I’m big into making annual predictions. This year, it seems the safe bet is to predict Facebook’s rise to ground-breaking success in online video. I am not going to jump on that band wagon just yet. I still think YouTube is the place to have your videos hosted. But what I will suggest, however, is that YOU jump on that band wagon. Not because I believe in a meteoric rise and takeover of online video, but because a video strategy that does not include a wide base of platforms is madness.
Brands are utilizing both long and short-form content to capture their audience and build a community and Facebook will be the scene for that creation in the early parts of 2015.
Facebook Video in 2015: Brands Need a Presence
I have a hunch that all of this social buzz about Facebook rising to power in video is a marketing ploy to help increase their market share. Their rise in video posts (up 94% in the US and 75% worldwide) is likely due, in part, to the auto-play feature for videos boosting views on the site. But regardless, the buzz is all about Facebook, which is causing creators to react and take the site a little more seriously.
Even the godfather of online video, Philip DeFranco, has begun double posting his YouTube videos to Facebook native. His most recent episode of “The Philip DeFranco Show”, which is less than 24 hours old as of this posting, has over 200k views on YouTube, but another 40k+ views on Facebook, which are essentially free money. It is absolutely imperative when launching a video strategy to recognize these opportunities and capitalize on them.
Long-form Video: Essential for Story Telling
YouTube has worked diligently over the years to become THE destination for long-form video online and it’s no wonder. Long-form videos continue to get the most advertising dollars. A lot of that has to do with the attention it commands from viewers and a lot of that has to do with the infrastructure built-in to the sites that supports it. Sites like Hulu and YouTube are structured around not only delivering content, but monetizing it as well. That is why Facebook is such an appealing destination for video content. They already have the infrastructure in place for massive ad spending to support long-form content.
But why focus on long-form video? Simply put, long-form video done right leads to more conversions. Just because viewers’ attention span appears to be getting shorter does not mean they want it to be that way. Perhaps it’s just because there is more content floating around the net and they are spending time sifting through that content to find the right destination.
Long-form content gives a better platform for telling a story and a well told story can work great at evoking emotions from audiences that can influence their behaviors. It is also important to sites like YouTube who reward time spent on the site and on the video in particular, with higher search results.
Short-form Video: Easily Created, Easily Consumed
2014 was all about that Vine and short-form video in general. Brands like Oreo, GE and Mashable capitalized on the shift to short-form video that was predominant last year. Short-form video is an easy and quick way to get your brand out there.
Certainly there is a craft to making a great short-form video, but it is very simple to get started. For both Vine and Instagram it’s nearly as simple as pushing record and then letting go. Whether you shoot straight through or add some artistic flair using stop-motion techniques, it’s very straightforward in its design.
Short-form videos are easily consumed, which is handy as online video has trained viewers to expect immediate entertainment and results. Not only does short-form video force you to get to the point, but it allows your audience to quickly receive it. In addition, the ease of short-form video allows you to remain relevant with current topics, rather than getting mired in production and missing an opportunity to piggy back on what’s trending.
Social Video: Get the Viewer to Share Your Content
Just as important as creating the topic is the sharing aspect. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr are perfect for that. So don’t look past the importance of not only having a place to create and host the content, but a place to get social, interact and have a conversation with the people who enjoy the content and your brand.
Exposure comes in waves, the first being caused by the initial push created by the content and associated marketing. The second is arguably more important, it’s the social push generated by the audience interacting with and sharing the content.
YouTube vs Facebook: Video Discovery
Online content must be searchable. This should be nothing new to you if you’re in the space, but if you’re struggling this is a major point of improvement. This is also the place where Facebook falls short. By its very nature, YouTube is not only a video hosting site, a social media platform, but also the #2 search engine in the world. And its content is integrated well into those search parameters and that of Google Search. That is why I recommend that YouTube be the primary place for postings.
On the other hand, YouTube’s weakness is Facebook’s strength. Discovery happens a bit more naturally on Facebook through the News Feed. On YouTube, users indicate their interests by channels, which are often not very specific to actual interests. YouTube’s algorithms guess what you may want to see in your feed on a particular day and many users don’t even begin their video search from their feed but from the search bar or their subscriptions page, so viewers are all over the place on the site. Facebook’s structure lends much better to drilling into the interests of a particular person, feeding them content, and continuing the conversation in the feed. Most everyone on Facebook is using the site from the same base location, which lends very well to discovery based on interests. It’s something YouTube has been trying to improve in recent years, but Facebook has all but perfected.
Online Video Success in 2015: Find Your Audience
The proper components and methods for how to use online video and social media in tandem to help your business are here. It requires a dedicated team working with the right people to create video content, both short and long-form, and taking that content and making it engaging enough to start a conversation. Keeping that conversation going is key to success in 2015 and beyond. Part of that conversation is knowing where audiences are spending their time.
Right now, the buzz around Facebook is causing a slight shift in audience behavior, be aware of that and capitalize on it. So while Facebook is poised to gain some ground this year and it is vitally important to utilize all facets of video marketing, do not be quick to rush all of your resources into Facebook video. A balanced approach will provide the most stability going forward.