Video has always been a highly engaging part of the Facebook experience.
But how many pages have included video in their digital strategy? Who goes live on Facebook? What's the ideal video length for greater engagement?
Today, we're excited to share this brand new research with you as well as proven best practices on how your business can create video content for Facebook that both engages, and converts.
Within this study, more than 9 million Facebook posts were analyzed from 25-page categories with the goal of understanding how brands are using Facebook video marketing to promote their business and drive conversations.
Let's dive in ⇣
Table of contents
B. Key findings
Vertical videos outperform landscape video in engagement for all page sizes
3.1. What types of pages are publishing vertical videos?
3.2. Top 25 pages categories that are creating vertical videos on Facebook
Reading this study, you'll discover:
- How Facebook video format evolved over time across all page sizes - we reveal what type of video format generates higher engagement on Facebook.
- How often brands are posting videos on Facebook - we discover what size of pages publish more videos on Facebook and which page category is more active.
- The most used video format for all page sizes. - we explore what type of video format leads to higher engagement on Facebook.
- The use of live videos compared with the pre-recorded ones - this section reveals what type of businesses are more eager to go live on Facebook and what's the ideal live video length for better engagement.
- Number of words for video descriptions and the impact on engagement - we discover the ideal video description length on Facebook.
Here's a sweet taste of what's in this report:
- Facebook video hasn't reached its saturation point. There is a clear indication that brands started using more videos to promote their business. Video marketing appears steadily on the rise, increasing by two percent from 2017 to 2018, and showing no signs of slowing down in 2019.
- Vertical videos outperform landscape videos in engagement for all page sizes. Despite a decrease of 13% in landscape videos (16:9) in 2018, vertical videos obtained a greater engagement compared to the other formats (landscape and square).
- The optimal video length for better engagement across all pages sizes is between 2 and 5 minutes for uploaded videos. Engaging people's attention for more than 1 minute presents more difficulties, but a duration included in a range from 2 to 5 minutes stimulates the intent and repeated viewership from the audience.
- Only 11% of brands go live. Even though people spend 3x as much time watching a live video than a pre-recorded one, only 11% of brands go live, and businesses such as Political, Radio, News & Media, TV, and Entrepreneur pages are more likely to go live. It has a significant impact on engagement. This is especially true for pages with a smaller audience, which can see their engagement rate doubled.
- 300-word video description has the highest average number of interactions. The words you are using affect the engagement, but it has been shown that using questions in captions has no significant influence on the engagement rate. A length of more than 300 characters brings more engagement.
No time? Here's a PDF version of this study so you can read the Facebook video metrics later on 👇
It is beyond any doubt that the introduction of video format had a significant impact on social media. Many people think that businesses should embrace this type of content, as it would be in their best interest to improve communication with potential clients.
Before starting to analyze the data from one of the most popular social media platforms - Facebook, it is important to have a clear understanding of the evolution of its content formats and which content is currently successful.
A survey conducted by Hubspot shows that in 2018 about 81% of businesses have been using videos for marketing purposes. And with good reasons: Wordstream reports that social videos obtain around 1200% more shares if compared with image and text content combined.
According to the data from our research, this trend is not going to deflate anytime soon.
Facebook video marketing appears steadily on the rise, increasing by two percent from 2017 to 2018, and showing no signs of slowing down in 2019.
Facebook video content includes both videos uploaded to the network and live streaming videos.
Back in 2006, people were already talking about the "year of the video". However, the latest statistics evidence that video never really stopped growing, and that in fact it will continue: perhaps surprisingly, it still hasn't reached its saturation point.
Pages from the TV Channel, Broadcasting & Media, TV Network and Media/News categories appear more eager to create video content for Facebook, which is easily understandable given their domain activity - more than four video posts per week.
On the other hand, brands from categories such as Health, Beauty, Product/Service, Clothing or Food & Beverage are at the bottom of the list, producing less video content than the average - 1.58 video post per week.
Overall, the median across all categories has been 2.49 posts per week.
Many businesses believe the way to increase reach and engagement on Facebook is to increase the volume of posts. However, more volume is not really the answer to beat Facebook's algorithms. Rather, strive to publish fewer posts and focus on getting higher ROI on each individual post.*
My recommended content type ratio on Facebook is 70% video posts, 20% image posts and only 10% link posts. Video and image posts can still include links and CTAs.
Plus, take full advantage of regular Facebook Live broadcasts (once a week is great!), along with testing Facebook's New Release and Premiere features which both allow you to upload videos and 'air' as if live.
I'd also love to see more businesses and brands utilizing the Watch Party feature -- this is a great way to gain additional visibility from content you've already published."
Mari Smith, Premier Facebook Marketing Expert & Social Media Thought Leader
The introduction of IGTV by Instagram, almost a year ago, had an almost revolutionary effect on the world of social media, changing the way people create videos for these platforms.
This, of course, did not fail to affect the video format on Facebook. Despite a decrease of 13% in landscape videos (16:9) in 2018, vertical videos obtained a greater engagement compared to the other formats (landscape and square).
Even if the square format was the most used video format on Facebook increased by 12% in 2018 and already hitting a growth with 8% more videos in 2019, vertical format brings higher rates when it comes to engagement.
This may also relate to a rise in the demand for Stories. Vertical videos appear to impact significantly on the number of people watching a video, on the duration of the viewings, and on the willingness of the public to engage with it.
Vertical videos outperform landscape video in engagement for all page sizes with a median across all pages sizes of 0.25%.
Now that we discussed the impulse given by Instagram and Facebook Stories to the rise of vertical videos, it is time to take into consideration how brands embraced this trend.
