Success With Social Media Ads: Video vs Images

There’s plenty to suggest that video is the big star of digital advertising for 2019 and beyond—just take a look at these inspiring stats:

With figures like that, it’s easy to understand why 87% of marketers use video content, but what does that mean for images? After all, they too bring in results:

With so many positives in favour of each visual asset, it can be perplexing when trying to decide on what will work better for your social media advertising campaigns.

We all want a better cost-per-click or cost-per-conversion. So which of these two mediums is going to deliver?

The real answer: Both! Video and imagery should be separate components under the umbrella of an overarching inbound digital marketing strategy. Each one has a purpose, and success is down to your ability to formulate an effective plan, continuously test your adverts, and optimise your content.

Video is a fantastic tool for:

  • Sharing ideas, stories and information.
  • Promoting products, events and services.
  • Generating interest from buyers and managing your public profile.

Images can help you to get better engagement from customers who may otherwise not have paid attention to your written content. A clear visual of your product also helps them to develop a desire for it.

An optimised video or image that has been targeted to the right audience and supported by strong CTAs could at any time outperform the other.

Let’s discuss how you can achieve this.

How to optimise your videos for social media advertising


  • This social media platform recommends uploading HD video with an aspect ratio no larger than 1280 pixels wide and divisible by 16 pixels. If you’re including sound, the sample rate needs to be 44,100 Hz.
  • Most videos on Facebook are watched with the sound on mute, so add captions to prevent your message from getting lost.
  • Make sure that you target your video to the most relevant users. This is where knowledge of your buyer personas really comes into play.
  • Include a clear CTA that aligns with your objectives.


Approximately 80% of B2B leads come from this platform, so it’s crucial for your videos to speak directly to the particular users found here. As with every video you put out, you must start with a direct intention in mind.

LinkedIn video ads can be up to 30 minutes long, although you’d need to have a very good reason to make a video ad that long.

Keep your layout horizontal (you’ll have to take this into account when filming), or else it will be cropped into a square for the newsfeed.

The pixel and aspect ratios for LinkedIn ads are recommended as follows:

  • 360p (480 x 360; wide 640 x 360)
  • 480p (640 x 480)
  • 720p (960 x 720; wide 1280 x 720)
  • 1080p (1440 x 1080; wide 1920 x 1080)


The number one tip for this platform is to ensure that your video blends in naturally to Instagram feeds, so try to keep it simple, personal and authentic.

There are two different formats to consider here:

  • Stories - aspect ratio of 1080 x 1920p
  • Newsfeed - aspect ratio of 1080 x 1080p

You should always maintain visual consistency with anything you put out on Instagram as it helps to build brand awareness.

Keep your calls-to-action clear and easy to follow.

How to optimise your images for social media advertising

Regardless of which platform you are using, your image has to distinctly convey what people will get out of clicking on your CTA. Make sure that the content is appropriate and that it will resonate with your audience.

Here are the key dimensions you need to know for the most popular platforms:


Shared images on Facebook have an aspect ratio of 504 x 504p.


Images should be horizontal so that your preview and expanded image are the same. Aspect ratio dimensions should not exceed 1024 x 512p.


Newsfeed pictures are always square with an aspect ratio of 2048 x 2048p.


Images accompanying your advert should be 50 x 50p.

A/B test your video and image adverts

The only way you will ever truly know what your audience responds to is by regularly A/B testing your messaging.

You should test a variety of combinations to make sure you’re getting the best results; test video against video, or video against image, etc.

The following aspects will affect how viewers engage with your videos and images:

  • The copy in your calls-to-action
  • Colours
  • Fonts
  • The content of your images and videos
  • Your thumbnail
  • The story your videos and images convey
  • The length of your video
  • The impactfulness of your headline

It may seem like a tedious prospect at first, but it’s important that you put in the effort to tailor your content and tweak it continuously as you study the metrics and responses that come in as your run your ads. Something as simple as a poorly selected thumbnail could make all the difference when it comes to getting engagement.

The final say

The images that you put out alongside your social ads–be they moving or static–should always correlate with who you are as a brand. Don’t get wrapped up in the statistics of what is more successful and what isn’t – just ensure that whatever you are choosing to put out is of good quality, aligns with the objectives of your campaign and is relevant to the CTAs and desired actions you are pushing for.

Naturally, videos are great for when you want to explain something to the customer, entertain them or quickly grab their attention. Outstream videos, also referred to as native videos, will start playing automatically when a viewer scrolls near it. They then auto-pauses if the viewer begins to navigate away. This means your video is always ready to engage with the person intuitively and puts you on their radar more assertively than instream video.

The right image can enhance the memorability of your adverts for viewers and help you to stand out from competitors. Not everyone will have the time or be in the right environment to listen to and watch a video. But a clear image with a strong CTA will make your point effectively and quickly.

The truth is that any number of things could put your advert at a disadvantage, but your visual assets should always be optimised, tested and tailored for your ideal buyer persona and displayed for viewers who are in the corresponding section of the sales funnel.

If you are actively doing this when designing and publishing your adverts, you are bound to see a good return on investment.

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