Tucked away on a corner of Facebook is a newly-published blog post about what makes a decent video on the platform. It’s well worth a look.
Often social platforms will hide and leave it to guess work and experimentation as to what works on the platform. That’s fine if you have the time and resources to test. Not so if you haven’t. You can read the full post here.
What’s absolutely clear…
Three minute videos for Facebook… and with a storyline
Facebook are really keen on you making and posting three minute video. That comes as a surprise after years of pushing really short and snappy 15-second content.
The reason for this is that they’d like to put ads part-way through videos that you’re watching.
As Facebook’s post says:
Make longer videos that engage people and inspire them to watch to the end. Research has shown us that people on Facebook find value in longer videos that have a storyline. We prioritise longer videos (three minutes or more) that inspire people to continue watching. So make sure that you plan your video’s opening, build-up, tension, pacing and payoff in ways that will catch a viewer’s attention and hold it until the end.
This is really interesting. I can see from a business perspective why they’d like to make more money from ads. But aren’t people used to watching short snippets on Facebook and scrolling onto the next? I’d say so. But on YouTube people are happy to be served video after video that are longer. The gamble for Facebook is that will be replicated on their platform, too.
They’ve created a new platform for posting video to Facebook
Facebook Admanager is a really good Facebook platform for creating and managing ads.
By the looks of things Facebook have created a platform for video to allow you to keep better tabs and have better insights on what you are posting. Facebook Creater Studio is that new tool to help you understand how long people are watching.
They want your video to be original and not re-posted
Facebook would like original videos, please.
That would appear to have really put the kybosh on stock video libraries where you can download footage. That’s not such a bad idea, to be absolutely honest. Often these stock libraries are as original as a stock image.
They’re also keen on stories, plotline and narrative arcs.
You can help give your Page a better originality signal by sharing videos that you wrote, shot, edited and published yourself or with the support of a production partner. The best way to create the type of original content our distribution system supports is by making sure that your Page is participating as much as possible in the creation of the videos that it posts.
They want you to get people talking and sharing
The post also talks about how they’d like to see video that gets people talking and debating. But they explicitly warn against using click bait terms that encourage people to share or create cliffhangers where there are none.
Videos that do this well will:
Inspire people to have meaningful, back and forth, respectful discussion in the comments. This has to happen in a way that is not spammy or gratuitous.
Be authentically shared. Shares remain one of Facebook’s most powerful tools for organic distribution.
Be engaged with. We also look at likes and reactions to help us determine which content should get distribution priority. These interactions should happen organically and not through engagement bait.
They want you to think of the metadata
The metadata is the information that goes with a video that makes it easier to find. That means tags and also a clear headline to explain what your video is.
That’s actually common sense but its worth while just being reminded of that.
Less is more
One conclusion of these changes is that less surely has to be more.
You need to put more thought into what you are posting to create something that’s three minutes long and worthwhile. So, if in the past there were maybe a fistful of 15 to 30-second videos the future surely is one longer video that’s well made.
The challenge is to make something really worthwhile than a blizzard of content.
Create for the platform
For the last couple of years I’ve mapped the research to create a optimum video length post. Last year, it was three minutes is best for YouTube, 45 seconds for Twitter and 15 seconds for Facebook.
That’s now simplified to three minutes for YouTube and Facebook but don’t be tempted to chuck the three minute video up onto Twitter too. I’d argue that making a shorter edit for Twitter, Instagram or your favoured platform. That still makes sense.
Picture credit: istock.
I deliver the Essential Video Skills for Comms workshop with Steven Davies For more information and to book head here. I’d love to see you there. Any questions? Drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.