Both Instagram and Facebook are incredibly powerful and pervasive social media platforms with billions of online users. These apps have become such an integral aspect of human interaction and life that it is now necessary for a business or brand to utilize their platforms to engage users and increase awareness. The video feature, especially, is a powerful medium that you should be engaging with frequently.
As human beings, we relate to storytelling, especially if the message is poignant, relevant, funny, or engaging. Because we are emotional creatures, such simple and targeted messaging can dramatically alter a person’s perspective on an idea or company in a way that no sales pitch ever could. As we have seen countless times, a video that engages the viewer and hits many of these beats will often be liked and shared; liked and shared; liked and shared; until it goes supernova and becomes viral, whereupon it reaches an exponential growth point, traveling around the world, receiving millions of views and thousands of comments.
Even if a Facebook or Instagram video does not go viral, a single video done correctly can significantly boost a company’s profile and social reach. According to a Locowise study, “Videos are the Facebook format most likely to reach and engage audiences. The average video post in April 2017 reached 12.05% of the total page audience, just ahead of photos at 11.63%, links at 7.81%, and status updates at only 4.56%. Videos also had the highest levels of engagement.”
If you are not utilizing these features to reach people, you are wasting a golden opportunity. Optimizing video campaigns should be an essential aspect of any brand, company, or marketer’s digital marketing strategy. In recent months, Facebook released some tips on how to optimize your videos for maximum impact and engagement. Some of these tips are quite good, but we feel they require further delving and building upon. Based on our experience with clients and video marketing, we have created a list of 7 supplemental tips that will help you fully maximize the impact of your social videos on Facebook or Instagram.
7 Maximization Tips
1: Deliver Your Messaging Early in the Video
Most Facebook and Instagram videos are short, approximately 1-2 minutes long, as opposed to most YouTube videos, which are typically anywhere from 10-15 minutes. With YouTube, users typically search out these longer form videos and fully intend to watch regardless of length. With Facebook and Instagram, however, users generally do not seek long-form content, but instead, discover them by scrolling through their feed or a friend sharing them. Because this type of engagement is cursory and non-intentional, studies have shown that it is vital that you deliver your message as early as possible to hook the audience.
People are busy and have short attention spans. You have but seconds to convince them whether or not they should watch your video or leave it in the dust with a simple ‘up-swipe’ of their thumb. Studies have shown that Facebook and Instagram videos that make their pitch early will receive much higher percentages of engagement than videos that hide their messaging. If you can manage this without being too salesy, this method is even more effective.
Marketers need to shift their video/digital strategy or pivot accordingly to make sure that they are engaging their audience from the beginning. While sometimes a setup or context is needed for a joke or engaging narrative, it would be wise to shorten these or alter them in such a way that viewers have their interest piqued from the beginning. This could include rich visual elements, subtle branding cues, a fact, statement or question that immediately draws in the viewer. This, effectively, is your hook.
2: Optimize for Mobile
More than 65% of Facebook video views come from mobile devices, and nearly 100% of Instagram use is mobile. Because of this, it is absolutely essential that your videos are optimized for mobile viewing. If you do not format these videos correctly and consider mobile users, you are dropping the ball and will immediately lose out on a tremendous marketing opportunity to engage the majority of Facebook or Instagram users.
Today, it is not a viable social strategy option to ignore mobile formatting. In short: there isn’t an alternative, it’s just a no no. Just about every person on earth has a smart mobile device, likely including yourself. It would be asinine not to consider the prevalence of mobile use and would be akin to using dated technology. If we haven’t been clear enough:
Your content must be formatted for mobile or you will lose out on most of your audience.
3: Captions are Key to Maximizing the Impact of your Video
As we mentioned above, most users are on mobile. Because of this, native videos on Instagram and Facebook will auto-play on mute. Users have to physically turn on the sound if they wish to have it accompany the video. As a result, a Digiday study found that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, despite the unmute option.
Videos are visual storytelling at its essence. While dialogue is essential, your videos should be able to tell their story and engage viewers with little to no dialogue or even sound. Therefore, when creating concepts for your Instagram or Facebook videos, make sure that they can convey your message without any music or sound. Utilize text, captions, and arresting visuals instead. People do not want to be reading the entire time either, so use captions effectively and sparingly in order to maximize your video’s impact.
4: Know What Metrics are Important
There are several important metrics you should be aware of when creating a video. These should be monitored throughout the video’s lifetime. These metrics should give insight into your video’s impact on your brand’s overall marketing goals. A smart company will look at these metrics for areas where improvements or optimization can occur. Such metrics include:
- Engagement – The number of times someone acted on your post by clicking, sharing, reacting, or commenting on the video
- Reach – Number of people that view your video, whether through organic or paid methods.
- Impressions – A metric that measures the visibility of your videos and counts the number of times it was seen in total.
- Referral Traffic – The number of visitors your website gets from Instagram or Facebook.
- Video Retention – Measures how long the average user will watch your video before scrolling or clicking out of it.
5: Use Video to Build Context Around the Product
A video gives you the opportunity to show off your product, pique people’s interest, or sell your brand. It allows you the ability to simulate an in-store experience. If done correctly, it can improve product discovery, educate viewers about your brand, product, company goals, and hopefully lead to a sale. Dollar Shave Club built their entire identity off short, wacky, and often times funny one-shot videos that identified the need, the product, the cost of the product, and the intended user—all in under a minute. Because they were so effective at drawing their audience in and immediately building context around their company, people responded and turned them into a billion-dollar company.
6: Facebook Video Ads Can Complement, not Replace Traditional Ads
In 2017, Facebook shut down its Partner Categories program, which had previously allowed advertisers to target customers on behaviors outside of Facebook. This will affect companies that depend upon third-party data for targeting and prospecting. Further, thanks to algorithm changes in 2018, fewer ads from brands and publishers were allowed to be viewed on the main page. This promotion of content over commercials is positive for users, but not for advertisers. Because of this and other things, Facebook ads should only supplement or complement your traditional advertising methods.
7: The Rise of Stories and the Vertical Video Format
Because most users are on mobile, they tend to hold their phones vertically and scroll through content in such a manner. The ergonomics of how users hold their phones, combined with user viewing tendencies has forced savvy branders to adapt and respond and gave rise to the popularity of vertical video. Now, you have an opportunity and challenge to tell a story and share your brand in such a format. Naturally, a vertical video necessitates that videos be filmed in such a way where a scene has less depth and is closer cropped since viewers do not have the convenience of a widescreen format. This can create videos that are intimate, close up, and immediate.
Facebook and Instagram videos are the most effective tools to reach audiences on either platform. It is absolutely essential that you optimize your branding strategy to utilize these methods. Remember that most users are on mobile, have short attention spans, and listen without sound, so you should be creating content that is visually arresting, engages the audience immediately, and can do so with little to no sound or dialogue. If you’re able to do these things consistently and effectively, you will massively increase the impact of your marketing campaigns.