Advertising on social video platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter empowers marketers to reach and engage their target audience — especially the hard-to-reach millennial demographic. But managing a high-performing campaign requires a deep knowledge of the online video ad landscape, as the various types of ad formats and view definitions can create cross-platform confusion.
Each social video platform offers distinct advantages, however, and by finding the right balance of paid advertising across platforms, marketers can engage their consumers and achieve their business objectives.
Here’s a brief overview of video advertising formats offered by each social video platform:


Alphabet’s YouTube has over 1B users, and reaches more 18-34 or 18-49 year olds in the U.S. on mobile alone than any cable network. Viewers open YouTube on their desktop, phone, and (increasingly) their set-top box with the desire and expectation to view video — as a result, Pixability has found that YouTube video ads result in high view rates and view-to-completion rates. Marketers looking to raise brand or product awareness should consider optimizing their spend toward YouTube video advertising, which includes the following ad units available via AdWords:
TrueView In-Stream: With no limit on video length, TrueView In-Stream ads offer marketers creative freedom in their brand’s story. Viewers can skip these ad units after 5 seconds, and YouTube counts a view after 30 seconds — meaning advertisers only pay for views by users that are interested enough to keep watching the ad.
TrueView video discovery: Appearing natively in search results, TrueView video discovery ads can capture audience interest at the moment they’re seeking out new video content. Views are counted after a user clicks through to view the ad, ensuring advertisers are reaching relevant, interested viewers.
Bumper ads: YouTube’s latest video ad unit, Bumper ads are designed to bolster an In-stream campaign with incremental reach, particularly on mobile. 6 seconds in length, these ads are non-skippable, are bought on a CPM basis.


Facebook counts 1.7B users among its massive audience, which generates more than 8B video views per day. In recent years, Facebook has been making video a priority, tweaking its newsfeed algorithm and developing new mobile ad products in an effort capture more eyeballs and video ad dollars from YouTube. Pixability has found that video ad campaigns on Facebook are particularly effective for direct response campaigns, as the user experience lends itself to clicking through to learn more about a product or service.
Video Ads: Video ads on Facebook appear as a native post within a user’s newsfeed. Facebook counts views after 50% of the video’s pixels are in-view for 3 second. While videos currently autoplay on silent by default, Facebook is currently testing autoplay with sound on with some users.
Carousel: Carousel ads give advertisers the flexibility to share multiple photos, videos, and links within a single post — generating much higher click-through rates as a result — and are sold on a cost-per-thousand-impressions basis.


Facebook’s mobile-only photo and video sharing platform recently surpassed 500M users, 80% of whom live outside of the U.S. The app’s audience skews younger than other social video platforms — making Instagram a strong choice for advertisers seeking to engage the hard-to-reach millennial segment.
Video: Like Facebook, Instagram video ads appear natively, and views are counted after 50% of the video’s pixels are in-view for 3 seconds. However, as Instagram videos loop upon completion, views are only counted once per user.
Carousel: Instagram offers Carousel ads as well — these photo or video ads give advertisers a greater opportunity to tell an immersive story with multiple images or videos, and are sold on cost-per-thousand-impressions.


With 313M monthly active users, Twitter has been combating its slow growth by rapidly developing video capabilities, in an attempt to attract audiences and advertising dollars. While still relatively young, Twitter’s video ad platform offers advertisers the ability to engage niche audiences in real time. For more on the strength of Twitter’s video ad platform, check out our recent blog.
Promoted Video: Promoted video appears as a native post within a user’s timeline. These videos range from 30 seconds to ten minutes in length, and autoplay with the sound off by default — once a user clicks, the video expands to full view and plays with the sound activated. Views are counted when the video is 100% in-view for 3 seconds.
In-stream pre-roll: These 30 second video ads appear before select partner’s video content via Twitter’s Amplify program. Like Promoted Videos, in-stream pre-roll autoplays with the sound off by default, and counts views after the video is 100% in view for 3 seconds.
Achieving superior campaign performance requires the right mix of video advertising on each platform. To learn more about how Pixability’s social video advertising solution has helped the world’s leading agencies and brands, contact us today.