As brands and publishers put greater emphasis on their social media presence, we’re seeing myriad approaches to distributing content, whether it’s links to articles, images -- or, more and more often, video. However, what many don’t understand is that consumers have different expectations for experiencing content on social media platforms. Every active player in the video content value chain -- from publishers to advertisers -- needs to understand the differences in measurement, consumption and advertising acceptance before building a social video strategy.
Facebook remains the dominant social platform when it comes to video distribution, and thus has established the core social measurement with the “Like.” However, social video strategy should not start with “Likes,” but with three goals: discoverability, returning viewers and driving consumer conversations. Advertisers and content owners should drive to develop an audience that will continue to return and drive interest and awareness for the newest and most relevant videos. And the easiest way to unveil the right formula is to program video significantly different from other distribution platforms, measuring success through loads of trial and error.
What resonates on Facebook is often very different from what works on a more content-focused website. As video publishers and distributors of sports video, we’ve found that highlight packages work well on traditional editorial coverage websites. Conversely, avid Facebook users know they can engage with this content elsewhere, so they’re far more interested in alternative programming and features inside the network. For example, we’ve seen them respond better to the “Not Top 10” version: compendiums of sports lowlights, bloopers and errors.
And while evergreen content has performed well, we see huge spikes in viewership of content that relates to current events and can become part of the real-time conversation. This can vary from fun, engaging editorial that brings content to life, or controversial hard-hitting analysis of important stories that resonate with a fan base. In many instances, the video isn’t the center of attention, but something that encourages discussion.
The length of the content plays a factor in social as well. Two minutes earns views and consumer engagement on a website if the video is relevant to the page content, but that doesn’t necessarily work on Facebook. While users average more than 12 minutes on Facebook daily, those who watch video want something quick, and 30 to 40 seconds is generally the rule of thumb.
Of course, short videos create greater difficulty for monetizing video, and it inevitably puts advertisers at a disadvantage. The brevity of the video eliminates any possibility of pre-roll. Consider putting a 30-second spot before a 30-second video, and you’re toast.
Brands find far more success spreading advertising messages by integrating with the video content itself. Video integration can come in the form of an overlay, product placement or branded content produced by the brand and/or content partner. And while it’s important to include brand assets on the page as well, given the share-ability and viral nature of Facebook, branded content is currently the best means of maximizing monetization efforts.
Facebook is a smart way to distribute video to a social media audience, but it has to be done in the proper fashion. There’s still a lot of debate over how to measure successful social video strategies, but content producers and advertisers that leverage shareability and monitor their views and responses will be on the right track.
Even then, monetization strategies need to consider the audience and respect the very nature of social media. Content owners and advertisers need to walk before they run here, as these are the keys to driving the social media consumption -- and, with any luck, a seamless consumer experience.