Native video has expanded across a number of different platforms recently, and one of the most significant developments was Facebook‘s release of a native video player in 2014. Facebook native videos now look much better in the News Feed than embedded links to external videos do, which has discouraged brands from publishing such embedded links on their Facebook pages. This change has disrupted the traditional model of distributing YouTube videos to Facebook, forcing brands to develop strategic cross-platform approaches.
Why Facebook video?
With 1.4 billion monthly active users, Facebook is a huge force. And its release of a native video player has created an opportunity for brands to capitalize on these large audiences.
As a brand, you can fill your Facebook page with a combination of text, video, and image posts. Brands and individual users both have the same options, so a single user’s News Feed will be interspersed with peer and brand content. This integration of brand and peer posts can make your branded content discoverable in the News Feed and give it a more authentic feel.
Autoplay and view counts
While both YouTube and Facebook have autoplay features, they execute autoplay in different ways. On YouTube, videos autoplay in sequence. On Facebook, a video in the News Feed begins playing once a user scrolls to it. Facebook videos thus have only a second or two to engage viewers, whereas YouTube videos can rely on strong SEO titles and thumbnails to lure viewers.
Moreover, Facebook counts a video view if a user views three seconds of the video, regardless of whether sound is on or off. Though some have argued that Facebook’s autoplay feature leads to unqualified views, the “click to sound” functionality is a way to get users more engaged. If the first few seconds of your video are engaging enough to get a user to “click to sound,” your brand can use the analytics to inform future strategy.
The autoplay feature also expands the types of videos that the Facebook platform can support. Your brand can take advantage of motion posters and videos, as well as text-driven videos, to spread your message. In any case, it’s important to find a way to engage viewers the second a video starts.
The cross-platform opportunity
Videos released natively on Facebook are more immediately engaging than those on YouTube, but those posted to YouTube have a longer tail of interest. By taking advantage of both platforms, your brand can broaden its reach.
On Facebook, you can post shorter, more text-driven videos to engage viewers to share and click through to additional videos on an external site, like YouTube. On YouTube, you can focus on longer pieces that may not hold the attention of Facebook audiences.
It’s important to create a social video strategy around platform-tailored content that engages, rather than annoys, users. Monthly active users of any platform will be able to tell if your brand have adopted a smattering of social media outlets with no plan of action.
In many cases, Facebook and YouTube can be complementary to each other as you take advantage of their differing features and gain insights from each. Fullscreen is happy to put together a recommended plan of when and how your brand can use both platforms, informed by your overall campaign goals. Just contact us. Good luck with your video strategy!