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Insights That Work

Facebook Tests Cross-Platform Performance of Mobile-First Videos

[Insights That Work - Case Study] Macromill tested mobile video ad performance on Facebook and Instagram to determine best-practice video guidelines for “feed-proof videos”.


Digital-native consumers today are constantly stimulated by ads on smaller handheld screens where only ads that are personal, relevant and cater to their shorter attention spans have any impact on their consumer behavior.

To thrive in such a crowded digital ad environment, Facebook, the global SNS giant, reached out to MetrixLab, one of the Macromill Group companies headquartered in the Netherlands, to conduct an analysis of 68 FMCG video campaigns in EMEA in 2016. The analysis was aimed at uncovering key creative attributes that positively influence mobile video ad performance on Facebook. Building on the learnings from this study, Facebook again approached MetrixLab to implement further research to explore whether the same video could be used effectively on both Facebook and Instagram, to provide creative guidance for campaigns using both platforms simultaneously.


To test this out, MetrixLab analyzed 80 video ads on Facebook and Instagram from 11 categories in the UK, with half of them categorized as “feed-proof videos” – those meeting the following MetrixLab video creative standards developed as a result of the 2016 EMEA study:

  • Incorporating brand identity within the first 3 seconds
  • Showing the brand for at least half of the video duration
  • Effective without sound
  • Featuring the core message at the beginning

The remaining half were categorized as “non-optimized” videos that did not meet these standards.

MetrixLab used a performance grid that plots video performance to evaluate 80 ads in two dimensions of “Breakthrough”, Metrix Lab’s assessment of an ad’s ability to generate stopping power and be recalled, and “Response”, an ability to generate an emotional response or drive consumer action.

All ads were manually coded across over twenty variables and each video was tested among a consumer audience using MetrixLab’s digital video copy testing approach. All surveys were completed on a mobile device with testing carried out in the Facebook environment and then in the Instagram environment. For each ad test, a scorecard was developed showing performance vs. benchmarks.

The results showed that feed-proofed videos on both Facebook and Instagram performed 1.2 times to 2.2 times better than non-optimized videos in terms of ad recognition, message recall, average view time and completed views. This confirmed that MetrixLab’s feed-proofing guidelines derived from the previous study are not limited to Facebook but are best-practice guidelines that work also for Instagram.


Facebook were able to demonstrate that the advertisers can expect their feed-proof video to work equally in both feeds with consistent outcomes, but platform still matters. Great news from this research is that an advertiser whose primary goal on Facebook is cost efficiency can – and should – extend their campaign Instagram within a campaign using Facebook’s Placement Optimization tool.

In addition, extending a Facebook campaign to include Instagram can help increase the size of a campaign’s available audience by allowing it to reach people across two of today’s most important mobile platforms. Advertisers may also benefit from a lower CPM while keeping a consistent level of return, which could ultimately increase their return on ad spend, or campaign efficiency.

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Scott Ernst

Scott Ernst

Representative Executive Officer, Global CEO, Macromill Group