Facebook Video is relatively new and there is a fair amount of confusion regarding its uses for marketing. This post covers some best practices and known challenges when marketing with Facebook Video.
The Facebook market
Facebook’s initiation in video was no accident. Since 2013, it has been introducing new features, user-friendly tools and working with content creators to make its video service a contender with sole rival YouTube.
However, Facebook’s video potential became apparent in the summer of 2014 when users shared more than 17 million videos for the ALS ice bucket challenge. Since then, there has been no looking back.
Tailor your story to your audience.
People are more likely to pay attention to content that’s relevant to their interests, which means you’ll likely get better results if you customize your ad’s message for the people who see it. Consider creating unique videos (or different versions of the same video) for different audience segments.
Invest in production.
Whether you use a camera phone or a production team, secure the best available creative resources and set a realistic production schedule and budget. People are more likely to watch and remember videos that are well-crafted and designed to play on every device.
Use the first few seconds wisely.
Bring your story to life quickly, so as people scroll through News Feed looking for content, your video ad quickly piques people’s interest. Consider showing brand or product imagery in the first few seconds.
Since videos on Facebook autoplay with sound off, it’s important to make sure your video ads entice viewers even when muted. When sound is off, beautiful imagery and on-screen text can help tell your story. When enabled, your video’s sound should offer additional value to viewers and further bring your story to life.
This is one of the most important factors of Facebook’s native video hosting – since visuals auto-play, your Facebook videos have to be short, sweet, to the point and, above all else, eye-catching. Take a look at the metrics Facebook gives for video content and you quickly see that they want fast-paced, engaging content – that long-form, information heavy content that you’ve posted to YouTube won’t work on Facebook. These videos need to be active and visually appealing, so no shots of you talking to the camera in your office either, at least at first.
Facebook Video Perfect for Low/No Budget Campaigns
At least for now. This is sort of a ‘milk the cow while you can’ situation. Image-based content used to get preferential treatment by Facebook, but now it doesn’t – the same thing will likely happen to videos once the revenue sharing program is expanded. But in the meantime, Facebook wants most people to share their videos for free, and thus this is a great chance for marketers to experiment with native posting. Further, Facebook has a great paid ad system in place for videos, so if you want to be a little more self-promotional, consider putting a small amount towards sponsoring a video and try out the site’s call-to-action and analytic systems.
Facebook Is Pushing Videos
The Facebook algorithm may be a mystery but it’s clear that, for the moment, they are pushing videos hard. And that makes sense, since they want users to see Facebook as more than just a place to follow friends – they want to turn it into a content machine. The more frequently people visit, and the longer they stay, the more revenue Facebook generates. Marketers, for months, grumbled about the plummeting engagement rate on non-sponsored posts, but now there’s a chance to reverse that trend by playing into Facebook’s long-term development plans.
Every small business hopes to make the cut and get featured in their follower’s timelines without having to spend money on ads. Video, at least for now, is the perfect opportunity to do that. You shouldn’t discount sponsored video content either – like with other posts on Facebook, that’s likely where this type of content marketing is headed – but in the meantime, use Facebook’s preferential treatment of video to your advantage. Shoot quick, eye-catching videos, and keep an eye on how many views you get that last 30-seconds or more while Facebook is still willing to plug your content to a wider percentage of your following. Then use what worked to plan out future videos for when your sample size shrinks.
Keep in Mind That Facebook “Views” May Be Measured Differently
Facebook counts the “view” at the three second mark (whether or not the viewer has even turned on the sound) in the midst of a precipitous decline in retention. At that moment, 90% of people scrolling the page are still ‘watching’ this silent animated GIF. But by 30 seconds, when viewership actually could be claimed, only 20% are watching. 90% of people are being counted, but only 20% of people are actually “viewing” the video.
YouTube, on the other hand, counts views in a logical way…the view is counted at the point at which people seem to actually be engaging with the video and not just immediately clicking away. This is usually around 30 seconds, but of course is different for videos of different lengths.