Facebook recently modified its news feed algorithms. But what does that mean for you and your marketing campaign? Facebook’s news feed algorithms control the vast majority of what its users see and experience. As a video marketer, it’s important that you know how Facebook video works and how users interact with it.
Facebook’s Recent Algorithm Changes
Video marketers in 2018 are primarily going to be contending with Facebook’s recent algorithm changes. In a bid to improve user experience, Facebook has adjusted its algorithms to promote fewer ads and more personal content. Posts from family and friends are going to have higher visibility than promoted posts and ads. This is a bold move for Facebook, which makes most of its money from advertisers. However, interest in the platform has been waning due to an overabundance of ads and rampant promotional material.
What does this mean for advertisers? For advertisers, it means that it’s more important than ever to connect directly with Facebook users. Promoted posts and ads are no longer going to be as effective as they once were, making it less useful to simply pay for advertising and clicks. Instead, you’ll need to have your users connect with you and follow you, through the use of Facebook pages and events. Facebook will still display content to users that follow you, it will simply be less prominent. From there, you will need to encourage them to like, share, and otherwise engage with your posts, giving them an organic boost.
Facebook has also demoted news, especially news clips and videos, and general content that is produced to the public from companies and organizations. In studies, Facebook has found that users also don’t want to see global news and information; they want to see content that is relevant to them. Video marketers will need to stray away from news-based posts and will need to instead focus primarily on content interesting to their users, such as content that is tailored to certain hobbies and skill sets.
Relying on Facebook Sharing
Facebook sharing is still going to be a solid way to get information to other users; in fact, it may be one of the most effective ways. Companies cannot do anything about the fact that their posts are going to have lower visibility on Facebook feeds, but this is not the only component to an algorithm. Facebook also tries to find information that is most relevant to a person.
If many of a person’s friends have liked or engaged a post, or a person’s friend has directly shared a post, it is more likely to show on a news feed. This is even with the recent Facebook algorithm changes. And because of this, companies are going to have to rely more on engagement than attempting to simply shotgun a multitude of general video posts.
Video marketing has an advantage here over text and image posts, as video already has the highest level of engagement in terms of marketing. By producing solid content that other users want to share to their family and friends, marketers can still maintain an efficient marketing strategy.
Purchasing Ads on Facebook
Facebook has always been extremely useful for marketers because of its ability to drill down to specific demographics. If your business wants to, it can send its videos to women from ages 25 to 35 who are interested in cars and who live in Idaho. And that means that marketers are not likely to stop purchasing paid advertisements on Facebook even if they are now less effective.
In fact, some believe that this may actually lead to additional purchases of ads. Because ads aren’t going to be as visible as they used to be, marketers may actually need to promote more posts, and may need to put more of their budget towards advertising.
This still remains an important option for a video marketer. Video marketers may choose to boost and promote their posts initially hoping to get additional traction and shares. They may also find that the cost of advertising is still minimal compared to the value of the advertising.
The Benefits of Facebook’s Changes
Though these Facebook video changes may seem to make marketing more difficult, they are actually a positive. Facebook’s changes are tilted towards maintaining its user base. Over the past few years, Facebook has seen a slow in the growth of its active users, and a decline in the amount of time people are actually using Facebook.
This isn’t good for marketers. Facebook’s new algorithm changes will improve the popularity of its platform, which in turn will make it a more useful tool for marketers. Overall, this is a good change for everyone involved.
For individual marketers, it’s a solid chance to pull ahead in marketing efforts. Many companies are not going to be able to pivot their marketing strategies quickly; they will be using old strategies, paying for marketing, and posting news clips. Those who are ahead of the curve can take advantage of new boosts in personalized content to pull ahead from the pack.
Facebook’s changes are anticipated to reduce the amount of time that people spend on the platform, but to increase the value of the time that they spend there. That means that users are going to be having more high impact interactions with Facebook; that they are going to be seeing fewer posts in general, but engaging with them more. As a video marketer, your goal will be to make sure that your videos are worth interacting with.
How to Succeed With Facebook Video in 2018
Facebook’s algorithm changes are making it more difficult to get your viewer’s attention, but the core strategies of Facebook video marketing haven’t changed. Video marketers are simply going to need to be more vigilant and determined regarding getting their videos noticed. Once videos have been noticed, they can then be liked and shared.
• Consider the benefits of paid advertising. In order to determine whether paid video marketing may be useful for you, you need to first determine the lifetime customer value of each customer brought to you by Facebook. If Facebook advertising costs you $3 per user gained but each user is worth a $10 sale, the choice is still obvious. But drilling down to these numbers is going to require some trial-and-error, as you’ll need to test it out.
• Make compelling, unique videos that are sharable. Because you can no longer rely upon the Facebook algorithm to boost and support your content, you instead need to focus on your users. You want your users to watch your videos and to share them. You want to create videos that are highly targeted towards your demographic and is truly useful to them. Avoid churning out content for the sake of producing regular, consistent content.
• Engage directly with your users. You want to engage with your users by responding to their comments, posting information that’s useful to them, and encouraging their likes and shares. The more your users engage with you, the more your content will be viewed as being relevant to them. Remember: the more your users engage with your video content, the more likely they are to make a purchase or otherwise commit to your brand. This makes it even more important.
•Consider making live streaming video. Live streaming video is still boosted on Facebook. You can live stream events, short business updates, and simply things that occur to you. All of these can improve engagement by giving your users more of an insight into how your business operates and how effective your products and services can be. For additional engagement, start your live streaming during times that your audience is most active.
• Don’t forget about the mechanical aspects. In order to be engaging, Facebook videos should usually be only about a minute long; most users are going to stop watching after a minute or so. Facebook videos should also be at around a 16:9 aspect for best viewing. Remember that most Facebook videos are viewed on “mute,” so you should include captions on your video content — or post video that is compelling with or without sound.
• Try to hook your users early on. Your users are very likely to stop watching in the first few seconds of the video. The first few seconds tell them whether they want to view it or not. Your video bounce rate could be used to demote your video, as it won’t be seen as interesting or engaging. Encourage your users to watch for longer than a few seconds and you’ll be able to boost your posts as well as increase individual engagement.
Creating useful content is still one of the best ways to engage users through Facebook video, and it also stands a good chance of being shared off the platform by users as well. Useful content is content that is specific to your user demographics, not overly promotional, concise, and creative.
Facebook, Google — they are always constantly changing. Whether you’re trying to refine your video marketing for SEO or you’re trying to maintain your news feed visibility, it’s important that you are knowledgeable about the new industry standards. Though these changes can seem tumultuous, they also give marketers opportunities to improve their strategies and defeat the competition.
Article by Joe Forte, co-owner and producer at D-Mak Productions, a professional film and video production company based in Arizona.