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There are many reasons to turn the sound off on social video. Perhaps you’re in a public place, at work, or just want some peace and quiet. Maybe the video is in a language you don’t understand or you have a hearing impairment. Whatever the reason, you’re not alone.

In 2016, Facebook created default settings where newsfeed ads would play silently. During that time, 85% of Facebook users watched video with the sound off. Facebook has since reversed the setting, but many people still prefer to watch in silence.

For video creators, silence is not a barrier to entry, but an opportunity to get creative. If you want to reach as many leads as possible with your marketing videos, you need to meet people where they are – whether it’s in Timbuktu or Nebraska, on the metro or at home, using a Pixel or iPad, on a fast connection or dial-up. With a few simple tactics, you can make a silent Facebook video ad as effective as an action movie trailer.

The tactics behind a successful silent video

A Facebook video ad has to grab viewers’ attention and keep it. Silence adds an extra layer of difficulty. However, silence has its advantages. It forces you to make the video more accessible and more visually interesting. There’s ample opportunity to make an impact.

There are two main ways to bolster your silent video on Facebook, or anywhere else you might be sharing:

  • Text that’s smarter than speech: Edit your message down to snappy captions, title cards, and calls to action
  • Actions that speak louder than words: Show plenty of faces, make bold editing choices, and add design flair

When you put several of these tactics to work at once, you can tell an exciting story about your product or business that is accessible to everyone, and convincing to your audience.

Text that’s smarter than speech

In a silent ad, text has to tell your company’s story efficiently. To write great text, you need to think like an editor. The hardest decisions are not about what to write, but what to leave out. Vivid captions, title cards, and calls-to-action will boost ad recall, which is vital for converting and retaining customers.

Captions

Captions make your content more accessible and can even boost SEO. You can reach millions of people via captions, including people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and those who do not speak English. In addition, many people choose to turn captions on to understand content better.

Captions are so important, you can’t afford to rely on autogenerated captions, or pay an outside service to caption your videos. You really need to bake them into your production process, like new shoe brand Antonia Saint NY. A promo video for their Kickstarter features scripted caption text.

Within the first five seconds, the comfortable high heels are described as “like a sneaker inside.”


Source: Antonia Saint NY

With economic captions, Antonia Saint NY eloquently describes what makes their product different. The short captions worked – piquing the interest of its target audience of urban women, and helping the company to drum up over $1.8 million in pre-orders.

With video templates tailored to Facebook, such as the Simple Promo, it’s easy to build a captioned video in Shakr. In this template, big purple headline text pops out of a white box, and classic caption text appears below.

When you use a Shakr template to make your video captions, the design of the captions is already included, so you can just focus on writing clear, memorable copy that moves viewers to act.

Title cards

Title cards are another way to make key pieces of information stand out in a silent video. You can use title cards to introduce your video or your product, insert sharp transitions, parcel out how-to steps, or even pause for comedic effect.

Kahoot! is an ed-tech platform that turns learning into fun group quiz games. When introducing their app, they use title cards to walk viewers through the main features.


Source: Kahoot!

Kahoot! puts a title card at the start of the video announcing what it’s about. They also include title cards at the start of each section, in the simple format of “1. Create a Challenge,” and “2. Accept a Challenge.”

In Shakr, you can find several templates with built-in title cards. If you want to make a how-to video similar to Kahoot’s, or create a slideshow-style video, you can do so with templates such as Tips and Tricks or Fashion Slide.

The clear contrast of monochrome and big, legible lettering make any idea you want to emphasize impossible to miss.

Calls to action

Without a prominent CTA, your silent video won’t clinch new customers. They’ll simply move onto the next thing in their feed. Though Facebook puts a CTA button on posts, it’s important to place a call where viewers are already looking – on the video itself.

Ada Health, a telemedicine app, places a “Get it on Google Play” CTA on a video announcing the Android version.


Source: Ada Health

Often the best way to learn about a new app or service is simply to try it out. This CTA directs curious viewers to download.

According to Facebook, the formula of short video + clear CTA worked. Ada’s video ads generated one million signups in less than eight months while decreasing the cost per signup.

Almost all video templates on Shakr have the option to add a CTA at the end.

Striking typeface, large font, and color contrast make for a bold CTA that helps your brand stand out.

Visual tactics

Words are great, but a silent video also needs to pack in a lot of action to convince someone to buy a product. Visual cues from faces, fast-paced action, and design will help convince people of value.

Showing facial expressions

Our brains are hardwired to look for faces. We read them for social and emotional cues. By putting faces in a video, you can help build familiarity and steer people towards action. In a testimonial video, Redbooth pulls out client faces to discuss their productivity software.


Source: Redbooth

Putting the quote next to the person who said it builds credibility and empathy. Viewers can better understand the value of Redbooth’s product when they see how it makes people feel.

You don’t need a lot of design know-how to create this kind of video. You can shoot your own customer interviews and then add them into a Shakr template such as Speech Bubble.

When you’re filming, make sure to focus on faces. No extreme zoom necessary, but when you frame the face, you can capture emotions like excitement and relief. Also, shoot in an aspect ratio that will be friendly for Facebook and Instagram. The clip above is in 1:1.

Dynamic footage

A video with lots of movement is hard to ignore, even in total silence.

To introduce their Site Audit tool, Ahrefs creates an eye-catching opener with colorful illustrations.


Source: Ahrefs

The video dives right into the product dashboard, showing fast-moving previews from the user perspective. Within the first 30 seconds, you know how to use it. It’s easy to see yourself getting results right away.

Whether you’re using screencasts or shots of your product in action, it’s important to get the pacing right. In Shakr, you can sort templates by energy. Select “high” to create more hype.

When you show lots of action, you’ll drive users towards your CTA with momentum.

Product-focused design

Simple design – including elements like animation, typography, color, and illustration – goes a long way towards directing the eye towards important info.

Toothbrush maker Quip makes their product the star of the show with tons of whitespace and simple icons.

Source: Quip

The whitespace works especially well for customers seeking cleaner and whiter teeth. The tagline “simplify your health” speaks to the desire to improve dental health without expense or hassle. With the help of design, Quip solidifies that message.

If you want to DIY your design, you can use a service like Canva to add design to your product photos, and them pop those into a Shakr slideshow template. Several Shakr templates also have built-in design to suit a variety of moods.

Templates like Half & Half are designed to make your product shine. Feel free to mix and match pre-made designs with your own creations!

The power of quiet conversions

A great silent video works very hard to catch your eye, but still looks beautiful and effortless. The tactics above will help create maximum impact while people are scrolling by. Once people are watching, text and visuals focused on action will move people faster through your purchase funnel. In your next video, start with a strategy that works well with all audiences, wherever they are. You’ll soon see the power of quiet conversions.

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Anton Eliasson

Head of growth at Shakr.