The rise of digital video affects the entire internet, of course, but its impact is especially notable on social networks. Needless to say, the results demand attention.
- Facebook video posts have increased by 94% annually in U.S.
- The total potential Facebook video viewing audience is 1.71 billion monthly active users.
- Facebook video now gets 8 billion daily views, which has grown 100% over 6 months.
- 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound.
- Facebook videos have increased 360% across news feeds.
- On Facebook, 10 seconds of viewing leads to 74% of total ad recall.
- 100 million hours of Facebook videos are watched every day.
As Mark Zuckerberg vowed last year, Facebook has built a successful video-first business, becoming a viable video option against not only YouTube but even Hulu, Netflix, and Prime, thanks to their new Watch feature for longer form content. We won’t get into Watch here but we will dive into organic and paid strategies that are similar—and sometimes superior—to what you can do on YouTube.
Tactics For Organic Video Distribution on Facebook
Organic reach has been hindered by Facebook’s algorithm change. Organic posts reach only between 28–35% of your friends on Facebook. If the post goes viral, that might rise to 50%, but this is extremely rare. With video, however, the organic algorithm is kinder. Video posts receive 135% greater organic reach than photo. So, your videos will naturally get shown to more of your native audience than other forms of content.
Since organic reach isn’t easy to come by, let’s look at some tactics to maximize it.
Tactic 1 – Upload Video Natively to Facebook
It’s easiest to upload a video to YouTube or Vimeo and use that link to syndicate content across platforms. But the first step for more reach on Facebook is to upload directly. One study pegged organic Facebook uploads at getting 4x more interactions than non-native video on Facebook. Facebook, then, is most likely influencing their algorithm to favor native video uploads. Also, some features that don’t work unless you go native as well—like video autoplay, which drives engagement.
Tactic 2 – Use Video On Your Facebook Page
Just having video on your page increases your page’s popularity. You can promote services, show demos, advertise webinars, announce new offerings, or preview upcoming events. It’s also a great place for your flagship video. On our page, we put flagship video in the hero section, then we promote new offerings by using promo videos until the offering time window is done.
Tactic 3 – Use Facebook Live
Another underrated strategy (and still relatively new, which allows for market share growth by leveraging early) is Facebook Live. Essentially, Facebook Live is a mobile broadcasting tool that allows you to stream live events directly to your audience. Facebook Live videos even have a 3x higher engagement rate than other forms of video on Facebook.
Another case for Facebook Live is the level of interaction you can get with your audience. You can connect and interact with people in real-time and via the comments on the video feed. Now, Facebook Live is obviously not for every brand, but some of these use cases may show you it’s right for you:
- Co-market with an influencer who’s well-known by your target audience.
- Broadcast recurring events like a talk shows or live stream a regular podcast.
- Bring your audience behind the scenes or show them something unique about what you do.
- Present interviews or Q&A’s that deepen engagement.
- Show online classes or a thought leadership series.
- Release or demo services.
You can do Facebook Live directly from mobile or desktop. HubSpot has put together a great how to guide on the actual way to set up a Facebook Live stream. You can check that out here. There are also some nuances on how to use Facebook Live, including different privacy and broadcast settings that you want to make sure to understand before broadcasting. Most brands and companies will want to use the public setting on Facebook Live so anyone can access their content, but be sure to review everything before setting up your stream.
Tactic 4 – Put a Call To Action On Your Video Post
If you’re investing in video content, you’re probably aiming to drive some kind of action from viewers. It could be email sign-ups, product purchases, petition signatures, or any number of actions. Facebook gives you the space to set up that CTA within the post. This seems like a small thing, but it’s a key component to driving behavior. If you’d like a quick walk through on how to set this up, we encourage you to check out ShortStacks great post on how to set it up.
In conclusion for tactics on native Facebook video, we encourage two final details. First, make sure that you have selected the best thumbnail for the video. Vidyard has some great data in this post on how much the thumbnail can influence views and engagement.
Second, upload captions to your video. You can do this via srt files or you can have Facebook take their best guess at it and build the transcript out. Since 85% of video is watched silently on Facebook, making sure the video has captions is a really big deal. Also, it helps with SERP results.
Tactics For Paid Video Distribution on Facebook
There are a lot of different ways to approach paid distribution on Facebook, but a few simple ground rules can get you in the right mindset. First and foremost, start thinking about Facebook as a pay-to-play ecosystem. It is extremely rare that videos go viral anymore, so you can’t rely on that as a legitimate strategy. Second, keep your video ads to under 14 seconds. Under 10 seconds is better. If you use video under 15 seconds, you get a placement option to play your video in-stream, which gets a higher view-to-the-end rate.
The third key tactic is to make sure that the video is understandable when silent. Yes, we’re beating this drum repeatedly, but 85% of all video is consumed silently on Facebook. Do not pay for video ads that can’t be understand without sound!
