One of the most important metrics for Facebook video is watch time. You don’t just want people to watch your video, you want them to watch the whole thing. In a busy world with a ton of competing content, that’s not always easy. But, there are ways you can increase the chances of your audience’s watch time. The good news is; it’s easy to do. The bad news is … wait, there is no bad news. Let’s get started, shall we? Here are 15 ways to increase watch time on your Facebook videos.
1. Upload Videos Directly to Facebook Instead of Sharing a LinkThe subhead basically says it all. In retrospect, I guess I should’ve made it shorter and explained it more in depth here in the body of the post. Here are some statistics: A Quintly study from 2017 found that on average, videos uploaded straight to Facebook received a 477% higher share rate and generated 530% more comments than a shared YouTube link. If you’re currently cross posting on multiple sites by uploading to YouTube and then simply sharing the link, it’s worth the extra time to upload to Facebook separately.
2. Make Videos Square or VerticalPeople love convenience and hate putting effort in. That means even something like turning their phone from vertical to horizontal can be too much for them to do. You can take advantage of this innate human laziness by making videos that don’t require people to rotate their phones 90 degrees. Square Facebook videos get more shares, views and engagement and they reach more people — especially on mobile — than their horizontal counterparts, according to this comprehensive Buffer study on the subject. Facebook itself announced in early 2017 that it was improving the vertical video watching experience for users. Some experimentation is in order.
3. Make Shareable Videos Your FocusObviously, if it were up to a company, all their videos would be shared all the time. But, you can increase the chances of your videos being shared by focusing on content that is more likely to be shared. According to Buzzsumo, who analyzed 100 million Facebook videos, the ones with the most engagement are entertaining, humorous, professionally done and offer value. Also: food. Turns out the fastest way to your audience’s heart is through their stomach. Of particular interest to Facebook users is how-to videos and videos that offer any kind of useful tips. (And food.) Storytelling obviously plays a big role in shareable video. Try creating a story with your brand by supporting a cause or finding something your audience is passionate about and starting a conversation about that. Anything with some human interest and that’s uplifting is sure to get people clicking the “Share” button. (Also food.)
4. Focus on Intros and ThumbnailsThere’s no room for slow starts with Facebook videos. You’ve gotta hit the viewer with something as soon as the video starts to keep them watching (no, not your logo). An interesting camera angle, bold imagery, anything that will grab their attention. If you’re telling a story, you don’t need to start at the start. You can start near the climax, go back and fill the rest of the story in, and then end off with the actual climax. Do what ya gotta do to keep interest piqued. And don’t forget an interesting thumbnail. Never forget the thumbnail.
5. Include TextMost people watch videos without sound and prefer to not have sound on autoplaying videos, particularly ads. In addition to that, captioned videos have a 12% advantage in watch time over non-captioned videos. Include captions. That way, even if people are watching your video with the sound off (and they probably are), they’ll know exactly what’s going on and will be more likely to share the video. Also, you should just include captions to make your videos accessible to everyone.
6. Enhance the CopyEvery video upload comes with the opportunity to add some text.
- Title: Make it descriptive, searchable and compelling.
- Preview text: Use keywords to summarize what your video is about.
- Description: Use more keywords to add information about your video and encourage shares and comments.
7. Get Your Timing DownFinding the right time to share videos on Facebook is a fine art … just kidding. It’s kind of a guessing game. But, several outlets have tackled the question of when to post. CoSchedule compiled a bunch of these studies and found the quick answer to the question of when to post is:
- 1–4 p.m. late into the week and on weekends.
- Saturday and Sunday at 12–1 pm
- Thursday and Friday at 1–4 pm
- Wednesday at 3 pm