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 Link
The 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 Vertical
People 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 Focus
Obviously, 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 Thumbnails
There’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 Text
Most 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 Copy
Every 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 Down
Finding 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
If you want a schedule that is more pertinent to your audience, dig into your analytics and do a little experimenting and you’ll find the posting window that is best for you specifically.
8. Get Your Timing Dow — oh wait, I used that for the last one
Figuring out the optimum length of a Facebook video is another area where you’re basically just going to have to experiment and study your analytics to see what length of video gets the best engagement. Facebook’s internal analytics are extremely helpful here, telling you how long people watched your video for. If the majority of people watch up to the 30 second mark and then there is a steep drop off, you’ve got your answer.
Common sense would say keep it short, but try some different lengths and see. As we’ve discussed before, for animated explainer videos, right around the one minute mark seems to work best, but you should always aim for clarity regardless of length.
9. Embed Your Facebook Videos on Your Site
Not everyone is going to engage with your brand on Facebook. Some of them will do it on your website, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be privy to your Facebook video. The native Facebook video player makes it possible to like and share embedded Facebook videos right from your site.
10. Go Live
Facebook Live doesn’t just give you a more immediate and direct connection with your audience, it also gives your non-live content an engagement boost, too. Plus, since Facebook automatically records and publishes your Live streaming video after you’re done, you get the added benefit of that without having to do any extra work.
If your brand doesn’t lend itself well to live video, you’ll just have to brainstorm, experiment, brainstorm some more, experiment and throw a few things at the wall to see what’s sticky. While spontaneity is great, you should put some planning into it and make sure you announce it so people know when you’re going live ahead of time.
11. Tag Intelligently
Tag anyone who is related to your video in some way. If they worked on the video, if they’re mentioned in the video or even if they just inspired it. Let them know why you tagged them if it’s not obvious. People are more likely to share and like a video they’re tagged in. Don’t tag a bunch of people who weren’t involved in the video at all. That’s just tacky.
12. Specify a Featured and a Cover Video
You can specify a featured video for the top of your “Videos” tab, which you can find out how to do here, and some brands can now make a video their cover photo … which would make it a cover video, we guess. Since both of these types of video autoplay, they will help capture attention of visitors to your page.
13. Organize Playlists
An ideal video marketing strategy will see your brand uploading different types of videos on a regular basis. Maybe a how-to video on Mondays, an FAQ answer on Wednesdays and a short, live Q&A on Fridays, for example. In order to make your videos more organized and searchable, arrange them into playlists on your “Videos” tab.
You can organize by subject, show type, week, month, however would make the most sense. An organized “Videos” tab looks better and helps visitors discover more of your content easily.
14. Promote Videos with Ads
You can boost video posts or create specific video ads that point people back to the videos you’re promoting. You’ll of course want to target these ads so they’re being seen by the right people. Facebook allows you to get extremely specific with your targeting.
15. Don’t Forget the Call-to-Action
Whether it’s in the form of copy in your description or a mid-roll CTA, which Wistia found to work best for converting, always include a strong CTA that tells viewers exactly what you’d like them to do next. Even if it’s sharing the video they’re watching, that’s an unambiguous action you’re asking them to take, so it counts. And, in fact, 48% of watch time for Facebook videos is the direct result of shares, so it’s a good CTA to include. Whatever your CTA is, don’t leave people guessing what the next step is. Let them know and encourage them to take that step.
Follow along with these 15 steps to getting longer view times on your Facebook videos and you’ll increase your video view time on internet’s main social media platform. If you are looking for a killer Facebook ad ideas, just click here to download The Ultimate List of Facebook Video Ad Ideas and learn the same video ad secrets that businesses just like yours have used to generate 158+ MILLION views on autopilot with zero advertising costs.