Over the last few years, Facebook has quickly risen to become a powerhouse video destination, with its top ten publishers pulling in billions of viewers each month but just exactly why is that the case? Scientifically, is there a reason Facebook users, and even Instagram users, are attracted to video content when they’re on the site?
Facebook IQ recently conducted a study with some overseas users and found that they watched video content 5X more than any other content posted. Facebook’s study derives from a lab experiment where people’s eye movements and facial expressions were tracked as they scrolled through their personal feeds; this was followed up by interviews about the role video played in each participant’s’ life. The 114 participants were aged 18-30 and watched short-form (under ten minutes) online video content and ads at least once a month. Facebook IQ also enlisted Kantar Media to conduct a study of 1,999 people from two overseas countries who were over 18 years of age and who watched short-form video content monthly. The goal of this study was to try to gauge the content consumption of the participants and analyze related viewing trends.
Facebook claims five key factors have attributed to the increased popularity of online video viewing, which include “smartphones, shorter attention spans, binge-watching, the importance of context, and the thrill of novelty.” Taking all these into consideration, video publishers on the social platform (and its related photo- and video-sharing app Instagram) should consider the following strategies if they want to reach video watchers.
Focus on mobile content.
Most of the millennials in Facebook’s study prefer watching video content on mobile instead of on a desktop. Cater to this preference by developing mobile-optimized clips which users won’t be able to resist clicking on when the content shows up in their feeds.
Harness the power of Instagram.
Facebook IQ discovered that across all surveyed, video on Instagram resulted in 1.80x higher levels of joy than the same content posted on other platforms. Video publishers who want to incite action and brand loyalty should therefore consider posting more clips to their Instagram accounts.
Keep content short.
With shorter attention spans contributing to the rise of online video, video publishers need to make sure their own content on Facebook and Instagram is digestible and impactful, so that it not only captures the attention of users as they scroll through their feeds but also relays brand messaging or key points at the very beginning of the video.
Try new video formats.
Based on the idea that novelty is a key factor to online video’s growth and success, Facebook IQ suggests publishers experiment with new video formats. For example, the recent study of the overseas participants were found to look at 360-degree video 40% longer than regular video content; these respondents also reported a level of joy 1.40x higher than joy from standard video.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC