20 Ways Brands Can Make the Most Out of Facebook Video

20 Ways Brands Can Make the Most Out of Facebook Video

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At the beginning of 2015, I stated that “Online Video Marketers Need to Stick to a YouTube-First Strategy.” Well, it’s now the end of a very eventful year, and YouTube faces formidable competition from Facebook, with the social network confirming more than 8 billion daily video views. So, what’s my advice now? Well, YouTube is still 11.3 times bigger than Facebook Video in the U.S. and 8.2 times bigger worldwide in terms of viewing hours, on the web, and in-app. So, I would still recommend that video marketers stick to a YouTube-first strategy.

Facebook counts a video as being viewed after only 3 seconds, which would easily account for the 8 billion daily video views. But I have to admit that the number has grown significantly since the social networking site reported in September 2014 that it was getting 1 billion video views each day. That’s still an eight-fold increase in about 15 months. So, over the course of this year, I’ve started recommending that video marketers adopt a multi-platform video strategy. And, to be honest, I have come slowly, reluctantly to use a Facebook-second strategy.

20 Ways Brands Should Use Facebook Video

Why? Because I can remember what advertising on YouTube was like before TrueView video ads were introduced in December 2010, and I can also remember what measuring results looked like before YouTube Analytics replaced YouTube Insight in November 2011. You’d be surprised what video marketers had to put up with back in the “early days” of YouTube.

So, no, I still don’t recommend that video marketers plan, buy, or measure video ads on Facebook using Target Rating Points (TRPs) – even if some ad agencies use this metric for buying commercials on TV. But Facebook provides other video metrics – including the total number of clicks on your video ad, the average length of time people spent viewing your video ad, and the number of times your video ad was viewed to 50% of its length. But, maybe it’s time to cut the social networking site a little slack and focus instead on delivering strategic insights and tactical advice for making the most out of Facebook video. So, let’s look at the top 20 ways that brands can use Facebook video to raise awareness or drive online sales.

5 Facebook Video Production Tips

First off, let’s take a look at some of the video production tips that Facebook has suggested as best practice for brands. Although of course, they are applicable for any creator who wants to get the very best out of this type of content on the site.

1. Keep Your Facebook Video Short and Sweet

According to Facebook itself, videos less than 2 minutes long are the most effective on the platform. Perhaps it’s a user attention span issue but short videos can still get the point across, whether that’s to show off a product, raise brand awareness, or keep the entertained and coming back for more. I know, I’m the one who wrote the article entitled, “If Your Video Content Is Truly Compelling, Keep Calm and Go Long.” But that’s advice for YouTube. Things work differently on Facebook. One of the most watched Facebook videos of the last 90 days comes in at 30 seconds, yet it generated an incredible 111M views, and 2.8M engagements for BuzzFeed Food.

2. Shoot Your Facebook Video Ad with a Smartphone

Facebook wants publishers to upload as much native video as possible, but understands that not everyone has access to a huge production team. Shooting content via a smartphone can be just as effective. Now, I know this will come as shocking advice to big media companies with big ad agencies, because you’ve always needed an entire film crew to shoot a TV commercial in the past. But the Apple iPhone 6 provides 1080p HD video recording (30 fps or 60 fps). And the Samsung Galaxy S6 lets you shoot in 4K or shoot in slow motion. So, imagine what you can do if money that you once spent on video production for a TV spot was redeployed into making significantly more video ads that each targeted a different segment of the 500 million people who are watching Facebook video daily.

3. Shoot Your Video in Vertical

vertical videoShooting video in vertical is still a big no-no to many, but others are understanding that consumers view vertical in a different way these days. Facebook suggests that “When you shoot video, hold your phone horizontally – this makes sure that your video takes up the entire screen when someone watches it.”

Now, I know that vertical video is the new, new thing. But, don’t shoot the messenger. I’m just reporting what Facebook recommends. It’s worth testing out different types of content, shot both in vertical, and horizontal, to see how it performs for your brand.

4. The First Few Seconds Count!

When your video plays in the Facebook News Feed, it will play silently and automatically. This means you should try to grab viewer attention with bold imagery or a great shot to entice them to turn on the sound and continue watching. For example, you could shoot a product at an incredibly close point of view, then quickly zoom out to reveal what it is. You could also try a shot filmed in slow motion or at a higher rate of speed.

