How do Facebook videos work?

How do Facebook videos work?

Scrolling through your Facebook timeline, you may notice the majority of your feed is video content. You’ll laugh at a funny video of a cat, then cry to an inspirational video of a blind marathon runner. A few more scrolls and you see a commercial from that clothing brand you were checking out on Instagram (maybe you should buy that shirt..). Where did all of this video content come from? Why is it more popular than photos or status updates? Whether you’re running a business, work as a marketer, or just curious about social media, it’s important to know WHY video is taking over Facebook. So let’s figure it out. How exactly do Facebook videos work?

Why does Facebook love video?

Regardless of whether the video teaches you how to cook 20-minute Chinese food or how someone taught an otter to use an inhaler, videos make us feel emotions and fast. They make us click, share, and comment which is exactly why Facebook loves them. Facebook favors engagement so any post that triggers reactions skyrockets to the tops of our timelines. Hello, viral videos!

This platform also loves video because it performs better (here are three reasons why). If you’re not convinced, just check out the statistics below.

  • Video gets 135% more reach than photos. (Source)
  • 85% of Facebook video is watched with the sound off. (Source) Tip: Include subtitles in your videos!
  • People only watch about 1/3 of a video on average. (Source)
  • The average time watched was about 10 seconds, that’s less than 4% of the average video! (Source) Tip: Start with short videos!
  • 47% of Facebook pages don’t upload videos. (Source) Tip: Start producing video and you’ll be ahead of the competition! 

How videos go viral

Since we love video, Facebook has changed its algorithm (the behind-the-scenes rules that decide what does and doesn’t show on your timeline) to favor it too. This ranking system wants to bring people “closer together,” as Facebook puts it. Watch THIS video to understand what they mean. The videos that go viral are the ones attracting the most engagements and keep viewers hooked.

The most important video factor to this algorithm: percent completion. Facebook identifies a video that’s at least half consumed as “compelling” and therefore prioritizes it. If a video doesn’t keep eyeballs glued to the screen, it’ll lose to the algorithm and fall off timelines. You don’t just need views, you need people to keep viewing. A “view” to Facebook only requires three seconds of play time!

In addition to crafting compelling content, you should upload your videos directly to Facebook. Why? Native Facebook video performs better than the same video on any other platform. In fact, they attract 186% more engagements (bye, Youtube!).

Video terms to know

Facebook is nice enough to provide you with an arsenal of data. From the “Page Insights,” you can truly learn what is working and what’s not. You might notice some new terminology if you’re new to video marketing. Here are some basic terms to know:

Unique Viewers is the number of individual people who watched the video. It doesn’t count repeat views! This is important to know how many potential prospects viewed your content versus who is viewing it multiple times. 

Average Engagement Rate is simple enough. This metric shows how much engagement your videos are generating per impression. If your videos aren’t generating engagement, they’re losing any organic reach potential. Like NewsWhip said, “Sharing activity leads to more views, essentially acting as a broadcasting mechanism for native videos.” Promote videos that attract clicks and comments or say goodbye and try a new video idea.

Average Completion Rate is the most important video metric because it’s what Facebook’s algorithm focuses on most. The average completion rate shows the portion of video that’s watched in an average session. It’s great because you can see exactly when people are dropping off and how much of your content is getting consumed. For example if you know people stop watching around 12 seconds in, try inserting an attention grabber there in your next video!

You have all the potential in the world to succeed in Facebook video marketing. All you need to focus on is authentic content that drives real engagement. Wear your heart on your sleeve, be vulnerable or honest or funny, and create emotions! Bring people closer together and you’ll be bringing in new business.

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