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A Quick Guide to Visual Marketing on Facebook for 2016

To understand what Facebook visuals can do for your digital marketing, think back to summer 2014: the season of the Ice Bucket Challenge. The ALS Association launched a campaign to raise awareness of the disease by challenging people to pour buckets of ice water on their heads, post videos of it on Facebook, and challenge someone else to do the same. You may recall wildly entertaining videos of Oprah, Donald Trump, George W. Bush, and Justin Bieber completing the challenge.

That seemingly silly concept brilliantly leveraged the power of Facebook video, and the results were anything but laughable. The Ice Bucket Challenge got 17 million videos from 159 countries, 70 billion views, and $220 million in donations. The videos reached about 440 million people. Now guess how much the entire campaign cost? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. And that, friends, is why Facebook video marketing is the new black.

Our prediction is that 2016 will be the year of the video. Visual marketing is the wave of the future, and Facebook is the DeLorean that will get you there. Below, we explain how and why marketers are channeling their efforts into video and what the best practices are for Facebook video marketing.

A Quick Guide to Visual Marketing on Facebook for 2016

Video Is taking over the Internet

In case you’ve been living in an underground bunker without Wi-Fi for the last few years, you should know that video and the Internet are rapidly becoming synonymous. In fact, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, video will account for 80 percent of all Internet traffic by 2019.

The fact that millennials grow more and more disenchanted with traditional TV watching every year may have something to do with that. According to Nielsen, between September and January of 2014,traditional TV usage among viewers 18 to 34 plummeted 10.6 percent. Prior to that, traditional TV viewing had only been falling by about four percent per year.

In light of this new reality, about half of all advertisers are reprioritizing their budgets to reallocate funds from TV to digital video. The shuffling of priorities is a tacit acknowledgement that advertisers have to relocate to where their audiences’ eyes increasingly are — watching videos on Facebook.

Why Facebook?

So, you might say, “Yes, online video is a beautiful, engaging, effective, and cheap way to tell my brand’s story, but why Facebook? What’s wrong with good old YouTube?” Facebook is uniquely positioned to get your video maximum exposure. Consider this: natively uploaded videos on Facebook get 52 times more views than do links to YouTube according to GetResponse. Even more impressive, Facebook recently surpassed YouTube for the most desktop video views per month. As of November 2015, Facebook gets about eight billion video views per day — four billion more than in April of 2015.

The reason is Facebook’s new algorithm, which favors content uploaded natively over links. Additionally, Facebook has a new feature that auto-plays videos in users’ news feeds as they scroll through them. Initially, they play muted, but users can tap the video to have it play in full-screen mode with sound. As a bonus, your Facebook video will have view counts — public videos from pages and people now display view counts to help users find them. You also have access to a host of metrics for video insights:

Facebook Visual Marketing
Image via Facebook

Best Practices for Facebook Visual and Video Marketing

Before we delve into the specifics, remember that, like with SEO and SEM, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions on the Internet. Online marketing is a dynamic landscape that necessarily requires trial and error, so experiment with Facebook video until you find a winning approach. Keep in mind that, for a video interaction to count as a “view” by Facebook standards, a user needs to watch for at least three seconds. Of course, you want to set the bar higher than that, but three seconds is your baseline.

Here are some tips for uploading videos to Facebook:
  • Facebook accepts almost all formats but recommends MP4
  • Resolutions should be 1080 pixels or lower. For the best quality, upload high-definition video.
  • Facebook can accommodate video files as large as 1.75 GB, but videos of that size may take longer to upload depending on your Internet connection
  • Facebook recommends Stereo AAC audio compression with 128kbps or more
  • The video has to be less than 45 minutes long, but the length that’s ideal for completion rates is 22 seconds according to SocialBakers

Creating engaging Facebook videos

Use these guidelines to get the best response to your video:

  • Emphasize quality from the start. One of the benefits of Facebook video marketing is that they don’t have to be professional, but quality still matters. Users are more likely to remember and share a well-produced video that plays well on any device.
  • Tell a story silently and with sound. Remember that videos will automatically play in feeds without sound, so it’s up to your images to get the user’s attention. Try leading with brand or product imagery in the first few seconds.
  • Offer exclusive content. Upload native videos to your Facebook page that your audience can’t get anywhere else.
  • Create context. Feature an important quote or salient moment from your video as the text portion of your post.

Including a call to action

Your video’s call to action is your chance to send viewers where you want them to go or do what you want them to do. Once you’ve uploaded your video, you can click “Add Call to Action.” Your choices include: learn more, download, shop now, watch more, sign up, and book now.

Visual Marketing
Image via Facebook

On the screen you see above, you’ll add the URL that you want viewers to visit. The title and description fields are optional. If you find a call to action is underperforming and want to change it later, you can do so in the “Edit Video” menu.

The instant gratification the Internet offers has made us an impatient, visual lot. The modern day user has the attention span of a fruit fly, so the hope that people will read long articles about your brand is long gone. Even a small blurb of text can’t compete with the instant appeal of visual content. Facebook has cashed in on that principle, and now you have the tools to do the same.

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