It’s so hot right now. In a previous blog post we mentioned that Facebook’s daily view count for video had reached 4 billion in April 2015. At the time this seemed like an exponential increase from their 1 billion at the end of Q3 in 2015. Not to disappoint, they have just released a report for Q3 of 2015 and that number has spiked once again. It is now a claimed 8 billion video views per day, coming from only a third of their 1.55 billion users. It seems then that video content on Facebook is rather popular!
This is amid Facebook testing a video specific news feed, no doubt part of their product road map to take on Youtube and dare I say it, eventually Google. But more on that later. This new video feed will display video content that your friends have engaged with, related content according to your previous activity and preferences as well as making it far easier to save videos for later viewing. For any user of Facebook this rise in video content has been abundantly clear this year, making Zuckerberg’s move to host video directly on Facebook appear to be a genius move to remove competitor advertising revenue. Once again this rise is no doubt fuelled by the current smartphones and their lethal combination of increased camera/video quality and 4G internet connections. Not only are more videos being taken and uploaded to Facebook on a daily basis but we are now able to watch this content on the move without fear of the dreaded buffering wheel of doom.
At the moment Facebook does not display any advertising on videos hosted on the network. In fact we don’t envisage them making a u-turn on this any time soon. They can rest assured in the fact that brands will look to leverage video as part of their social strategy and with the decrease in organic reach they will therefore look to promote their video content through Facebook’s advertising platform. Either way Facebook will make their precious gold coins.
What does this mean for social media marketing?
Businesses should be looking to utilise video as part of their social media strategy, especially in the mid to long term. Only a foolhardy few would argue against this! But how can businesses use video on Facebook? Should it represent an ROI? Yes some brands will spend big bucks to create high production viral videos a la Jean Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo trucks in 2013. The unfortunate truth is that not everyone has the budget or the flexibility for such feats (excuse the pun). Many businesses around the world will be looking at how to make video work for them on Facebook with limited budgets.
The current issue for Facebook is that the vast majority of their video content is what is known as short form content, i.e their most popular videos are just over 20 seconds long. They will need to extend this viewing time in order to compete with Youtube in terms of higher quality content but at the moment this statistic is the one that has the most major impact on social media marketing. News feeds are crammed with content and users are now very adept at quickly scrolling through vast swathes of content to view what they are interested in. As a result catching the eye of the user is now more crucial than ever. So here are a few pointers from us to make sure that any investment, whether that be money or simply time is as effective as possible:
Video is the most engaging form of media that we have at the moment but that fact does not prevent people from producing videos that could otherwise be described as beige. Social media has forever represented an opportunity for brands to step out of the norm in regards to marketing, develop a personality and create content that is for the most part completely irrelevant to what they do. Obviously it has to tie back into your product or service somehow but consider this: a swedish truck company can use a former martial arts actor doing the splits and somehow tie that into their dynamic steering control. Admittedly this was not specific to Facebook video, but the point still remains valid.
Consider the autoplay feature
Facebook consider a view to be anything above 3 seconds, which is drastically shorter than what Youtube consider a view (around 30 seconds). This may be connected to the fact that Facebook videos autoplay as you scroll down, so if you have not engaged the user within 3 seconds the likelihood is that they will continue to scroll past the content. Therefore those initial 3 seconds are an absolutely critical period for the video’s success.
Photos can dictate videos
Posting videos to Facebook via other platforms such as Youtube and Vimeo may well have quickly become an archaic form of sharing a video, but it does still occur. The initial thumbnail image on videos can have a substantial effect on user engagement. You do not have to take a screenshot from the video itself, instead you can upload a bespoke image to act as your thumbnail. Ironically then, increasing video engagement can be achieved via photo rather than video.
Boost popular content
Organic reach for businesses on Facebook is at an all time low, it is just a fact of life nowadays. Identify the best performing video content and assign a budget to boosting it via Facebook’s advertising tool. Spend wisely and you can vastly increase the amount of people that see your video!
The main impact on social media marketing will be that brands will have to start creating their own video content in order to be competitive in the social space. This will require time, thought and often budget but if you want the highest possible engagement from a social campaign then expect to invest all 3 in coming years.