The Media Briefing
Facebook video usage has skyrocketed over the past year, which makes it particularly attractive for publishers given what seems to be ever-shrinking organic reach with other types of posts.
According to figures recently released by the social network, Facebook users are seeing nearly 4 times more video in their feeds compared to one year ago. That’s a steady 1 billion video views every day for the network. Crucially, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said during a an earnings call last month that over 65 percent of videos are watched on mobile devices.
As online video continues to rise in importance for the modern media company, I spoke to a handful of top publishers to collect some best practices for using video on Facebook, and to better understand what might be at risk.
The Economist: Marketing the brand with video
“For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”
Before posting videos to Facebook, The Economist had the fairly standard practice amongst news outlets of publishing video on its own website and monetising through pre-roll advertising. Last summer however, Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy, decided that wasn’t “a viable long-term video strategy”.
After effectively doubling the publication’s video views by posting video content to YouTube, Standage started experimenting with uploading videos via the native Facebook player, which had “a much greater impact” on the number of views. He says:
“We are using this observation that if you post videos with a native player you can get millions of views as the basis of a new video strategy which we are still developing. For us it’s about reach and informing people that The Economist doesn’t just write about finance and economics all the time.”
The Economist’s most successful video on Facebook was a 4 minute-long animated graphic with voice-over about demographics, what Standage calls a “live chart”. The publication has had over 800,000 views on Facebook alone of that video.