‘A Ride Through Time’ is on of the most watched videos of the past year, with 218M views. The native Facebook video upload went viral across hundreds of websites, and across social media. Sure, it had an enticing title and description, but the creators also ensured that it included a twist in the first 5 seconds that would keep the viewers watching.

5. Edit Your Video Until You Get it Right

There are a ton of apps that can help you with the video editing process, and Facebook strongly suggests you make use of them so the video you publish is as polished as possible. These apps can help you with editing separate video clips together to form a narrative, and also allow you to add text, and filters. Unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t name names.

So, let me offer this helpful suggestion: Check out Directr for Business. The free app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch provides you with ideas for videos on all kinds of topics – from a customer testimonial to a how-to tutorial, a product announcement or an executive profile video. Yes, the small band of scrappy film lovers at Directr has joined the video ads team at YouTube. But their app enables you to easily make videos for your Facebook page (and Twitter feed) as well as your YouTube channel.

15 Facebook Video Marketing Tips

We’ve had a look at some production tips, now let’s turn our attention to some Facebook video marketing tips, tricks, and best practices that you may not be aware of.

6. Turn Your Video into a Video Ad 

Many brands create videos to promote something so think about using paid promotion to push that content, especially in the days after you have uploaded it natively, and views may be dwindling. Just select ‘Get Video Views’ in Facebook’s ad creation tool.

7. Facebook Video Ads: Select Your Audience

With any Facebook ad, you can choose the audiences you want to reach. Just select the right audience demographic for your product or service by age, location, interests, connections, and behaviours.  marketing staff to complete the fields to select your audience by location, age, gender, interests, behaviors, connections, and custom audiences from your website. This last targeting option lets you reach people on Facebook who’ve visited your website.

You can start creating these audiences by placing the Facebook pixel across your website. You can create a Custom Audience from your website for any group of customers or prospective customers that you’d like to reach with targeted Facebook ads. For example, you can run a campaign to reach people who visited a product page but didn’t complete a purchase to encourage them to go back to the website to do so.

8. Choose a Compelling Video Thumbnail

Facebook video choose an appealing video thumbnailWhen your video doesn’t play automatically, it will show a still image before someone clicks the play button. Like YouTube, Facebook calls this image a video thumbnail, and Facebook’s ad creation tool allows you to choose from images in your video or upload your own image.

Facebook recommends, “Choose something interesting to draw your audience in. If your thumbnail image has text in it, keep in mind it’s also subject to our 20% text policy, so choose something with minimal text.”

The recommended text length is 90 characters of ad copy, which works since it will be displayed on smaller screens. When your marketing staff create an ad, they’ll get a preview of what people will see in News Feed on desktop and mobile devices. This makes everything up to this point foolproof.

9. Schedule Videos for Maximum Coverage

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a full-time social media team, the ability to schedule videos for publication ahead of time is a real bonus. Setting up a publishing schedule for your Facebook page will help you organise your videos around your content calendar, and ensure that you can co-ordinate any campaign pushes across other distribution sites at the same time. Scheduling couldn’t be easier, just choose the ‘Schedule Post’ option from the dropdown menu as you go through the upload process.

10. Set an Expiry Date on Campaign-specific Videos

As a brand, you are going to want to build up your video archive on Facebook, but for campaign-specific video content, it makes sense to set an expiry date on them so they don’t appear in from of users for any longer than you need them to. When you set an expiry date for a particular video, Facebook will automatically take it down on that day, and it will unavailable to the public. But, video insights for that video will still be available to Page admins.

11. Use Closed Captions/Text to Capture Attention

Videos autoplay silently in a users News Feed, but this is still a great opportunity for brands to capture attention. Using a banner or text overlay to give the video some context in the first few seconds can help get a viewer engaged. The HuffPo video below used this to great effect.

Furthermore, adding closed captions to a video can help the viewer, whether they watch with the sound on or off. Follow our handing guide for adding closed captions to a Facebook video.


12. Manage Facebook Videos With Video Library

Facebook provides Page owners with a Video Library, a dashboard that helps you manage your video content. You’ll find the Library under the ‘Publishing Tools tab, and you can use the search tools to find any video you have uploaded by the title, the description, or other information. Within this feature, you can also edit any info related to your videos, and also change the custom thumbnails.

