Before we get to the meat of this blog, we’d like to whet your appetite with the latest legal troubles plaguing Facebook, as it relates to video marketing on the platform.
A Wall Street Journal report from September 2016 cited inflated video metrics being reported by Facebook to advertisers on its platform (a 60-90% disparity between reported numbers and actual viewership). At the time, Facebook acknowledged that the error had been discovered and resolved a month prior to the WSJ report being published. A recent lawsuit however, uncovers the egregiousness of these errors, alleging they date back to early 2015 and had been on Facebook’s radar for over a year. According to the lawsuit, inaccurate reporting included metrics that were 150 – 900% times the actual viewership.
The lawsuit launched October 16, 2018 and brings Facebook’s indiscretions back into the spotlight, pitting marketers against the social networking powerhouse. They allege ad fraud and are seeking punitive damages.
So what does this mean for video marketers using Facebook to reach their audience? It’s understandable that anyone investing advertising dollars into the platform would have reasonable doubts about their metrics and ad spends in light of this news. Time will tell and we plan to keep a close eye on the situation as it unfolds. A Facebook spokesperson defended the platform, stating “the lawsuit is without merit and we’ve filed a motion to dismiss these claims of fraud. Suggestions that we in any way tried to hide this issue from our partners are false. We told our customers about the error when we discovered it — and updated our help center to explain the issue.”
Until this issue is settled and questions about accurate reporting metrics are answered, we’ve decided to dedicate the remainder of this entry to the best ways to organically leverage your video content on the platform. Regardless of whether you’re supporting your content with monetary budgets or not, these guidelines will help you succeed on Facebook with video.
Any old user of Facebook (even your Grandma, who, despite numerous tutorials, insists on posting personal messages to her friends and family via her status update) can plainly see the changes happening within the social network that prioritizes video content and consumption.
From an emphasis on stories, autoplay video in news feeds, Facebook Live, Video Chat via Messenger, new video options for advertisers and the newly rolled out Facebook Watch, the platform has made a dramatic shift in the past year towards a video-centric social network. The social juggernaut has capitalized on features that made other networks popular (ahem…Snapchat, YouTube), mixed in some of their signature social network spice and made it into a platform you almost never have to leave.
This type of captivity is music (or should we say video!?) to a marketers’ ears. With users spending an average of 58 minutes per day on Facebook, how do you ensure as many of those minutes are spent consuming your content as possible? Here are some suggestions to help you stand out among the video content crowd on Facebook.
Upload Directly to the Native Platform
External linking has proven less effective when it comes to video marketing on Facebook so be sure to upload your video to Facebook directly to ensure it reaches as many viewers as possible. Makes sense, given that most external video links direct users to competitor streaming sites like YouTube and Vimeo. With video content projected to account for over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic by 2020, it’s clear that Facebook is vying for a large slice of the streaming pie.
First Impressions Matter
The first 5 seconds of your video will make it or break it. The increased volume of video content means that attention spans have shortened, so creating compelling content is key! Capture the attention of your audience and give them a reason to continue watching past the first 5 seconds.
Make sure your video translates to your audience with or without audio. Adding subtitles where the image doesn’t speak for itself is an easy way for users to consume your content silently. The inclusion of subtitles increases accessibility and, according to an internal test by Facebook, increases viewing time by 12%.
Measure, Refine, Repeat
Long term success on Facebook takes time and the formula for each business will vary. The best way to optimize success on the platform using video is to monitor the performance of your videos, trial new ideas, conduct A/B tests, measure your results and repeat. As your audience grows, you’ll learn what video styles, lengths and features resonate best with them.
Don’t be afraid to do a deep dive into the analytics of your videos, either within the Facebook Business app or a third party analytics tool, to evaluate what worked and what needs work. Apply these insights to future videos and watch as reach and engagement increase.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line (that impacts your bottom line), is that Facebook is rapidly evolving and exploring new and innovative avenues for video consumption within its platform and line of products. Stay nimble, be diligent about formatting videos within Facebook and prepare your business for a digital revolution that revolves around video.