Two years ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced to analysts the company would be taking a ‘video first’ strategy across all their applications. If you’ve been wondering about video marketing opportunities for your company, understanding Facebook’s approach might help you. After all, video is projected to account for 82% of all Internet traffic by 2021.
So what does video first mean for Facebook and what could it mean for social media marketing and video SEO?
What is Facebook’s Video First Approach?
In his 2016 announcement, Zuckerberg shared his belief that within five years the bulk of online consumption would be in the form of video. He made a pitch to move Facebook to a more “camera-centric” platform to compete with applications such as Snapchat, offering more filters and options for whatever you capture with your camera.
The strategy is built on the three pillars of community, interactivity, and the ability to co-watch video. By 2017, almost a year after the rollout of Facebook Live, some 20% of all videos viewed on the platform were live content – a sign that a video-first approach might pay off.
Facebook has taken this data and further developed its approach. In an effort to turn mindless and aimless scrolling into planned intention to view specific videos, Facebook Watch was released.
While Facebook originally had designs on creating a destination for news video, they are now re-examining their commitments here. They have shifted their focus to entertainment content growth. This includes a pretty full fall lineup and a nostalgic Facebook-only reboot of “The Real World.”
What Does This Mean For Social Media Marketing? (Two Options)
Predictions from researchers indicate that by the end of 2019, the majority of online searches will be comprised of video, so it stands to reason that 93% of marketers would prioritize video in their online campaigns and strategies this year.
On the monetization front, Facebook said the number of partners using its video ‘ad breaks’ product has more than tripled in the past year. There are basically two options now when it comes to media buying when marketing with video on Facebook.
Let’s take a look at both ‘In-Stream Reserve’ and ‘Showcase’ options and what they have to offer a social media marketing strategy.
1. In-Stream Reserve
When it debuted, In-Stream Reserve offered advertisers two options. They could buy ads that would be placed in pre-selected, high-quality content and directed at in-target, Nielsen-verified audiences. Or, they could use In-Stream categories such as sports, fashion and beauty, and entertainment as the basis for their ad-buy (with further categories added over time).
This approach allows you to place ads midway through other News Feed videos. Alternatively, ads can be placed before or after other kinds of video on the platform, including Facebook Watch videos. The approach has been successful thus far, with more than 70% of ads viewed to completion, and many with the sound turned on.
The premium Showcase option was released earlier this year, and essentially combines In-Stream Reserve and a new sponsorship approach for advertisers targeting audiences in the U.S. In a nutshell, sponsorship lets advertisers sponsor entire shows on Facebook Watch.
Facebook highlights some impressive statistics on its Showcase information page. They promote their advertising options as a way to reach previously slippery demographics. For example, 43 percent of people in the U.S. who watched eligible In-Stream Reserve content during the first part of 2019, were 18-34 years old. They compared this to only 29% of the TV universe in the same age group.
How To Make Video First Work For You
Now that you know more about two of the ad-buy options Facebook has rolled out, you’ll want to examine how to put them to work for you. However, if you’re not in a position to buy ad space as a premium advertiser, you can still benefit from the focus video.
In addition to ad placement within other content, experts maintain that live video remains one of the most effective tools in the social media marketing mix when done right. A couple of key elements to keep in mind when planning live video aimed at connecting solidly with your audience include:
- A solid plan. Just because it’s live doesn’t mean it has to be chaos. A brief plan will help you accomplish your goal.
- Exclusive content. Try to capture something no one else can get, while keeping your own brand and legal standards in mind.
According to Facebook, video is the way to go when vying for eyeballs online. As such, they’ve developed content designed to help marketers understand the science behind video ads and how to build them better, especially for mobile.
What Impact Does Video First Have on SEO?
Something to keep in mind when reviewing your video strategy is that video is already optimized for search, especially on Google. This is based on people’s tendencies to watch content rather than read it.
This has not changed over time, either. There are some evergreen video SEO techniques that still hold true today. What’s more, some of the barriers to higher Google page rankings – such as external links and page hits – don’t apply to video. What matters with video is good titling, metadata, and tagging.
The stats on video and what it can do for your conversion rates indicate it’s also worth taking a look at older videos and updating them with better keywords and search terms. With 100 million hours of video watched daily on Facebook, there are a lot of available opportunities to turn leads into customers.
While Facebook’s video-first strategy did not take off like a rocket in some respects, it’s clear they are reaping the rewards of patience. Facebook video stats are impressive and provide marketers with a lot to consider in terms of the smartest ad spends. It seems that video first is a strategy worth investigating.
Have you experienced a change in audience engagement due to a shift in your video strategy? Share your insights in the comments section below!
Image credit: LoboStudioHamburg.