Facebook Ads: The video vs. image experiment

Video is having a moment. TikTok has taken over, YouTube is as big as ever, and Instagram has declared that photos are out and video is in. But how far does video’s success travel?

For marketers everywhere, this new video-eat-image world arrived with as many questions as it did play buttons.

“How do we make videos?” the people cried.

“The Biteable video maker!” we yelled back.

“Do video ads perform better than images?” you pondered. Well, let’s put on our lab coats and find out.

Join us in our video lab as we get experimental with what makes the most successful Facebook Ad. Will video conquer images once and for all? Let’s leave it to science to find out.

The theory: Video ads outperform images

Every experiment needs a hypothesis, and this is ours: A video ad will outperform an image-based ad.

We know a thing or two about the benefits of video, but in the context of Facebook marketing, our theory boils down to two things:

1. Video stops the scroll.

Dynamic text, rapidly changing colors, and engaging animations work together to result in an ad that’s more likely to catch a scroller’s eye. To put it plainly: video is more enticing than static text or images. When the prize is interested eyeballs, video seems much better positioned for success.

2. Video gets the point across.

There’s only so much info you can convey in an image or graphic — the rest has to be included in the supporting text. But is this really the best tactic? Video delivers information a whole lot faster than a block of text; you can get your entire point across in seconds.

In the age of 15-second TikToks and shortened attention spans, this one might be a bigger deal than it seems.

Of course, when you’re talking organic reach (meaning you’re not paying for people to see your content), there are a whole lot of other reasons why video is the proven way to go. Not least of which: the Facebook algorithm prefers and prioritizes video.

But for this experiment, we’re focusing on Facebook Ads. Algorithms and follower counts are a moot point here — it all comes down to what the people prefer.

The experiment: No variables left unturned

To put our theory to the test, we created two ads. You guessed it — one is a static image and the other is a six-second video. Both have the same clear message, and both have the same call-to-action. They share the same style, tone, and color scheme. The only difference is that one moves, and the other doesn’t.

We put the same amount of money behind each ad ($225), targeted the same audiences (social media pros), and chose the same ad objectives (leads) when setting up the campaigns.

We even ran the ads on an alias Facebook account to take video bias off the lab table.

All of this to say, we removed as many variables as possible to make this a truly scientific endeavor. Our hearts may belong to video, but here at Biteable, we take data seriously.

The results are in: The data points to video

Before we explain what the results mean for your future Facebook ads, we’re going to hit you with the raw data. Just some cold, hard stats and facts to make this experiment extra-scientific.

Video reached further

Our Facebook video generated 3x as many leads and was seen by 25% more people than the image. If you want to check our math, that’s 7,232 image views vs. 9,532 video views.

What this means: Views are a good measure of an ad’s reach. More people paid attention to the video than they did the image.

Video generated more clicks

The video ad generated 480% more clicks than the image. That’s 186 clicks on the video vs. just 32 for the image.

The video’s click-through rate also came out on top at 1.87% compared to 0.43% for the image.

What that means: Clicks are a good measure of an ad’s performance. Here, more people interacted with the video than the image.

Video delivered a better ROI

Our video was 497% cheaper per click and 280% cheaper per lead than its image counterpart. The video cost $1.19 per click vs. $7.11 per click for the image. Per lead, the video cost $2.75 compared to $14.22 for the image.

What that means: Conversion is the best way to measure an ad’s return on investment. For this ad, our objective was to generate leads. The video ad converted more people for less money.

The takeaways: What you need to know for more successful Facebook ads

To summarize: our video ad outperformed the image ad in every way. How’s that for a successful hypothesis? What this means for you: if you aren’t already, you should use video in your Facebook Ad campaigns.

Beyond “video works,” our top three tips for better Facebook ads are as follows:

1. Boost sales and collect clicks with video

If the aim of your Facebook Ad game is to generate conversions, video is undoubtedly the way to go. You’ll end up with more sales and spend less money to make it happen. Swap your static images for video and see the difference for yourself.

It’s not all about the ads either — organic social video gets 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. Sounds like a winning combo to us.

2. Test, test, test

As self-appointed video scientists, we know for a fact that vigorous testing is one of the most important parts of an experiment. A/B test new campaigns with a video and image option and test our hypothesis for yourself.

Why not revisit some of your existing image campaigns and revamp them with a video makeover? (Do it in minutes with one of Biteable’s professionally designed Facebook video ad templates.)

Slide on your safety goggles and bring your brand into the lab.

3. Don’t kick images to the curb

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Depending on your brand, your audience, and your style of Facebook marketing, video might not always be the right choice.

An example of this is carousel ads. Video does best when it’s allowed to stand in the spotlight and shine — it doesn’t do so well when it has to share a crowded stage. When flicking through multiple frames of a carousel ad, clear images and bold copy are often more effective.

If you’re not sure which is the best way to go, take a page out of our textbook and put it to the A/B test.

Create scientifically-approved video ads with Biteable

Transforming images into videos is quick and easy with the Biteable video maker. Start with one of our 1000+ ready-to-edit video templates, or use a blank canvas to start from scratch. Create your video in minutes, and put this experiment to the test yourself today.

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