Over 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day. Let that sink in for a second.
Over the past half-decade, video has taken most social media platforms by storm. And Facebook, leading the way, has made a significant shift to a service whose algorithm prioritizes video content. However, to say the change has been all about the algorithm wouldn’t be right.
Audiences prefer video content to all other alternatives, and if you’re not using video on Facebook, you’re missing out big time.
The thing is, as a brand, you shouldn’t just hit record and upload whatever comes out the other end, you need to create content that engages your audience and motivates them to share it with others.
As any skilled video company worth their salt will tell you, there are plenty of ways of cracking that egg. Yet, if it’s results you’re after, there are some key elements for using video on Facebook that you should be aware of.
Getting better reach and engagement
Even though video content still gets more engagement than other types of media on Facebook, the past couple of years have seen a few important changes to the algorithm that directly affect the issue of reach.
Facebook prioritizes posts from regular people on its users’ timelines, and a brand's organic reach seems to be somewhat limited… unless they pay, of course. Luckily, Facebook Ads can be very cost-effective with a good strategy.
So, with a little bit of investment, you can put your videos on your target audiences’ timelines pretty consistently. Best way to go about it? Target your existing audience first.
People who are following your Facebook page have already expressed an interest in your brand; making it far more likely that they’ll interact further with your content.
Shares, likes, and comments will boost your video’s natural engagement rates, marking it interesting to the algorithm. This will directly affect how often your piece will appear in user’s timelines and increase the chances of their friends and family also seeing your content too.
Longer or shorter content?
You’ve heard it everywhere — “video on social media should be as short as possible." Buuuuut, wait a minute. That’s not always the case on this platform.
On Facebook, really short videos tend to not perform as well as they do on other social platforms, like Twitter or Instagram. The optimal video length for timeline videos on Facebook sits between the 60 and 90 seconds, but they can actually be as long as 3 minutes and still perform really well.
When it comes to live-videos, the best length seems to be 15 minutes; it’s the perfect amount of time you can expect to keep your viewers engaged before starting to lose their attention.
Which types of videos perform best?
What a question, isn’t it?
There are lots of videos that can work really well on Facebook as long as they’re relevant to your target audience. If you create quality, engaging content that brings value to them, most of the time, your videos will be shared — and that should always rank high on your list of goals.
So, a better question you should be asking yourself is; "Which types of videos would my audience be most interested in?” Let’s go over a few popular types to get those ideas rolling:
People love to learn new things, especially if they’re doing it in a way that's easy, visual, and interesting.
Do this by creating animated content. Most people have an easier time learning things while engaging with graphics in motion than when they’re just watching an explanation from someone sitting across from a camera. Moreover, animation can give you a lot of tools to illustrate your ideas and get your message across.
Have you heard of whiteboard videos? The format gives you a great way to deliver educational content: it’s the perfect match between an educational environment (the classroom whiteboard) and a fun animation.
Explainer videos are an excellent tool for when you want to provide a lot of information about your brand and your product while keeping people interested all the way through; something that’s essential in a social media environment. Remember, with so much content vying for your audience’s attention, having a piece that can capture them from the get-go is vital.
Explainers come in handy particularly when you need to cover complex services or products quickly and clearly. Explainers give you a platform to do so through colorful animations, good storytelling, and characters your audience can identify with.
People love to watch how-to videos on Facebook. Ever since the video recipes of Tasty and Tastemade took over the world, it’s one of the most viral types of content on the platform.
Again, we’re dealing with the fact that people love to learn new things. This is also a type of content that - if it’s relevant to the rest of your brand - will be of interest to your audience, making it highly shareable.
Seek to create these types of videos, but adapt them to your company and brand. Find topics your audience might be interested in, and create educational videos about them. Develop an explainer covering your flagship service, and start making how-tos that provide value to your customers. Do it right, and you’ll see your video content on Facebook start to grow in popularity.
Make sure to upload natively
Understanding Facebook’s algorithm is a tricky endeavor, but there are a few insights we've managed to puzzle out by now. When it comes to video content and the algorithm, the most important rule is that native video performs better than embedded content.
Videos uploaded natively on Facebook tend to outperform their embedded counterparts, and appear on timelines much more often than videos linked from somewhere else. It’s an algorithm thing.
And I’m not just saying that either. We have plenty of evidence that native gets 110% higher engagement rates, and 478% higher share rates than YouTube embeds. So, if you’re after the best possible performance, always go with native uploads.
Assume everything’s mute
When you upload your videos on Facebook, it’s absolutely critical that they can be understood, even without sound.
Most people don’t turn on the sound when they’re scrolling down their Facebook timelines, especially on mobile devices, and this is something you need to account for.
How do you get around this? If your video is animated, you could use graphics and on-screen text to get your message through even if it’s on mute. Also – and this is something you should do for live-action videos as well – make sure to upload your videos with captions.
By adding subtitles to your video content – on Facebook or anywhere else – you’re not only getting around this common user behavior, but you’re also increasing its potential reach by catering for all audiences.
Timeline, stories, Facebook live, video ads… where to start?
On Facebook, you can create video content in a number of different ways. Yes, uploading it as a post in your page’s timeline is a timeless classic, but now that the platform has become more video-centered, there are plenty of alternatives.
Facebook stories, live broadcasting, video advertising…it can get a bit confusing:
Stories are a great way to keep in touch with your audience consistently. It works great for businesses making small announcements targeted specifically to their fans, like limited-time offers or sales. Do keep in mind these pieces disappear 24 hours later, so you can be a bit more lax here as far as content preparation and quality.
Facebook live videos are, on the other hand, a way to connect with followers on a more personal level. You can answer their questions in an immediate manner, which will make your audience feel cherished and listened to. Use live broadcasts to grow your audience, drive awareness to big announcements, or discuss topics that might benefit them
Lastly, video advertising on Facebook can be a fantastic tool to reach new audiences, expand your brand’s presence on the platform, and remain relevant to your existing followers. Focus on creating short, shareable, and interesting content for your ads, with CTAs that drive users to the rest of your content.
Time to wrap up.
Video is a highly shareable type of content that can help you boost your brand’s Facebook profile, big time. But just using any video won’t get you where you want to go. You need to create high-quality content, interesting, and useful to your audience, and follow the conventions that they've come to expect from the platform.
Always think about what your audience wants to see, connect that to your brand, and let that guide the content itself. That way, you’re giving your content a leg up from the get-go, which will make it much easier to drive more eyes to your content and company.
That’s what makes a video likable and shareable — and that will translate into the results you’re after with your video strategy on Facebook.