Now, with those basic tactics established, it’s time to discuss a couple of strategies. The first is new customer acquisition on Facebook. The second is retargeting. (If you aren’t familiar with the concepts of retargeting, watch this.) Both have incredible ROI opportunities.
New Customer Acquisition Using Paid Facebook Video Ads
Facebook video campaigns start with your marketing objectives. If you’re looking to acquire customers, it’s best to place yours into one of two areas. The first is Brand Awareness, which can be found under Awareness. This will target the people who Facebook deems most likely to be interested in your brand. The second one is Video Views under the consideration section. This will target the people (within your designated segment) who are most likely to watch video. You can see the two categories below.
Once you have established your marketing objectives, you begin audience selection. This is where you can really dial in your targeting. To be clear, the real power of Facebook targeting is it’s audience segmentation. Where Google Adwords & YouTube all target based off search, Facebook lets you target specific segments of people.
When setting up targeting, play around with the Include and Exclude options. The Include feature allows you to expand your audience if you’d like to create a larger segment or Facebook tells you to do so if your current audience is too small. The Exclude feature lets you can narrow your audience to a very specific group. In the example below, we’re targeting Microsoft employees in the United States with marketing officer as their role.
These campaigns are really good at driving high level awareness for whatever it is you are trying to promote, especially if you’re looking to reach a potentially untapped audience.
Once you have set up your targeting, start running your campaign. You can A/B test different copy for your CTA, which can help you ensure you’re getting the best return on your investment.
In the next segment, we’ll walk through something called Custom Audiences and Retargeting.
Using Facebook Custom Audiences, Retargeting & Video
One of the most powerful tools within Facebook is the Custom Audience. With the addition of the Facebook pixel (a small snippet of tracking code that you can put on your website and landing pages—read about it here), you can set up tracking parameters and track custom events like page views, conversions, email signups, purchases, and other data points.
There are three forms of custom audiences. One uses past client information, one uses their behaviors on your site, and the last uses behavior on your Facebook page.
Custom Audience – Tactic 1 – Past Clients
One of the best strategies for Facebook is upload customer data into the custom audience area of Facebook. This can be past clients, email signups, or other information, but you need at least first name and email. Ideally you would use first name, last name, email, and phone number. Basically, you want Facebook to be able to match users based on the data you provide.
Then, you can retarget past clients or people who have engaged with your brand, delivering a special offer or a different purchasing opportunity. Since you’re marketing to people who are already familiar with your brand, you will likely see a higher conversion rate.
You can also create lookalike audiences. By analyzing your data, Facebook looks for users that seem similar to the users whose data you uploaded. This expands your target audience in a strategic way.
By creating a lookalike audience, you leverage Facebook’s vast data to identify people like your customers—and therefore more likely to engage and convert. There is no limit to how deep you can segment. If you have multiple services, you can even create a custom audience for each product, then market based on that. In our Facebook strategy, we’re continually testing and evolving 30–45 audiences.
Custom Audience – Tactic 2 – Site Visits
You may not know it, but you’re probably familiar with this one. This is where you look at a pair of shoes on some site, then see those shoes in ads everywhere on the internet. That’s often through Google, but you can do something very similar on Facebook. Once you have set up the Facebook pixel on your site and landing pages (tutorial here), you can start targeting your site visitors on Facebook.
Since we have 3 main audiences (B2B, B2C, and Not-for-Profit), we created three separate video ads. Since we are targeting them based on site visits, we know awareness is not an issue, so each video delivers a nurture message tailored to each audience.
Then, we set up a custom audience in Facebook that targets users who have visited certain pages within our site but not the “Thank You” page that is shown to people who’ve converted. You can see what that looks like below.
Anytime you have potential clients who did not convert, you can use this same strategy to deliver a different offer, re-engage people who abandoned after visiting the landing page, or stay front-of-mind if you have a long buying cycle. The video nurture campaigns built around site visit behavior are some of our highest converting efforts.
Custom Audience – Tactic 3 – Facebook Behaviors
The final strategy uses Facebook behavior as the basis for delivering an ad. Our top 3 favorite use cases that we have seen and used ourselves:
- Targeting consumers who have liked your posts or interacted with your brand’s page (also, this is a great segment for creating a lookalike audience).
- Target people who have liked or interacted with a competitor’s page.
- Target people who have watched 50–75% of your initial video ad. This is usually a deeper nurture video ad or banner ad with a strong CTA.
Facebook lets you segment viewers of your video ad by how much they have watched so, depending on how far they got in the video, you can deliver the final part of the message or a totally separate nurture message.
Retargeting is a powerful but often under-utilized form of advertising. Because you are marketing to people who have already interacted with your brand, you have the opportunity to forge a deeper connection with an audience that is more likely to be attentive.
Facebook is already one of the most powerful advertising platforms, and now it has powerful ways to leverage video, too. Whether you are acquiring new customers, nurturing past clients, or retargeting site visits, you can achieve excellent results on Facebook.