Facebook Video: Expert Insights & Latest Best Practices [Interview]

Since mid-2014, there have been several studies published which indicate that natively uploaded video is one of the most-rewarded formats within Facebooks’ algorithm in terms of News Feed impressions delivered. YouTube provides a great environment for building video channels and for generating viewership both in the immediate term, as well as over time. In fact, 53% of all Facebook video views are generated via shared posts. Mark Robertson: Adding relevant textual metadata is, in my opinion, an important consideration and best practice for any content published digitally (video in particular). As you’ll notice in the set of images below, square and vertical videos take up much more News Feed real-estate than do widescreen videos. If that user then returns to view your reply, you then generate yet an additional view, and perhaps interaction. Mark Robertson: Live video is exploding on Facebook and will continue to grow in the future. Mark Robertson: Facebook, as most other platforms, is continually evolving. Additionally, video on Facebook is relatively new (vs. YouTube for example). For testing video, I would highly recommend learning about and conducting multivariate tests using Facebook dark-posting.

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When Facebook reported its third quarter 2016 results, Mark Zuckerberg said, “People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important. So that’s why we’re prioritizing putting video first across our family of apps, and taking steps to make it even easier for people to express themselves in richer ways.”

This represents both an opportunity and a threat to digital marketers that haven’t already mastered the art and science of uploading videos to Facebook directly. Fortunately, Mark Robertson shared some expert analysis and tips at last month’s VidSummit 2016 in a presentation entitled, “Facebook Video: Data-Driven Insights & Best Practices.”

As you may know, Mark Robertson is the Founder of ReelSEO (now TubularInsights), and he’s one of the industry’s leading advocates for video marketing – educating marketers, brands and publishers in strategies and best practices for video marketing, social video, and advertising.

I interviewed Robertson about his thoughts on best practices for Facebook video, covering the following topics:

Mark Robertson: In short – video marketers should upload natively to Facebook because it works best, and because Facebook, a platform with the largest number of daily active users worldwide, has put significant resources into enhancing the platform to showcase and promote native video content. Although Facebook has allowed for uploading of native video for many years, they implemented several changes in mid-2014 that made native video, an incredibly popular medium for the platform.

Harry Potter Newspaper Video

After Facebook tested “auto-play” videos beginning in December 2013, they officially made it the default video playback experience in May of 2014. Since then, any video content uploaded to the platform, is given unique, and prominent visibility within user’s newsfeed through the automatically moving picture – admittedly modeled after the “magical images” featured in Harry Potter films’ fictional Daily Prophet Newspaper.

Secondly, Facebook, like other platforms, is constantly making algorithm adjustments. But, it’s become clear that Facebook began to reward native video posts (vs. photos, status updates, URL links – which include YouTube video links) in the algorithm a couple of years ago. Since mid-2014, there have been several studies published which indicate that natively uploaded video is one of the most-rewarded formats within Facebooks’ algorithm in terms of News Feed impressions delivered. Whether as a consequence of this preference or not, studies have also shown that video also generates more engagement than other post formats in Facebook. This is particularly true with regard to Facebook Live, for now.

Finally, it’s important to note that Facebook itself has touted their internal focus on native video content (on-demand, live, 360, VR, etc.). In their Q3-2015 Earnings call in November 2015, Mark Zuckerberg himself stated:

“Over the next few years, video is going to be some of the most engaging content online, and by continuing to innovate here, we have a chance to build the best place to watch and share videos.”

Mark Robertson: I think for most video content strategies, it’s important to leverage both platforms. However, I also believe that it’s important to understand that they are very different animals at this point in time. YouTube is a video-first destination, and is primarily a video discovery platform. YouTube provides a great environment for building video channels and for generating viewership both in the immediate term, as well as over time. Videos uploaded to YouTube vs. Facebook (for the time being) tend to continue to generate viewership long after they’re initially posted due to the nature of discovery on YouTube primarily driven via browse and search discovery methods.

For Facebook, viewership is often generated more-so from a “push” perspective. By that, I mean that in most instances, Facebook users are not searching out videos to watch on the platform, but rather, are viewing videos that they did not expect, but that were shared to them within their News Feeds.With Facebook, if your video content is compelling enough, it could potentially generate massive viewership in a very short time, due to the vast user base that resides in Facebook and the fact that any viewer/user can immediately share your video with their friends and fans inside the platform – creating viral potential. In fact, 53% of all Facebook video views are generated via shared posts.

Mark Robertson: Adding relevant textual metadata is, in my opinion, an important consideration and best practice for any content published digitally (video in particular). That being said, there are a couple known best practices for Facebook video, that pertain…

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