For all the buzz around new product and technology announcements at the F8 Facebook Developer Conference, one statement made in the session titled "The Future of Video on Facebook" stood out most: Nearly half (48%) of all video watch time on Facebook is directly attributed to content that is shared.
People share content because it connects them to others, and audiences are becoming increasingly adept at noticing inauthentic content. Yet many video marketers still find themselves beholden to marketing briefs and checklists, causing content to lose the vibrant essence of what makes it shareable. Losing shareability means losing a large chunk of your potential audience.
With the filter of shareability in mind, here are three lessons marketers can take away from F8 to make truly compelling video:
1. Shareability is a key driver of video performance
Kristen Jones, product marketing manager for Facebook, gave a presentation on advertising best practices that boiled down to a simple truth: Content at the right time, in the right place and for the right person performs best.
While it sounds easy, this path requires a mindset shift away from marketing cycles rooted in the reliance on big-bet, tentpole programming. Instead, consider reallocating resources to focus on a persistent flow of shareable content and let Facebook's comprehensive data tools go to work.
For example, Facebook necessitates that each ad placement contain a single business objective. Given that, content should be singular in purpose to maximize each objective. Unique objectives should be set for each stage of the funnel, with funnels designed for each audience target. This approach requires a scaled content production strategy as well as purposeful determination of media strategy on Facebook, prior to content creation.
Simplifying goals per content asset provides the creative latitude that allows storytelling to become reality. More importantly, you will be able to achieve your business objectives because, now uncluttered, your video will resonate more with viewers who actually watch, enjoy and share your content.
2. There is a sweet spot for content segmentation
If you spend too much marketing money on a limited amount of "safe bets," you create a risk-averse atmosphere and never tap into the mind of the consumer; this content doesn't get shared because it's bland. Conversely, hyper-targeting can lead to content too narrow in appeal to be worth sharing, not to mention creating problems with measurement. The ideal for content segmentation is somewhere between the safe bets and one-to-one messaging. In a market where shareability is heavily influencing watch time, identifying the sweet spot will require an iterative content strategy.
Content that performs better on Facebook rates higher on Facebook's internal Relevance Score. Why is that important? High-relevance scoring drives down the cost of ads in the Facebook auction. Facebook wants a good experience for its users, and thus rewards brands that create quality content with a purpose. Facebook's launch of video search will further reward those that build a library of high-performing content.
3. Facebook is quickly becoming a video platform
Facebook introduced its 10-year roadmap at F8, and with it came a bevy of new tools to help marketers create video content native to Facebook. The big announcements were around 360-video, virtual reality and live video, with Facebook launching APIs for live video and even an open-source VR camera.
In these three areas -- where norms have not yet been established -- brands should experiment to create immersive, engaging social experiences. These video technologies lend themselves to exciting moments, visceral desires and big ideas: for live video, it's about tapping into the "fear of missing out" and giving people behind-the-scenes or front-row access; for VR and 360-video, it's about creating immersive audio-visual experiences. Measurement and best practices will come, but for now, focus on what we know works best on video -- creating an experience that people will want to share.