties to measure the company's ads.

The 100% in-view buying option, first introduced at the same time with the Moat partnership last year, is also available worldwide now. In this way, advertisers can have more control of their ads.

Video Ads: Best Practices for Mobile Feeds

For advertisers to maximise the potential of their video ads on feed-based platforms, Facebook shared some tips, the salient points of which are the following:

  • Connect and capture the attention of your audience right away.
  • Design your video as if it's meant without sound. Some strategies include showing products, captions and logos.
  • Experiment and test to understand your target viewers better.
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