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What is a Video Sales Letter Ad(VSL)? (Updated for 2024)

By Shash7. Posted under guides Posted on 9th Mar, 2023 - Updated on 11th Jul, 2024

What is a Video Sales Letter Ad(VSL)? (Updated for 2024) - Blog post banner image for Swipekit

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Have you ever wondered about those lengthy video ads you encounter in the Facebook Ad Library? These are known as Video Sales Letter Ads (VSL from now on), and they can be incredibly effective. As an advertiser, creating VSL Ads can potentially get you insane ROAS.

Here's the load down on VSL Ads.


What is a Video Sales Letter (VSL)?

A Video Sales Letter (VSL) is a long-form video ad, typically ranging from 5 to 30 minutes in length. VSL Ads can be much longer too. I've seen one going for over an hour.

Unlike traditional short video ads, VSLs delve deep into the product or service being advertised, often featuring a narrator or presenter who delivers a compelling sales pitch. The objective is to highlight the benefits, address pain points, and build trust with the audience.


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Longer style VSL Ads are typically of guys like Tony Robbins, Grant Cardone, Russell Brunson, etc.

These ads are designed to engage viewers emotionally and include a clear call-to-action (CTA), such as purchasing a product, signing up for a newsletter, or requesting more information. Because of their persuasive nature, VSLs are a popular choice in online marketing campaigns, particularly for products and services that require a more detailed explanation or emotional connection.

Why VSLs are Effective in Facebook Ads Campaigns

In the crowded digital advertising space, VSLs stand out for several reasons:

1) In-Depth Information. Unlike short ads, VSLs provide ample time to explain complex products or services, making them ideal for high-ticket items or solutions requiring detailed explanations.

2) Emotional Engagement. Through storytelling and direct communication, VSLs can forge a strong emotional connection with the audience, fostering trust and loyalty.

3) Better Ad Targeting. With the ability to convey a tailored message, VSLs allow for precise targeting, ensuring the right audience is reached with the right message.

Ultimately, VSLs are great for selling abstract services who's value proposition might not be clear. It doesn't mean they are irrelevant to eComm businesses, you just need a different approach.

Creating Your Own VSL Ad: A Step-by-Step Guide

A great VSL Ad starts with a great Ad brief. Here's a sample guide on creating the brief.

1) Send a strong Hook. Very import for VSL Ads specifically. You need a strong hook to draw the viewer in.

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Snippet taken from Sabri Suby's Ad. This Ad performed really well and he made a few variations of the hook but kept the rest of the Ad intact.

2) Define the problem. Explain the problem. This piece typically goes for a longer period of time. Explain in depth what issues the problem is created and how much of a headache the customer is facing(make them think "yeah, agree")

3) Show your solution. Whether you're selling a service or a product, you need to be subtle about this. Some VSLs interweave this part with an offer, or with the problem part. Others have a distinct section in the video. See the examples section below.

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Explain how your solution is better. See this snippet of a Magic Spoon Ad for example.

4) Explain how your solution is better than the existing solutions. Optional, but might be a good video segment if you're selling in a crowded market.

5) Provide social proof. Lastly, if you have any major customers, feel free to shout them name. You can also do this in the hooks section to grab the viewer's attention. Feel free to also mention endorsements and media shoutouts if you've got them, eg: As seen in the New York times.

Clean Shot 2024 07 11 at 19.23.10@2x

Snippet taken from a Spacegoods static Ad. Not a VSL but the concept is the same, throw social proof around.

Now that you've created your Ad brief, here's a straightforward way to generate an Ad.

1) Pick the narrator. You can get a creator to narrate the VSL ad, but you can also use a text-to-speech program like elevenlab's tool to create the voice.

Fun fact, the obnoxious southern American voice in Ads and videos on social media is taken from elevenlab's Adam voice.

2) Create the video. This can be super time consuming for larger VSL. Especially if you're creating an Ad for a product. A common strategy is to get the product creator/client involved.

This is a topic in itself. There are heaps of examples out there with founder run VSL Ads. I might write a post on this in the future.

Example of a VSL Ad

ColonBroom's Ad. This Ad has clearly defined video segments.

  • Hook - first 4 seconds
  • 5 - 18 seconds - Problem solution + product
  • 19 - 32 seconds - offer

I personally believe it could be better, but this was one of their better Ads, clocking in at 44 days of runtime.

Sabri Suby’s Ad: Sabri Suby’s VSL ad is a prime example of how to craft a compelling video sales letter. The ad features a strong hook, addresses the audience’s pain points, introduces the solution effectively, and provides ample social proof.

And the comments on the Ad were chef's kiss. Everyone was raving about the Ad and this is when you know you have a winner.

This,in my opinion is one of the best examples of a proper VSL Ad.

Closing thoughts

Video Sales Letter Ads (VSLs) offer a unique and effective way to engage with your audience, build trust, and drive conversions.

By following the steps outlined above, you can create VSLs that resonate with your target audience and achieve your marketing goals. Remember to focus on understanding your audience, crafting a strong hook, addressing their pain points, introducing your solution convincingly, providing social proof, and ending with a clear call to action.

Lastly, here's a plug for Swipekit. With Swipekit, you can save videos like the ones above from the Facebook ad library. Think of a storage of the best Ads you can find. Plus it has a host of features to help you find winning Ads.

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