Facebook may have admitted to significantly overestimating the average time users spent watching its videos, but that doesn’t mean marketers should disregard the social network’s massive marketing power.
Facebook video’s functionality has been growing and evolving throughout much of 2016, with the company releasing a series of updates and new opportunities to create and share video on its platform. The implications are huge for marketers, who are now tasked with navigating a relatively unfamiliar landscape on Facebook.
With so many new features and means of video content creation, it’s easy to get lost when you’re getting started. The best strategy is to identify the leading trends and build strategies that leverage these movements. Here are five trends that marketers can use to build a better Facebook video strategy.
By several measures, live video has been an instant victory, especially for brands. According to data from Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry report, “a significant 50 percent of marketers [surveyed] plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 50 want to learn more about live video.” That data comes from back in May—so if you’re not in the 50 percent pursuing live video, it’s time to get in on the game.
But despite its seemingly spontaneous nature, live video is an opportunity that requires planning: brands need to have a draft of how the live video experience will go, and hosts should practice beforehand so that they are sharp, comfortable, and concise in front of the camera. They also need to promote the live session at least several hours in advance. If live video becomes a serial event, it’s wise to run that live session at the same time every week, so fans and followers know when to watch.
Horizontal video’s monopoly is over. This Facebook update means you can build vertically oriented video marketing content that works for both Facebook and Snapchat. Previously, a drawback of video marketing on Snapchat was that the vertical orientation made it tough to repurpose that content through other outlets, especially social media. But Facebook’s decision to support vertical videos is more than an acknowledgment that Snapchat’s offerings need to be reckoned with. It also makes Snapchat an even more worthwhile channel for marketers to plan for, because now that content can be repurposed for Facebook, too.
Marketers should approach vertical video creation with this multipurpose potential in mind. Use videos across both Snapchat and Facebook, even if some small edits and adjustments need to be made for each platform. Test how Facebook-first videos perform on Snapchat, and vice versa, to learn more about how new video content options perform on these respective platforms.
It may have started out as a novelty, but 360° video is a serious form of online content—in fact, Facebook itself believes 360° video represents the future of online content, especially with its role in building virtual reality experiences.
But so far, the 360° experience has been far from perfect: most of these videos uploaded to Facebook are so wobbly and jumpy that they can make viewers sick, especially when watching them for a long period of time. Video stabilizing features can work—but only when you have the right video production equipment.
According to WIRED, though, Facebook fixed that problem by creating an algorithm that stabilizes videos on its own. Once the service is fully deployed to the social network, marketers can create 360° video with any device and edit it for stability within the Facebook platform.
That means more dynamic and immersive experiences, without the risk of creating negative brand experiences or making viewers sick. If stability issues have deterred you from 360° video in the past, it’s time to clear away those concerns and double down on your 360° content.
Video content can be highly engaging and create positive brand experiences, but it also needs to drive an action of some kind. Marketers should remember that Facebook allows users to subscribe to a brand’s live video content, meaning they’ll be notified when you go live for future video sessions.
Hosts of these video sessions should direct viewers to do this at the end of video sessions, as well as periodically during the session itself. Live videos feature a “Follow” button users can click to opt in. This is a simple way to build viewership over time and expand the organic reach of your live video content.
You’ve successfully run a live video session on Facebook, and to your surprise, it went pretty well. Great work, but you’re not done yet. Once a live video session is done, the video doesn’t disappear. It is saved on your Facebook page, where fans can follow up and watch the video. This is very important to the success of live video, since only a small percentage of your targeted audience will be able to watch at the date and time you go live. And the video doesn’t have to be restricted only to your Facebook audience: You can reshare the link on other social media networks to expand its reach and influence.
According to CIO, resharing the video link on other social media isn’t the extent of how you can repurpose this content. Your company should consider embedding the video in a blog post, and even creating a new blog post specifically to promote and share the latest video session. Videos can also be included in email newsletters, and you can repackage clips from that video session to reuse in a variety of ways, and on a number of digital channels—not just now, but weeks or even months down the road.
Facebook’s aggressive moves to bolster its video content platform have opened the floodgates to new marketing opportunities. It’s time for brands to dive in, get their hair wet, and experiment with these new possibilities.