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Is Facebook Video Dead?

As a marketing manager and content director, you can imagine my email gets flooded with social media marketing emails. Normally, I might take a quick peek if the subject headline is engaging, but about 75% of the time, I exit after reading the overview. However, there was an email that did peak my interest. Glaring at me was an interesting title.  ‘Is Facebook Dead?’ Knowing that Facebook now lives and breathes video, it made me click through. When I saw that one of my favorite social media marketing sources, Social Media Examiner, was cutting loose three of their long-form Facebook video series, I was shocked. Why?

Why we are stopping Facebook video…

We just canceled three of our weekly video shows on Facebook (including The Journey). Watch as I explain why. – Mike

Posted by Social Media Examiner on Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Now, ironically, we wrote a post last week about the importance of video in your holiday campaigns. I absolutely do not take that back. Depending on your audience, your content, your message, and story – longer videos can absolutely work. But only in these very specific cases. Social Media Examiner evaluated and analyzed their data, and ultimately came to the conclusion that their audience retention rates were plummeting. Furthermore, due to Facebook’s algorithm change, their content wasn’t being distributed to a majority of their audience. (In case you didn’t know, if Facebook recognizes that your content isn’t generating engagement and interactions, they deem it as not relevant and won’t show it to as many people.) Social Media Examiner decided to keep one of their shows and distribute it through YouTube instead of Facebook.

Short Form vs. Long Term Videos

Short-Form Video is considered anything less than 2 minutes. There are a few benefits to short form videos on social media:

  • They cater to people with short attention spans. Shorter form content = higher completion rates. Higher completion rates are the percentage of people who watch the videos through to the end.
  • They’re great for providing a little sneak peek of longer-form content.
  • Allow you to make quick announcements.
  • Easier for your audience to recall and remember

Long-Form Video is typically any video more than 2 minutes. Though short-form video has its benefits, there are a few advantages to using long-term video:

  • You can take your time telling a story to create an emotional connection with your audience. In a Google video ad experiment, in-depth storytelling creates “a more meaningful connection to the brand.” Instead of just creating brand awareness, a longer story may be necessary to persuade people to change how they think about your brand, your industry, and how your products or services fit into their daily lives.
  • Educating your audience can be helpful at different points of the customer journey. For example, before and after they’ve bought a product. (in-person interviews, product reviews, or demos)

A study from Locowise points to attention spans  rapidly decreasing. As of 2017, they’re as short as 10 seconds.

However, Hootsuite has revealed that their team regularly tests longer videos on Facebook. Their data shows audiences have longer attention spans on Facebook, and as previously mentioned, its algorithm favors valuable content that people talk about and come back to, which can often mean longer and more substantial content, as opposed to short, snackable video content.

So this begs the question: which is better for your business? Well, it depends on a few factors. Data is showing that people have shorter attention spans, however, they’re willing to consume longer content if it does something for them. If it entertains, makes them laugh, forces them to think, teaches them something, or if it evokes an emotion, long-form content can work. But it has to have at least one of those elements, otherwise, your video efforts will be a wasted effort.

What You Can Do to Make Video Work for Your Business

There are quite a few ways video can truly help your brand make an impact. But there are a secret mix of ingredients you must have in order to drive the results you’re looking for:

Talk to your customers. Understanding the questions your customers have, how they use your product or service, their pain points and challenges, and what they’re looking for from your brand will help mold stories you can tell through video. It starts with a simple conversation.

Map out stories. From your conversations with your customers, you’ll be able to brainstorm campaign ideas. Which challenges do you wish to highlight? Where can you pull stories? What is a common theme among the customers you’ve interviewed? What words stood out? This might be a good place to enlist the help of a creative agency or team.

Decide where your videos will live. Will you push your videos on Facebook, YouTube, or both?

Identify a budget. You’re going to need a budget for your video production. It’s an investment in your marketing and is absolutely essential. Next, you’re going to want to define a budget for promoting your campaign. What good is a killer video campaign if no one sees it?

Hire the right people. Finding the right people to help bring your story to life is just as important as the story itself. Make sure you’ve got a team with a great reputation, and a portfolio that reflects the style you’re looking for.

So is Facebook video dead? No – but it’s definitely shifting. Consumers want a deeper experience that makes them feel something. If you can accomplish this, your brand will soar to new heights.