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If you’re going to take the time to produce a nice video ad for Facebook — and spend money on ad space — you need to put a little thought into how you’ll reduce the odds of getting scrolled in the feed. We’ve made a lot of video ads for social media, and learned a lot about what makes people watch or walk. Here are 10 hacks we’ve discovered that can prompt people to stop the scroll and digest your message.

1. Make it square

What’s one surefire way to stop people from scrolling past your video in the Facebook feed? Make sure they SEE your ad. Since both Facebook and Instagram feeds allow for a square video format, as opposed to the standard 16 x 9 size, you should always go square! Why, you ask? Because it means it will actually take up more real estate in the feed — which gives your audience a better look at your message.

2. Start with a blurred image

On Instagram, all images begin with a blurry effect before they load. Beginning your video with a blurred image is a handy little hack that can motivate people to stop their scroll to see what loads before realizing they are watching an ad. Just the first 2-3 seconds is all you need

3. Open with a shocking visual effect

Try some fun editing visual effects that just might make viewers stop in their tracks. Like what, you ask? Lately, there are a few trends making waves: shaking images, bouncing images or sliding transitions, to name a few. Experiment with creative intros. Here’s an example of one that we did with a iPad case company. Whatever you do, just make it eye-catching and different from the other stuff in the feed.

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4. Use bold graphics to explain

Don’t miss the opportunity to tell viewers how amazing your video is with bold opening titles. Use these teaser tools to explain the valuable/innovative/game-changing content they’re about to witness. Often a few choice words in bold graphics are just enough to pull a scroller into your world. If they know what they are getting into—and your teaser sounds intriguing—they are more likely to give you their precious time.

5. Dangle a discount or offer

If your plan is to give video viewers a discount or special offer in your video ad, try kicking off the whole thing with the offer. By opening the first frame with the “WIIFM,” you’re motivating them to let it play and take action after it’s done. If a viewer is even slightly interested in the offer, they will stop, listen and probably stick around for the rest of the video ad. You can always A/B test different deals as well to optimize for engagement or conversions.

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6. Explain your product right away

Here’s another captivating way to start your video — as soon as it fades from blurry, quickly detail your product and its key features. It can be a challenge to get the key points across in a short and sweet way, but if you can do it right, it’ll hook many scrollers and keep them watching. It’s especially effective for companies with a very unique product or value proposition. Once they’re engaged, you can then hit them with stronger follow-up details: testimonials, how-to instructions or a call to action.

7. Add animations

Animation are fun to watch! Using them in your video, especially in the first few seconds, can be a great way to get your piece of content to stand out from all of the noise filling up the feed. Since most of your potential viewers’ Facebook and Instagram feeds are comprised of static photographs and text posts, your video ad is sure to pop if it features bold and visually exciting animations.

8. Make it look real

Beware of over-producing! Often overly polished Facebook ads can make viewers numb to the messages they contain, and they’ll end up skip right over ads that look surreal. Try making your video ads look like native Facebook content — like a vlog or selfie-style review of a product. With a realistic approach, many viewers will stop before even realizing they are watching an ad!

9. Copy the “news” style

A lot of organically shared content on social media comes from news or media companies. You can mimic this look by adding some overlay explainer text that matches these styles. Also try to use text that’s written in the the third person — for example, “This guy is trying to…” or “This team wants to…”

10. Sex sells!

This rule is as old as advertising itself because it works. It may be low-hanging fruit, but using attractive models to demonstrate your product or service is a very effective tool to get people’s attention — and stop them from scrolling.

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