Video marketing is of major focus for Facebook at present, with the amount of video content on the platform accelerating at a rapid pace. The Social Network announced back in April that video views on the platform had exceeded 4 billion per day, up from three billion only three months earlier, positioning it as a serious threat to Google-owned YouTube, which is clearly now in Zuckerberg and Co's sights. But in order to take down YouTube, Facebook needs to better monetize and incentivize video content creators to post directly to their network, which they're working to do through various measures - the latest of which have now been announced.
In two separate announcements, Facebook announced the release of new video customization and control tools and a "Video Ads Creative Spotlight" platform to highlight the best video ads on Facebook from the previous month - both of which seek to help marketers maximize video performance on the platform.
In the first update, Facebook detailed the new video content tools and how they'll assist creators.
"Today we're excited to introduce enhancements to our video upload system and a new Video Library. The enhanced video upload flow gives Page owners customized distribution options for videos on Facebook, while the new Video Library is a simple, centralized place to manage videos."
The new video upload system will give Page owners the option to make videos private or prohibit content from being embedded on third-party sites. As with YouTube, any videos marked private will not be searchable.
"Secret videos give Page owners the ability to upload videos that are accessible only via a direct URL, but which are not searchable for people on Facebook. This is useful for publishers who want to host videos on Facebook, embed them on third-party sites or share them with anyone who has the URL, without posting them anywhere else on Facebook."
The new controls will also enable publishers to establish audience age and gender restrictions on video content (in addition to the pre-existing location and language controls), set an expiration date for a video (and retain its insights data after it's been removed) and publish video direct to the videos tab of your page without distributing it via News Feed.
In addition to this, Facebook has also unveiled a new Video Library for Page owners, providing an easier way to manage videos.
In the second announcement, Facebook unveiled a new platform on which they'll showcase the best video ads on the network to help current and prospective advertisers understand what's working and resonating with the wider Facebook audience. Dubbed the "Video Ads Creative Spotlight", the listing will showcase the best video ad content, each month, from the following categories:
· Consumer goods
· Financial services
From the announcement:
"In the year that video ads have been running on Facebook, we've watched video become an important and powerful medium for both people and businesses. In fact, Nielsen recently measured over 300 video campaigns and found that 73% of them had a significant lift in ad recall, and the average lift between test and control groups1 was 86%."
The Social Network also offers a series of tips for video content producers on the platform, including:
Tailor your story to your audience
People are more likely to pay attention to content that's relevant to their interests, which means you'll likely get better results if you customize your ad's message for the people who see it. Consider creating unique videos (or different versions of the same video) for different audience segments.
Invest in production
Whether you use a camera phone or a production team, secure the best available creative resources and set a realistic production schedule and budget. People are more likely to watch and remember videos that are well-crafted and designed to play on every device.
Use the first few seconds wisely
Bring your story to life quickly, so as people scroll through News Feed looking for content, your video ad quickly piques people's interest. Consider showing brand or product imagery in the first few seconds.
Focus on storytelling
Video length is less important than telling a cohesive and concise story. Your video ad shouldn't be longer or shorter than it takes to tell your story well, so create a storytelling arc from the first frame to the last that keeps your audience interested along the way.
Tell your story with and without sound
Since videos on Facebook autoplay with sound off, it's important to make sure your video ads entice viewers even when muted. When sound is off, beautiful imagery and on-screen text can help tell your story. When enabled, your video's sound should offer additional value to viewers and further bring your story to life.
The addition is a good move by Facebook. Given the massive growth, and projected growth, of video content, a great many advertisers are considering their options, what they can do to reach their audience via filmed material. While the tips themselves are fairly generic, providing concrete examples of success, specified by industry, will help many get a better perspective on how to do video content, more closely aligned to their audience preferences. While there's no manual on video content, and creativity is key, having proven examples, which are effectively endorsed by Facebook, will help guide publishers on what's working - and, in some ways, what's more likely to be favored by Facebook's notorious News Feed algorithm.
Clash of the Titans
Facebook is going to great efforts to overtake YouTube in the battle for online video supremacy. The strategy makes sense - online video is projected to make up around 80% of the world's internet consumption within five years, leading to a video advertising market worth $23.3 billion by 2017. Given Facebook has the platform and the capabilities to dominate this market, they want to take control of that ad spend, and they're pushing hard to show advertisers that their money will see better returns with Facebook, rather than plain-old YouTube. And while Zuckerberg's team has the advantage in terms of reach (Facebook's global monthly audience is 1.44 billion, YouTube lists it's at "more than 1 billion"), there are signs that YouTube still has a few cards to play in this battle. Recent reports have suggested that YouTube stars are resisting advances from Facebook to have them post content there, sticking with the platform - and revenue model - that has worked for them. While the reasons for their loyalty are not 100% clear, what is clear is that Facebook is working to figure it out, and will likely do so in the near future.
With more views, more precise audience targeting options and more reach, which would you go with for your video content? The battle looks set to rage on for some time yet.