Optimizing Facebook video is easy (if you read this)

Tug McTighe | July 27, 2016

So we all know how important video is in today’s complex, fragmented marketing landscape, but do we know how to best use its power? It’s not like the old days (read: 1998), when you thought up a TV spot or campaign, shot and edited it and then put it on the air. In fact, it’s wholly different.

Facebook generates more than 8 billion video views a day, and video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photos. An Adobe study showed that shoppers who view videos are 1.8 times more likely to purchase than nonviewers. Here are some things to think about as you work to make the most of the videos you create and post on Facebook.

    1. Have a really good idea. As a copywriter, I will never, ever, ever give up the notion that killer ideas do just that—they kill. They are emotional, they’re funny, they connect, they make people feel something. This is always where you need to start. If you don’t think you have it, keep pushing.
    2. Start with an arresting visual. You have less than two seconds to grab someone’s attention before they scroll on by. Make your opening dramatic, funny or heartfelt. No matter what you do, give the viewer something they can lean in on. It can be a technique or a stunning visual composition or something else entirely. Bottom line, don’t mail this one in.
    3. Use text overlays. Again, music to my ears as a copywriter. But seriously, since 85% of Facebook video views happen with the sound off, you need to utilize on-screen text to tell the viewer what’s going on in case they never hear it. We made this Westar Energy video to tell its story visually, with text and graphics that zip around and catch your eye, while still reinforcing the message.


  1. Create a seamless call to action. This will depend on the goal of your video. If your goal is awareness, these other tips will have you covered. If it’s a click-through or sign-up, make sure the video leads to this naturally. Don’t forget: you’re still telling a story; you just want the user to supply the ending.
  2. Make the logo bigger. Ok, don’t actually do that, make it an appropriate size, but in cases where the story isn’t necessarily about the product or service, consider keeping a watermark persistent through the length of your video.
  3. Test various lengths of video. Completion rates are very low on Facebook, so 10-13-second bursts can be extremely effective, especially when awareness is the goal. All videos don’t have to be super-short, but be aware of the Great Social Gulf. Sometimes there’s a big chasm between short (up to 30 seconds) and long videos (anything over two minutes). This recent study from Google tested different lengths of video to see what viewers liked best. Both surprising and not surprising, it shows that if you can try a couple of things to see what works best, you should.
  4. Remember that nothing is ever done. We recently made a few changes to the end graphic of some of our videos to give the viewer a different landing page/experience. This is a little detail, but it could have a huge impact on our client’s business.

So, does it work? We think so, and the numbers reflect it. Here are some results we’ve garnered for another one of our clients. This 15-second video was microtargeted to a very specific audience and it delivered the right message at the right time to the right people:


Bottom line, video is consumed differently today than it was when we were all making 30-second spots. Try to remember that these are no longer the days of making a thing, running a thing and then forgetting about the thing. We can do better for our clients and ourselves by taking an iterative approach to creating cool stuff. Now stop reading this and go make something great.


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