Recently, Facebook unveiled a native video-hosting platform, which allows users to upload videos directly to Facebook instead of embedding videos from third party sites (such as YouTube or Vimeo).
This development significantly enhances user experience, as seen in the comparison below. Not only do embedded video posts force viewers to divert their attention to another tab, it’s often unclear that the post even contains a video. In the embedded post below, only the presence of “videocenter” in the URL tells viewers that it contains a video. Automatically playing inside of users’ feeds, native Facebook videos provide more clarity and convenience.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook users have quickly adopted native videos as a preferred way to digest multimedia. These shifting viewing habits have incentivized marketers to share more videos, which achieve more organic reach than any other post type.
Facebook’s dynamics have also encouraged marketers to pilot its native hosting platform. Because Facebook wants companies to choose their native video-hosting platform over YouTube, the site will promote native-uploaded videos to more people via its own algorithm. Early findings reflect this logic. Just by uploading it in a different place, marketers can easily multiply their video’s potential audience. Native Facebook videos earned double the reach and interactions as YouTube videos, three times as many shares, and seven times as many comments.
Morningstar has begun to pilot Facebook’s native hosting capabilities. But before marketers upload the company’s entire YouTube channel to Facebook, they need to consider that people use Facebook and YouTube for different purposes. People turn to YouTube with the specific intent of watching videos already sparking their interest, which makes YouTube suitable for longer and in-depth videos. Obviously, most people don’t log onto Facebook with the explicit purpose of watching videos. To capitalize on Facebook’s new video capabilities, marketers must acknowledge and engage this passive audience. Because fine-tuning videos for Facebook requires only a few minor tweaks, this offers an inexpensive and straightforward vehicle for growth.
- Grab and maintain attention
Native Facebook videos begin playing automatically on a viewer’s feed. Instead of choosing whether or not to watch it, users are instead immediately enveloped in the video’s action. With the video already in progress, the right first impression can entice many otherwise reluctant viewers to watch the full thing. This in mind, a video’s opening moments should contain catchy headlines, visually captivating graphic, and fun onscreen action.
Equally crucial to gaining attention is maintaining it throughout the course of the video. Given the low attention span of Facebook users, native Facebook videos need to articulate its message more quickly and concisely than do Youtube videos. The most successful Facebook videos range from 30 seconds to two minutes in length- half of YouTube’s three minute benchmark.
- No sound
By default, native Facebook videos are muted. Forcing people to manually enable sound for videos may seem counterintuitive, but it perfectly suits the needs of a multitasking Facebook user. Silent videos allow people to digest their content without turning off their music or disrupting fellow commuters.
Facebook’s muted videos are most directly suited for presenting text and graphics. But native Facebook videos aren’t limited to objective facts and reporting, as demonstrated by President Obama’s video about easing college access for prisoners. Juxtaposing onscreen text- with key points highlighted in yellow for emphasis- with footage of the President delivering speeches in prisons, the video preserves its poignancy despite its silence.
- Call to action
All of videos used by a brand on Facebook should advance a specific marketing goal, whether it be spreading awareness, announcing a product, or promoting an event. To that end, your Facebook videos need to include a “call to action” inspiring further engagement with the company. Facebook’s “calls to action” tool allows marketers to add links to company websites, mailing lists, booking agencies, or other selling platforms. This smoothes the conversion process for consumers while bolstering success for marketers- calls to action have been shown to boost conversion rates anywhere from 20-95%,
To conclude, Facebook’s native hosting platform has shifted the emphasis toward compact, silent, text-based videos. Once they adapt their video content accordingly, marketers can enjoy this low cost and painless way to expand their follower base.