In the past few years, video has seen tremendous growth. But it’s not just YouTube that’s seeing an upward shift —Facebook has continued to drive growth in video content on-platform. With upwards of 100 million hours of video watched every day on Facebook, video has become a powerful medium for both individuals and brands on the platform. Facebook has even revealed data that shows video content performs better, and in creative testing, respondents say it feels more personal to them.
As video continues to grow as a storytelling medium, it’s important for marketers to maximize efforts on the platform to get the most out of your video content. Here are 8 guidelines for building effective videos:
1. Tailor to your audience. Like all content, video needs to be relevant to your audience’s interests to be successful. Relevancy will always be the number one rule for any piece of content, and video is no exception. Use audience research and insights to generate content ideas and create stories that will resonate.
To get really targeted, consider creating different videos (or slightly different versions of the same video) for different target audiences, particularly when you are running paid Facebook campaigns.
2. Create short-form video. The human attention span is now only 8 seconds, shorter than the attention span of a goldfish, a goldfish! Add to that, the average scroll on Facebook is 1.7 seconds, which is all the time you have to capture a user’s attention. So if your content isn’t grabbing attention early to hook the user in, your views are likely to suffer. Bring your story to life quickly so it piques interest as users scroll.
According to Facebook, people prefer shorter video on mobile—we’re talking 15 seconds or less. Best practices recommend keeping Facebook videos 3-15 seconds long and using those first few seconds very wisely. The good news is shorter videos have higher completion rates, so you can successfully share your entire message with users watching through until the end.
3. Introduce brand identity early. Incorporate brand identity early with brand or product imagery or references, typically within the first 3 seconds. In a meta-analysis of video marketing data, Facebook found that consumers were 23% more likely to remember which brand made a given video ad if the brand was featured in the first three seconds and 13% more likely if the brand was featured after the four-second mark.
Just remember, brand presence matters and establishing your identity within the first seconds will aid in recall.
4. Build for sound off, delight with sound on. As much as 85% of Facebook video views happen with the sound off. Even though Facebook now auto-plays videos with the sound on, many people expect this and adjust their settings before browsing.
Because the majority of Facebook users are watching in silence, it’s important to make sure videos can entice users without relying on sound to tell your story. Use beautiful imagery and on-screen text to help you tell your story, and consider using subtitles if there is voiceover.
When sound is enabled it should offer additional value to further bring your story to life. And if there is any voiceover, captions should be added, which can be generated through Facebook’s in-platform features.
5. Build vertical. It’s simple, vertical video format (1:1 or 9:16) gives you more real estate in the feed. Buffer found that square videos take up 78% more screen space than landscape videos, which is critical when over 95% of Facebook users now access the network on their mobile devices. The bigger your video appears, the more it grabs attention and the more likely people are to engage with it.
Buffer also saw that square videos outperformed landscape video in terms of video views, engagement (likes, comments, and shares), and completion rate (%). In some cases, square video resulted in 30-35% higher video views and an 80-100% increase in engagement.
And no one likes flipping their phone horizontally in order to watch a video on mobile. Meeting your customers where they are means delivering video that works on the devices they’re using without much fuss. Facebook data revealed a 3-9 pt. increase in ad recall when ads were designed for vertical. If you are using video for ad campaigns, all square formats will fit in ad manager and be eligible for placement as well.
6. Go Live. Facebook has seen that on average people watch video 3x as long when it’s live, and that live videos get over 10x more comments on average than regular ones. In addition to that, Facebook places priority on live video in the ranking algorithm.
Take advantage of the extra traffic potential by creating thoughtful live video content. Viewers may not want to watch you eat your lunch, but streaming your upcoming panel discussion, an insider look at a new product release, behind the scenes at an event or anything that consumers may find interesting and relevant can drive real engagement with your brand. Promote your live video stream to get reach a larger audience and gain traction.
7. Play with ads. Facebook has plenty of ad types to choose from depending on your marketing goals, and you’re probably used to using the same ones over and over. Try using collections, canvas and other video ad formats to drive higher engagement and retain user attention. These ad formats typically require more effort, so utilize them when you have more time on your hands to dig deeper into your story and create an engaging experience.
Facebook shared that Canvas ads saw a 30-50% lift in Return on Advertising Spend compared to other formats. As a very immersive ad format, videos work great in Canvas ads because they can convey emotions and information more effectively than static images and copy ever could.
There are plenty of opportunities for video advertising, between Facebook Live video ad breaks and collection videos. And with the seamless integration of Instagram through the Facebook Business Manager, you can run ads on Instagram from one account. Try using your Facebook video content on Instagram to see if you can find new audiences or drive engagement there as well.
8. Continue to test. Facebook, like most other platforms, is continually evolving. With the investment in live video, Facebook Watch and the recent announcement of IGTV and Instagram’s move into long-form video, it’s likely the growth in video will only continue to trend upwards. Along with that, it should be expected that the features, functionality, and user experience with Facebook’s video offerings will continue to evolve.
Facebook has made video a priority and will continue to invest in video. It’s important for marketers to understand these best practices and continue to test and learn with video content for the best results.