Designing Social Media Video Ads for Sound-Off Success

Designing creative for your social media marketing campaigns is a process that involves countless important choices, and different experts will always have different advice on how to introduce your promos or catch a user’s attention. But one concept near consensus is this: for social media video ads, your message should come through loud and clear even with the sound off.

Have you ever found yourself scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram, or maybe TikTok in a public place? You probably don’t want to draw attention to yourself with a sudden burst of noise from their smartphone, so you’ll opt to keep your volume on mute. If you’ve been there, you’re not alone—you’re actually in the vast majority. 

An estimated 85% of users scroll through the world’s most popular social platform, Facebook, with the volume off—and the majority of users on most other platforms do, too. That means that if an advertiser is only using a voiceover to convey its marketing message, plenty of users will scroll right past without paying the ad any attention.

Tips for Sound-Off Social Videos

Videos that remain entertaining or educational and easy to understand without sound are more likely to catch the eye and retain viewers. Conveying your message effectively, even without audio, is crucial to capturing that estimated 85% of silent scrollers on the Facebook platform alone. 

Below we’ve laid out our tips for making your social media video ads for Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok more effective for sound-off viewers. 

Text Overlays Should Go Beyond Subtitles

Yes, your video ads should always have subtitles that reflect their narration, but there are other text overlays to prioritize, as well. Since many video ad placement types, like Instagram Stories, aren’t accompanied by surrounding ad copy and headlines, you want to also ensure the main headline of the ad—what you want users to take away from it—is also displayed somewhere in bold font. That also applies to your calls-to-action (CTAs).

Mood-Setting Visuals Are Essential for Social Video Ads

When users see your ad in silence, they’re losing more than just the voiceover. They also won’t hear the ambient sounds of the footage, or the mood-appropriate music you spent so much time picking out.Without that, you’ve lost an important emotional tool that helps audiences understand the message you’re trying to get across. 

Quick Transitions Keep Facebook and Instagram Users Engaged

Attention spans on social media were already pretty short before TikTok started to speed them up even more. The trend has long since spread to Facebook and Instagram video ads: more brands are transitioning to…more transitions. By giving multiple shots or product views in one short video ad, we find that you can keep users from scrolling away as quickly—especially without sound.

Questions Can Encourage On-Screen Interaction

Questions are great in advertising: Prompt the viewer to stop and ponder for a few seconds, and they’ll suddenly find themselves a few seconds deeper in your ad. There are plenty of native platform tools that help you recreate this effect, even with the sound off. Instagram, for instance, offers things like polls, favorability sliders, and multiple choice questions that can appear on-screen during your ads. For one thing, this can get you some insight on your audience. For another, it will pique a user’s interest in seeing how other people answered, which they can only do once they have interacted themselves while watching the ad.

If All Else Fails…Encourage Sound On!

If audio is absolutely essential to your product pitch, as it can be for some ad concepts or even product types, then you can always just encourage users to turn their audio on. That can be done through visuals, perhaps by having someone react to something abrupt offscreen, or by simply adding an on-screen CTA that says “Sound on!”

Social Expertise Across Platforms and Formats

At ADM, we pride ourselves on building innovative, creative-driven social campaigns that help companies grow. We also love the challenge of constantly innovating around user behaviors and new social media trends and tools to keep our clients ahead of the pack. Emerging video ad formats for social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are just one example. To learn more about our cross-channel social strategy and suite of ad creative offerings, don’t hesitate to reach out to the ADM team today!