Facebook recently declared war on YouTube. Well, maybe not literally, but they're certainly trying to woo YouTube's content creators and visitors away from the popular video-sharing site. Earlier this month they rolled out a limited revenue-sharing scheme for select content creators, and there's little to stop them from expanding that program. Further, Facebook is clearly pushing video-based content on users timelines; SEJ did a study that found native videos reached twice as many people than third party ones.
All of these signs, then, point to video as the next big trend for marketing on Facebook. Naturally, small business owners are now looking to incorporate video into their Facebook presence. However, creating video content for Facebook is very different than designing content for YouTube.
Auto-Play Defines Facebook Video
Scroll through your Facebook News Feed and most of the videos present will start playing automatically - they'll be muted, but the playback rolls on. This is one of the most important factors of Facebook's native video hosting - since visuals auto-play, your Facebook videos have to be short, sweet, to the point and, above all else, eye-catching. Take a look at the metrics Facebook gives for video content and you quickly see that they want fast-paced, engaging content - that long-form, information heavy content that you've posted to YouTube won't work on Facebook. These videos need to be active and visually appealing, so no shots of you talking to the camera in your office either, at least at first. The only time that format is viable is when you're answering audience questions and engaging with the wider community.
Facebook Video is Great for Low/No Budget Campaigns
At least for now. This is sort of a 'milk the cow while you can' situation. Image-based content used to get preferential treatment by Facebook, but now it doesn't - the same thing will likely happen to videos once the revenue sharing program is expanded. But in the meantime, Facebook wants most people to share their videos for free, and thus this is a great chance for marketers to experiment with native posting. Further, Facebook has a great paid ad system in place for videos, so if you want to be a little more self-promotional, consider putting a small amount towards sponsoring a video and try out the site's call-to-action and analytic systems.
Facebook Likes Videos
The Facebook algorithm may be a mystery but it's clear that, for the moment, they are pushing videos hard. And that makes sense, since they want users to see Facebook as more than just a place to follow friends - they want to turn it into a content machine. The more frequently people visit, and the longer they stay, the more revenue Facebook generates. Marketers, for months, grumbled about the plummeting engagement rate on non-sponsored posts, but now there's a chance to reverse that trend by playing into Facebook's long-term development plans.
Every small business hopes to make the cut and get featured in their follower's timelines without having to spend money on ads. Video, at least for now, is the perfect opportunity to do that. You shouldn't discount sponsored video content either - like with other posts on Facebook, that's likely where this type of content marketing is headed - but in the meantime, use Facebook's preferential treatment of video to your advantage. Shoot quick, eye-catching videos, and keep an eye on how many views you get that last 30-seconds or more while Facebook is still willing to plug your content to a wider percentage of your following. Then use what worked to plan out future videos for when your sample size shrinks.
Main image via rvlsoft / Shutterstock