Marketers have had a rocky relationship with Facebook over the last few years. While they’ve introduced amazing new pages options, they’ve changed their organic display algorithm numerous times to limit how company posts are displayed to their followers. News of updates to Facebook’s brand experience are always met with cautious optimism.

At Facebook’s recent F8 conference, the world’s largest social network announced numerous changes to its offering for marketers, but the most exciting changes revolved around video. Recent stats from Facebook indicate that Facebook sees over four billion daily views on their video assets, and the number continues to grow.

Our CEO, Michael Litt, gave a great overview of this on Adobe’s CMO.com blog, so let’s take a closer look at why marketers should be paying more attention to Facebook video, and how to add Facebook to your video marketing strategy.

Silent Auto-Play Means a Change in Mindset

While not everyone is ecstatic about the idea of videos auto-playing in their news feed, like it or not auto-play video won out on Facebook. This presents a new challenge for marketers, as traditionally videos are meant to be an audio-visual experience. My advice for marketers is to pretend their video is playing on a television in a crowded, noisy bar. Here’s why:

  1. Distractions are everywhere. Your video has to hook viewers as they are scrolling through their news feed. That means your explainer content is competing with the latest Buzzfeed article, sonogram photos of new additions to the family, and – worst of all – other people’s videos. Make sure your video can hook people in the first few seconds or they will keep on scrolling by.
  2. You don’t have the benefit of audio, but you still need it. Bars are noisy places, and nine times out of ten, the televisions are muted. Watch any commercial that airs during a football game, and you’ll understand the strategy at play – these ads are as enticing to watch as they are to listen to. The same strategy applies to Facebook videos, as viewers aren’t going to hear the audio unless they explicitly press play. That said, make sure your video still has high-quality audio, otherwise anyone who actually wants to watch your video will be disappointed.
  3. Keep it short. People in bars don’t tend to spend much time looking at the commercials, and your followers on Facebook aren’t going to spend ten minutes watching your video in their news feed. Short and sweet is the name of the game for Facebook video content, unless you’ve experimented with long content in the past and found success.

Oreo does a great job keeping their videos short, sweet, and without the need for audio. Check out their latest on their video page.

facebook video

Facebook Is Becoming the New YouTube

As Michael mentions in his post, Facebook’s recent announcements should have Google worried. While YouTube may be the world’s second largest search engine, Facebook is the world’s largest social network, and as their video offering expands, it’s going to start stealing traffic away from YouTube.

Marketers should be thinking of Facebook as another channel for video production, and developing strategies around using the other unique aspects of Facebook to target their content:

  • Easy sharing of content. The cornerstone of Facebook’s social platform is that it’s as easy as one click to share a piece of content from someone else’s page to your own. If your content is compelling, your followers will be excited to share it, and you’ll reap the benefits of virality, and increased analytics on the content.
  • Adding video to contests, and give-aways. Facebook is famous as a platform for great branded contests, and Facebook now offers the option for marketers to lock their videos down to only show on their brand page. Incorporating video into your Facebook campaigns has never been easier, and directing your viewers to other areas of your Facebook page, or back to your own site is part of the benefits.
  • Easy options for user-generated content. Whether you’re asking users to upload their own video to your page, or to reply to your video with their story, managing comments and taking media in through your Facebook channel is as easy for your followers as posting content to their own page.

Mobile Is Leading The Way for Facebook – And Facebook Video

Facebook reported recently that they have over 2.2 billion users, and that over half a billion of them browse the platform exclusively on a mobile device. While YouTube’s app is popular, most people aren’t checking YouTube in their spare minutes on the bus, or while they’re sitting on their lunch break. Home Depot has one of the best YouTube channels for content marketing we’ve ever seen, and even they are branching out to short, social content on Facebook (see the video below here):

home depot facebook video

That video may not teach consumers how to fix their toilet or paint their living room, but it’s great at inspiring people to take on a quick fun project that can be tackled in an afternoon. It’s also short enough to load lightning fast on mobile, and shareable with one click.

Facebook’s mobile platform is a great venue for your video content, as your prospects are already looking for a reason to be distracted. They probably wouldn’t be browsing Facebook on their phones or tablets if they weren’t. Create compelling, humorous content, and your followers will respond by devoting that downtime to consuming it.

Your Videos Don’t Have to Live Only On Facebook

One of the biggest announcements from the F8 conference puts YouTube directly in Facebook’s crosshairs. Facebook users will now be able to re-embed Facebook videos on any blog or website platform using a simple embed code. This means people who are really excited about your content can share it to their blogs, Tumblr accounts, and other web platforms, and you in turn can share other people’s videos on your own blog.

While this may seem like an added feature designed to put YouTube out of business, combining this with Facebook’s recent expansion of their video analytics means marketers can access the easy sharing options of YouTube-style embed codes without being limited to YouTube’s simple analytics.

This creates powerful opportunities for marketers, but it should be taken with a grain of salt – Facebook’s analytics are limited, and there are still big benefits to hosting content on your own site.

Do we really need another channel?

There’s no shortage of platforms vying for marketers time. Should your brand be on Snapchat? Do we need weekly Periscope meetings with our audience? Today’s marketers are bombarded with opportunities to build a community, and picking and choosing where to spend your time is not easy.

Facebook seems committed to expanding the tangible benefits of hosting video on their platform, and marketers stand to win big by building communities of dedicated fans through this channel. Far from just another place to host content, Facebook offers new opportunities for marketers to auto-play their video in front of a wide audience, and on a mobile platform accessed by millions of engaged fans every day.

What you do with the platform is up to you, but make sure Facebook is a part of your content strategy, and make sure Facebook Video is on your radar!

Jon Spenceley