A quick scroll through Facebook’s news feed shows the rise in social video marketing and advertising.
Mark Zuckerberg himself has said that video is a “mega-trend.” Facebook has been pushing video in the news feed for a couple years now, making Facebook Live accessible to brands and consumers and being a platform for content outlets like Buzzfeed and The Dodo to excel with their video storytelling. Facebook Watch encourages episodic video from content creators.
It’s no surprise then that Facebook released their own video tool this summer, making it even easier for brands to take advantage of this growing trend.
At Social Sidekick, we wanted to see how this tool measured up to other video tools we use to help our clients succeed on Facebook with video. So, I took Facebook’s video effects tool, along with two others, for a spin.
I made a promotional video for Facebook with each tool. Here’s what I found:
1. Facebook’s free video effects tool
With this easy-to-use app, I was able to get to a finished product within minutes.
Facebook’s video effects tool offers four font styles and a variety of background colors to compliment a specific brand or logo. Users can change colors, images, text and fonts by entering the app’s editing mode from Facebook’s mobile app only. In the video below, I used two product photos along with a short line of text—both of which were automatically animated by the tool.
According to a recent study by Buffer, square video takes up 78 percent more space in the mobile news feed than landscape, which is likely why the Facebook tool adjusts all images into square format.
The video required minimal effort, with a three-slide template. However, the lack of flexibility with the video effects tool could be a concern, since having the ability to differentiate your social video content is key when it comes to success as a brand.
- Ease of use: The Facebook tool makes it impressively easy to get from creation to finished product. The app creates eye-catching, bite-sized animations that are both Facebook Feed and Stories-friendly.
- Facebook ad optimization: In the video effects tool, you can choose specific settings (for instance, targeting, budget, length of ad, etc.) directly from the app, making sharing your video ad on Facebook a hassle-free experience. Users can also save the ad, and boost the video post again at a later date.
- Facebook metrics: The Facebook Ads Manager app offers metrics and general insight into the content you boost or pay to advertise, a useful way to gauge the kind of content that resonates well with your or your client’s audience.
- Cost-effective: Though you have to pay to share your post, the creation tool itself is a free feature of the Facebook app.
- Limited to Facebook ads.
- Limited customizability and branding options.
- Only square ratio available.
2. Animoto’s drag-and-drop video marketing tool
Animoto is equipped with design options that help users produce a professional video in under 15 minutes. The video below was made using the “Bite-Sized Product Intro” storyboard, and some photos I had.
Since I had no video clips of my own, I did a quick search in the app for an on-brand stock video to spruce up the company logo. Animoto recently added over 1 million images and video clips from Getty Images.
I ended up adding a video clip and a photo from Getty at the end of my client’s video. Lastly, I chose the square format, and entered customer testimonials I had on-hand into Animoto’s quote feature.
While not free like Facebook’s tool, the $22 per month price allows me to have access to all features, including choosing brand colors, adding logo watermark to the video.
- Value: For PR pros, it’s crucial to create quickly, often without eye-catching photo or video assets at-hand. Having access to over 1 million stock photos and video clips is a game-changer. I was able to get started easily, address the specific needs of my client, and create a social-friendly video—fast.
- Customizability: Animoto’s text, color and logo features were convenient branding tools, and helped me create a professional video without spending hours on one project.
- Versatility: With a variety of features (like over 60 storyboards, quote features, stock & music library and ratios), Animoto isn’t limited to Facebook video ads. It’s also a great creation tool for other online content you might want to share organically (and on other social media sites). Additionally, you can share videos directly from Animoto’s site to all major social platforms.
- You can’t create marketing videos on mobile.
- At $22 per month, this is the most expensive of the three options.
- Text size must be customized manually for each slide.
3. Adobe Spark’s storytelling video app
Adobe Spark, a mobile and desktop video creation tool, offers a variety of fonts and 24 preset video templates, which help keep your promotional video on-brand. I chose the “Light,” template and alternated between “Fullscreen” and “Split Screen” modes. Like Animoto, Spark’s templates offer plenty of social video inspiration to get you started.
For this promotional video, I was able to upload my batch of photos and enter the testimonials into Spark’s user-friendly interface—and add a song from the app’s music library. The current version of Adobe Spark does not have an option for stock video footage, only stock photos. The video ad below took about 15 minutes to create.
Similar to Animoto’s free version, Spark places their logo on finished video projects. For $9.99 a month, users have access to increased branding options, with customizable colors and fonts, and the ability to add their own logo to their projects. Spark makes it easy to create unique, branded content. Once you’re done creating your video, simply download it onto your mobile or desktop device and upload the video directly to Facebook.
- Versatility: Like Animoto, Spark allows users to create videos that can be shared on several platforms, not just Facebook. Additionally, Spark offers both landscape and square ratios.
- Customizability: Differentiating clients’ brands on social media is a priority for many PR pros and marketing professionals. A tool like Spark gives users the ability to customize text, colors and fonts, creating a finished product that stands out on social.
- Mobile and desktop: Access to Spark’s user-friendly mobile and desktop apps lets users create wherever they are, which is convenient for PR professionals creating a significant amount of social content on-the-go.
- No logo or text size customization
- No stock video options—only stock photos
- No ability to share directly to social media sites
Cassie Galasetti is the co-founder of Social Sidekick Media, Branding & Public Relations.