In my last article, I wrote about how video is becoming everything everyone talks about these days. At least on social media. And the ones who know how to use it properly and to their own advantage, are the ones running the conversation.
Gone are the days of sharing songs and funny videos from Youtube. Today, everyone is a content creator, or wants to be one, but I’ll talk about that some other time. Since Facebook users are the ones creating their own content instead of sharing other people’s content, Facebook recognized this and moved native videos to the top of the news feed pyramid.
When I say native videos, I’m talking about the videos you take on your phone or your camera and upload directly to Facebook without uploading them to Youtube or Vimeo or any other streaming service.
But why should a simple Facebook user care about this? Well, they shouldn’t and probably won’t. But just because this change hasn’t disrupted an average Facebook user’s life, there are many people out there who’ve been affected by it.
I’m talking about social media marketers of course. While before it was enough to post catchy statuses, a few photos and share videos from your website, it’s not enough anymore. Social media marketers had to turn their whole strategy towards posting more video. They had to learn how to create their content in a form of video. They had to learn how to transform their existing content into videos acceptable by Facebook’s news feed.
And there are so many opportunities out there, but they all lead to Facebook.
Facebook is smart. By doing this, it’s slowly gaining the advantage over Youtube and Vimeo. Youtube doesn’t have as great of an UX as Facebook does.
Youtube is not a place where you will discuss videos with people. Yes, there are comments. But on Facebook, you can send the video to your mum/friend/boyfriend/sister directly and discuss it right then and there. Youtube will never be Facebook and Facebook is well aware of its position.
Just recently, Facebook announced Facebook Journalism Project and committed to working more closely with the media industry and developing products for journalism, such as new storytelling products, training & tools for journalists, helping with eyewitness media and helping to reduce fake news.
On February 17th, Facebook invited a few media companies to talk about content and their plans for 2017, which was a part of Facebook’s initiative mentioned above. Video was the number one topic. According to DigiDay,
Facebook is said to be looking for scripted and unscripted serialized shows focusing on entertainment and sports — and it’s looking to put these shows inside the video tab on its mobile app as well as its upcoming connected TV app.
If video wasn’t Facebook’s favourite already, it sure became one now.
It’s pretty clear Facebook is trying to establish a monopoly, trying to become a huge hybrid, a combination of Google, Youtube and the best of what social media has to offer. It’s scary, but it seems to be the future. There has been a lot of articles out there talking about how Facebook is trying to become the WeChat of the West. If you’re not familiar with WeChat, make sure you watch this video.
It’s basically one app that controls everything. You only need WeChat to order your food, make doctor’s appointments, send messages to your friends, pay your bills… No need to leave the app, everything gets done through WeChat only. It seems like Facebook is on its way to do something similar.
What this all means is that if you want your video to be successful on Facebook, you’ll have more luck if you upload your files to Facebook.
Facebook videos vs Youtube videos
PROS of videos uploaded directly to Facebook:
- native videos are more visually appealing
- videos uploaded directly to Facebook autoplay
- the thumbnails are bigger
- people scroll through their news feeds more often than on Youtube, which means more people are likely to see your video
- they get more comments and shares than a Youtube video -> higher engagement
- you’re not redirected to Youtube when you want to see a video, it plays directly through Facebook – especially useful if you’re browsing on your mobile devices
- you can tag people in the video, increasing the reach
- your video will sooner go viral on Facebook than on Youtube
A great example of a video going viral
- I just discovered a really cool new feature on Facebook. When you’re watching a video in your News Feed, you can keep scrolling and the video will stay put in the upper left corner of your browser, or you can move it wherever you like. Every multitasker’s dream!
CONS of videos uploaded directly to Facebook:
- once the dust settles, it gets very complicated to find the video again. Facebook search is still not as powerful as Youtube’s
- it’s difficult to share your video outside of Facebook. You can embed it in your posts and share its URL, but it’s not as versatile as Youtube linking.
- Youtube videos are better for your SEO, as they appear in the Google search results too, and you can link them to all of your social media profiles, increasing your online presence.
- if you’re trying to build a community around your videos only, you’re only posting videos and blogs, Youtube is still the king when it comes to building a video persona. While on Facebook, the fame lasts for a few days, months and then people just leave elsewhere.
In the end it really depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your videos, but if it’s engagement you’re looking for, Facebook should be your first choice, mainly because Facebook prefers native videos and it will rank them higher in the news feed.
How to post to get the best result:
- Even before you have the video ready, make sure you’re filming in landscape mode. There is nothing worse than portrait videos!
- Once your video is ready, if there is a lot of spoken word in it – create captions. If you need help – here is a guide on how to do it quickly.
- Upload your video.
- Prepare a custom thumbnail if you don’t like the one generated by Facebook. Add some text to it to catch more attention!
- Come up with a catchy title for your video.
- Upload your subtitles in the Captions tab.
- And publish.
So if your target group is on Facebook, and your goal is to reach people on Facebook, and you don’t care about any other social media, then you should upload your videos directly to Facebook and forget about everything else.
If you care about other social media, and you have a following on Youtube, it’s probably a better idea to post your videos to Youtube and upload them to Facebook directly and get the best out of both worlds. Uploading them to Facebook directly will get you a higher reach on Facebook, and having them on Youtube will allow you to share them on your other social media profiles as well.
FV Player now supports sharing on Facebook
Good news for our FV player users, if you are self-hosting your videos and you’re using the MP4 format, you will be able to allow your audience to share your videos to Facebook directly. The previous functionality allowed you only to share a link to the page with the video. Now the video will be on the users wall, where everyone can see it immediately.
This is a good alternative to uploading directly on Facebook, as it allows bigger thumbnails, but you can have it on your website instead on Facebook.