The data from our research evidence that in 2018 the brands with a smaller Facebook audience (fan count smaller than 10,000 fans) created more vertical videos, with an increase of 4% compared to the previous year (2017) and continue this trend.
The median for engagement across pages with less than 10,000 fans has been 0.95%.
Pages scoring between 10,000 and 100,000 Facebook fans published 3% fewer landscape videos during 2018 and started to create more vertical videos instead.
The median for video engagement across pages with a fan count 10,000 and 100,000 is 0.29%
Opposite to pages with a smaller audience, pages with more than 100,000 fans continue to create landscape videos which bring to a lower engagement rate than the median.
They created with 4% more landscape videos in 2018 compared with the previous year.
The median for video engagement across pages with more than 100k fans is 0.11%.
According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10h 24' per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.
Mobile content consumption appears exponentially increased, with smartphones alone accounting for 65% of total digital usage, increasing from the 62% obtained in the first quarter of 2018.
Users engage more with vertical videos, rather than with square or landscape formats, and accordingly brands started creating more tailored content.
Based on our research, here are top page categories creating vertical videos:
4. The optimal video length for better engagement across all pages sizes is between 2 and 5 minutes for uploaded videos
Recently, Facebook changed the algorithm for video formats, and they follow these three factors:
- Loyalty and intent: intent and repeat viewership are important factors for ranking videos to people in News Feed.
- Video and viewing duration: it's important to ensure that videos capture viewers' attention for at least one minute.
- Originality: content posted to Facebook should offer unique value to its audiences.
As we discovered, considering engagement across all page sizes the optimal length for uploaded videos is between 2 and 5 minutes.
As it may appear obvious, engaging people's attention for more than 1 minute presents more difficulties, but a duration included in a range from 2 to 5 minutes stimulates the intent and repeated viewership from the audience.
The median across pages with an audience smaller than 10,000 fans is 0.88%.
The median for pages with a Facebook audience between 10,000 and 100,000 fans is around 0.28%.
The median for pages with a broader audience on Facebook (more than 100,000 fans) is 0.11%.
One of the best things you can do to boost your video's results is quite simply uploading it directly on Facebook - no third-party tools involved for this task.
It will mean you'll get a video that plays automatically as people scroll their feeds (so make sure to make the first few seconds as compelling as possible in order to get them to stop scrolling and watch) and a video that the Facebook algorithm can see which will, in turn, help you reach a wider audience and generate more engagement.
Lilach Bullock - Content Marketing & Social Media Specialist
According to our research, these are top page categories, ordered by the respective video length:
Although Facebook live has been shown to be a fun, creative, and powerful way to connect with the audience, it appears that brands didn't follow the trend.
As a matter of fact, only 11% of brands go live, despite evidence suggesting that people spend 3x as much time watching a live video than a pre-recorded one.
The success of live videos is clear. Our data underline how small pages (pages with an audience smaller than 10,000 fans) can double their engagement through live videos rather than the uploaded ones.
In contrast, pages with a broader audience (counting more than 100,000 fans) appear to get the same engagement rate with live and with uploaded videos.
Before going live, there are some tips to keep in mind:
- build anticipation by letting your audience know when you will be going live with a written post;
- check your WiFi connection before going live;
- ask viewers to subscribe to live notifications;
- greet your commenters using their name, and reply to their comments live;
- consider broadcasting for longer periods of time, to reach more people.
Our analysis of the top 25 Facebook page categories shows that Political, Radio, News & Media and Entrepreneur pages are more likely to go live on Facebook, compared with Home&Garden or Food&Beverage pages:
Our data indicate that descriptions longer than 300 characters are associated with more engagement.
The advice here is to go creative with words and to base the communication on branding guidelines and tone of voice.
We also considered the hypothesis of how using questions in video descriptions influences the engagement for video.
Only 16% of the posts in our database (which accounts for more than 9,000,000 of videos) are using questions; given the significant number of posts analyzed, this evens out statistically.
To identify the best strategy for video content on Facebook, we analyzed more than 9,036,594 of video posts from a total of 92k business pages.
Within this report, we provide a representative sample of national and international brands which had an active presence on Facebook between 2014 and March 2019. These pages had Facebook fan counts between 5,000 and 1 million as of the same date.
We define engagement as measurable interaction on Facebook posts, including likes, comments, and reactions. Engagement rate is calculated based on all these interactions divided by the total follower count.
The Facebook data were analyzed based on two verticals - page size and page category.
A wide range of pages was included in this video content analysis with 25 pages categories, starting with Politician / Political Party, Artist, Video Creator, Political Organization, Clothing (Brand), Entrepreneur, Musician/Band, Community, Food & Beverage Company, Product/Service, Public Figure, Health/Beauty, Government Organization, Nonprofit, Organization, Education, Consulting Agency, Arts & Entertainment, Company, Shopping & Retail, Community Organization, Local & Travel, Website, Personal Blog, TV Show, Website, Interest, Retail Company, Society & Culture Website, App Page, Author, Blogger, Education Website, Media/News Company, News & Media Website, Recreation & Sports Website, Media, Entertainment Website, Radio Station, Cars, Publisher, Travel Agency, TV Channel, Health & Wellness Website, Sports Team, Sports League, Magazine, TV Network, Home & Garden Website, Broadcasting & Media Production Company, Newspaper. We chose these categories based on their video content frequency, while we excluded the pages which published on average less than 0.33% video posts per week.
We used Socialinsider to find out the engagement rates, the frequency of posting, post types, video length, and to analyze the performance of native video content compared with live streaming.