Video vs Image Ads On Facebook: My Actual Performance & Insight

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So you’re trying to decide whether image of video ads on Facebook is right for your business. Or one is right for Let’s talk about which one is right for your business.

My Experience.

I run a lot of ads on Facebook — both video and images ads. In this post I share:

A quick word about my advertising experience…

In 2023 I have personally spent over $10,000,000 on advertising for my businesses; and there’s still 2.5 months remaining in the year. Most of that goes to my lead gen business in which the leads are sold to other business, and some of it goes to a ‘drop servicing’ business (non marketing service), and then the remainder goes to two local home service businesses (I’m actually a licensed contractor).

The ad spend is about 50% on Facebook, and 25% on Google Video (Youtube) Ads. With about $2.5 million spend on Youtube ads, I’ve sunk a lot of time and money into video. Let’s focus on Facebook though. Ultimately the same video ad concepts and principles work on both platforms.

My current image vs video ad performance.

I just opened up my ads manager to take a look at my last 30 days performance. Here are the offers with their best performing creative asset. I use Dynamic Creative, so there are both image & video contributing to the overall performance of all my offers.

  1. Image (spend: $108,292.17 conversions: 7707)
  2. Video (spend: $66284.77, conversions: 4166)
  3. Image (spend: $52,775.64, conversions: 3565)

While ‘the offers’ are all different on these they are all set to run a Target CPA that is calculated based on the margin. In all cases, there was an image or video that was a close second within the Dynamic Creative. There was no ‘run away’ winner.

Despite what marketing gurus perpetuate (usually in an effort to sell a shiney new service); there’s no clear winner. Either image or video can do well.

When combined they both expand your reach and increase volume, but to get started and make money move….

Focus on the easy ROI.

That is image ads. You can create a few good image ads in a matter of minutes at your desk. If they don’t work, you haven’t lost mucj.

Video on the other hand takes a lot of time, effort and money to execute. And they don’t always work. And it get take all of that a few times over to really get right.

Here’s a chart that illustrates the ROI on video and Facebook ads.

What I am showing here is that images ads can really take off quickly and easily and get you near the same maximum ROI as video ads.

I know you might be saying “but that won’t work for my ecommerce business or my service”… false. Recall the basic metaphor of advertising success formula that success = 40% offer + 40% Audience + 20% creative. That applies universally.

If you can’t find success with just an image ad, you won’t find it with a video ad!

Video ads will expand your reach & volume (to boost ROI).

This is where the ROI of video ads starts to shine.

With video ads you’ll reach more people largely watching reels on video on instagram.

If you’re running ads using a target CPA you’ll get more conversions at your target price. If you’re just using max conversions you would get more conversions at a low price (assuming you are getting a high enough volume of conversions for FB to optimize for).

The actual impact is hard to calculate but let’s just say you’re using Target CPA video ads and image ads generate each generate 50% of your conversions — which is really pretty close to accurate for my offers. If the video simply did not exist, a good portion of the conversions on video would’ve responded to an image. Let’s just call it 50% of the video conversions would convert with image ads. Now you’re getting 75% of the total conversions just running image ads that you would be if you had good video ads.

We could express this otherwise as saying good video ads would increase your conversion volume by 33% at the same cost.

To capitalize on video ads you need videos formatted for reels.

Videos on facebook ads can run in 4 aspect ratios; 16:9 (wide), 1:1 (square), 4:5 (portrait), 9:16 (tall).

When I take a look at which videos are driving conversions, there’s a clear and overwhelming leader. More than 75% of my video conversions on Facebook Ads are coming from the tall videos.

These tall videos are the optimal size for Reels. Users are consuming a ton of reels content on FB/Insta with the latest data showing that users spend an average of 30 minutes a day surfing reels.

That said, images and other size videos will show on reels, but lets be real, no one wants that crap.

For my tall reel formatted videos, they are still the same just cut to the proper aspect ration with any elements rearranged to be on screen and any elements like text re-sized to look proper.

Facebook autogenerate videos from images… and they do pretty well.

This is interesting. On a recently launched campaign using Dynamic Creative, Facebook created a video ad from my images — and it it is the top performer. I’ve never seen one of these ‘Auto-generated videos’ before, I’d assume because my ads are relatively old — I rarely create new ads and with Dynamic Creative I just swap out media as necessary.

This is 30 day performance. It’s a small / low volume offer.

There was substantial investment into video creative made and they are in the ad, but FB is finding success with their own video. I have absolutely no idea what the video looks like but I believe it is just a slide show of images with one of my ‘long form texts’ overlayed.

On that note;

focus on winning with image ads. Considering the marketing formula, and substantiated by my own experience & adspend, your actually ad creative won’t matter a ton, so it is best to focus on where you’ll see the most return for investment quickly. Only once you’ve seen results and are pulling in conversions, consider video ads. And then when you do, make sure you have reel formatted videos.

There is one exception and that is, if you’re running Youtube Ads, you can use the same videos (in a reel format of course, on Facebook. Remember the same video ad concepts and principles are universal.

About the Author

I have been in the 'online business' space since 2009 when I started an eCommerce business selling motorcycle parts (sold in 2012). Since then I have owned and operated several successful online business (and had a fair share of failures), along with owning offline home services businesses. Currently my focus is online businesses that are profitable with paid traffic. As a 'self employed individual' I do not use Linkedin, but you can connect with my on my personal instagram and youtube which largely revolve around my mountain biking passion!