The number one competitor to YouTube for video sharing is, undoubtedly, Facebook™. In fact, there are estimates made by various specialists that soon enough more than half of the entire internet traffic at global level will be taken up by videos. And why not? Videos are instructive or entertaining, and they allow even people who do not understand the spoken language get the gist of the content.
For this reason, video represents an important proportion of the Facebook™ content mix for many companies. It is not difficult to create an interesting video these days. A smartphone, a video editing app and you’re done. But why don’t people watch your videos until the end? If your page analytics indicates that viewers stop watching halfway through your videos, there may be a problem. The same goes if you have a low count on video views compared to other types of content.
Presuming that your videos are well made and cover interesting topics, here are the top ways in which you can increase the overall video watch time on Facebook™:
- Opt for Portrait (Square) Video Format
Just like photos, videos can have two formats: portrait or square, and landscape or rectangle. Videos should be made square. According to research conducted by Buffer, square videos perform better, both on desktops and on mobile phones, but significantly better on the latter.
Here is the reason why: the Facebook™ mobile app displays square videos on 78% of the screen surface. By comparison, landscape videos are displayed in the centre of the screen, with spaces left at the top and the bottom. Also, Facebook™ displays portrait video thumbnails in a larger size compared to landscape videos.
- Select the Best Thumbnail Frame
What people see first in the thumbnail determines whether they want to watch the video or not. Please remember that Facebook™ users can opt to disable the autoplay feature of videos, both on the browser and in the mobile app. This makes the thumbnail of the video extremely important.
Alternatively, you can upload a customised thumbnail – a separate photo file which will be replaced with the actual video when people click or tap on it. Whatever option you choose, make sure that the thumbnail is catchy and relevant, and that it makes people curious to watch your videos.
- Opt for Native Facebook™ Upload
For many marketers, it is more convenient to upload their videos on YouTube and then share them across all the other social media channels. However, this will not give you clear insights on how well your videos perform on Facebook™. Plus, users prefer to watch native videos, especially on the mobile app, because they do not want to be taken to a new platform and interrupt their news feed browsing.
- Add Captions to Your Videos
Most Facebook™ users watch videos with the sound turned off. They are either commuting or taking their lunch break and they do not want to disturb other people. No matter the reason, this is a fact, also demonstrated by Buffer.
This is where captions prove extremely useful: they help viewers understand what you want to show them, especially key points when you speak to them. These captions help the viewer move along the video and, if they find it interesting enough, put on their ear buds and turn on the sound.
- Determine the Ideal Length for Your Videos
The average watch time of your videos is a very valuable metric. It helps you understand how much time viewers are willing to spend watching your videos on Facebook™. Thus, you can start creating videos which fit your followers’ demands, making sure that they watch them until the end.