Facebook open on mobile phone

Facebook Video

As part of our social video series, we take a look at Facebook video and how you can leverage advertising on their platform to reach a broad and engaged audience.

Facebook video advertising

You have two distribution options when it comes to Facebook video; paid or organic. Of course, you can (and should) post organic video content to your existing audience, but if you’re looking to extend your reach and find a new audience, Facebook video ads are a great way to do so. Facebook have a wealth of information about their users; their likes, hobbies, education, career and what they had for breakfast. This level of targeting means you can zero-in on specific audience segments, and target relevant messages to the right people.

Facebook only launched video ads in 2014, and it has come a long way since then. Even when stacked up against video behemoth, YouTube, Facebook comes out fighting with some very impressive video usage, engagement and reach stats.

Facebook reach and engagement

It’s not news that Facebook, in general, has a huge reach, but it is worth stopping to look at the latest stats and marvel at how much of your existing and potential audience is using this platform.

There are over 1.7 billion active users on Facebook (Facebook defines an active user as anyone who has logged in in the last 30 days). The even more staggering statistic is that as of late 2015, Facebook reported that there were 8 billion video views on their platform per day. EIGHT. BILLION.

The figures are impressive, no doubt, but remember that Facebook counts a video view as anything over 3 seconds, which in reality is probably not very accurate considering the auto-play feature, which means videos automatically begin to play (without sound) when a user scrolls through their Facebook feed. Compare this to YouTube, where you can see whether people made an active effort to watch your video content by clicking on the play button.

Facebook also lets you see video plays of ten seconds or longer in your page Insights section, which will give you a more accurate idea of how many people stopped and actively consumed your content. You should still think about how to capture people’s attention during that vital three-second window. Remember, you’re trying to halt people from scrolling through their feed, which will be hard to do if your video has a twenty-second long intro.

Facebook video ad placement

Organic video content appears in the main feed of a user’s profile, on desktop or mobile. Paid video advertising means that you can choose whether your video content appears in Facebook’s desktop feed, mobile feed or the right-hand column.

You can see examples, design and technical specifications and create your video ads here.

Chess pieces

Video metrics

Video performance and audience data is available on the Insights tab of your Facebook page. These are some useful metrics to monitor:

  • On the Posts tab of Page Insights, click on Post Types to see how your video engagement stacks up versus the other type of content you’re posting. This kind of aggregated comparison should enable you to modify your content marketing strategy in response to user engagement
  • You can also see engagement metrics for each post for the past 28 days. Again, on the Posts tab, navigate to All Posts Published and click on the title of the individual post. You get a good sense of how specific content is performing and you can respond quickly to these metrics. For example, if a post is doing well, put some budget behind it to boost it. Similarly, if there is a low view rate, consider amending the headline and description
  • In the same view as above, you can also see retention metrics. Here you will get a wealth of information, such as organic vs. paid views and auto-play vs. click to play. You can also see what points in the video people drop-off or engage, which is invaluable when looking to optimise your content based on user behaviour
  • Not a metric that you can monitor, exactly, but keeping an eye on the comments lets you get a more qualitative sense of the reaction to your content. It’s also a good idea to respond to comments and encourage conversation, rather than observing from afar

Use this data to inform your content marketing strategy as well as your amplification strategy. Boost posts that have performed well, both on Facebook and other channels and modify your content if you see that a particular part of your video is causing people to drop-off in large numbers.

Consider the size of your audience on Facebook. It is possible to reach a huge number of individuals and if you do, use the performance data to help inform your video strategy in general. Sure, some factors will be specific to a user who is in the Facebook mindset, but engagement and retention metrics, as well as comments, should be used to shape your video content on all channels proactively.

Facebook video advertising: strategy

The approach that works for you will be entirely dependent on your content and service or product. However, there are broad learnings that you can use to help you get started with your video strategy on Facebook.

Facebook is not the place to publish you 10,000-word company manifesto or your 20-minute long CEO interview. You have three seconds to grab attention and then only a short time after that to keep it. A recent study showed that you will lose a third of your audience by the 30-second mark.

Use YouTube for your long video content, adapt your content for Facebook to make it punchy and attention-grabbing from the outset and keep it as short as you can without compromising the content.

Factor branding in during the early stages of your content strategy. As shown above, many users will drop-off before the end of the video. So don’t wait until the end to introduce your brand or the call to action.

It’s really about testing, learning and refining so that you find a strategy that works for you. Thanks to the large potential audience and the wealth of data available, this process can be accelerated on Facebook. It is therefore a good place to start with your video content marketing.

Here is some inspiration to get you started

Check out these social videos, made by Genero’s network of creative filmmakers.


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Discover more about social media video with our guide to social video for brands and advertisers.

Get in touch if you would like to speak to Genero about creating video content for your product or band.