13. Help Others Embed Your Facebook Videos

Earlier this year, Facebook announced an embedded video player, a feature that allows other publishers to post Facebook videos on their own sites, just like YouTube has since 2005. It’s best practice to share your Facebook video’s embed code as part of a PR push, or an outreach campaign. To confirm the embed code, just click the dropdown arrow next to your video. Click “Embed Video” to copy and paste the embed code.

Facebook video embed this video

But that’s not all. In December 2015, Facebook announced an API for the Facebook Embedded Video Player. This API helps you embed videos on your site more easily and gives you more control, allowing you to customize the player to present videos in the way you want for your audience. Also, the site has confirmed support for the oEmbed open standard. This will make it even easier to embed public articles, videos, and other posts from Facebook on your site by simply copying and pasting a URL.

14. Upload ‘Secret’ Videos to Host on Facebook

Like unlisted videos on YouTube, Facebook also gives publishers the ability to upload video content which can only be accessed via a specific URL. These videos won’t appear in a Facebook search, and they are not visible to any users who don’t have the link. The Secret video feature is handy if you want Facebook to host the content, but you want to embed the video on your own site. Just follow the same upload process, but under the ‘Custom’ option in the ‘Advanced’ tab area, select ‘Add as a Secret Video’.

15. Share live video using Facebook for iOS

In August 2015, Facebook introduced ‘Live’ for public figures using Facebook Mentions. Since then, thousands of celebrities, sports stars, pop stars, and other influencers have used ‘Live’ to connect with their fans in real-time. Facebook has now taken this a step further, and allowed verified Facebook pages to share these live videos using Facebook for iOS.

To share live video, go to your Page on Facebook for iOS and tap Publish. Select Live Video and write a quick description before going live. During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of other verified people or Pages who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. When you end your broadcast, it will be published on your Timeline so that fans who missed it can watch the video at a later time, although you have the option to remove it just like any other post.

16. Manage Your Facebook Video Distribution Settings

Facebook makes it easy for publishers to manage and control the way they distribute their videos by providing the following settings:

  • Prohibit third-party embeds: As it says on the tin, This setting prevents your video from being embedded outside Facebook.
  • Publish to News Feed: This setting allows you to select a video and publish it directly to the News Feed.
  • View and manage secret videos: A self-explanatory feature that allows the publisher to manage the videos they don’t make visible on Facebook itself. 

17. Confirm Your Best Performing Facebook Videos

Like the Top 10 content report in YouTube Analytics, you can use Facebook’s “Top Videos” section to confirm which of your viewers are generating the best performance for you. You can check across a specific date range, or across all videos all time. Clicking through to a specific video will give you metrics on engagement, retention, and others. range. Access “Top Videos” via the Videos tab in Page Insights.

18. Understand Audience Retention Metrics

Like the Audience retention report in YouTube Analytics, Facebook’s retention curve will give you data and feedback as to where in a video the majority of your audience tends to stop watching. There will some dropoff at the beginning of a video as a user scrolls past it in their feed, but if you keep their attention and they drop off later in the video, you can use that feedback to ascertain why.

Facebook video monitor your retention graph

19. Track Performance and Engagement Metrics

Like the Engagement reports in YouTube Analytics, Facebook will track any engagement your video attracts, such as likes, shares, and comments. These kind of metrics gives you an enormous amount of data about how your content is performing, and provide valuable insight into what you can be doing to improve them going forward.

20. Understand Video Page Insights and Reporting

Facebook video drill into dataTo prove that it takes video – and video publishers very seriously – Facebook launched a way to access video metrics as part of Page Insights and Ads Reporting back in May 2014. That meant that Facebook Page owners were able to access much more data than just page views.

For instance, you’ll be able to confirm how many people actually clicked on your video to play it, and also the number of views that a video reached in its duration – 25%, 50%, 75%, 95% and 100%. This information is absolutely vital for video marketers as they can help you determine future production, content, and marketing strategy.

Also, using the “data breakdowns” feature in the Ads Reporting dashboard, you can understand how specific audiences engaged to your video. For example, if females between 18 and 34 are a demographic you target in your campaign, the data breakdown will show the number of views you received from that demographic. In other words, you can go well beyond counting “video views,” which Facebook defines as a view of three seconds or more. All you need to do is drill deeper into the data.


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