Since September of this year Facebook has been quietly testing an easier way to watch video shared by friends, without having to touch play or start the video. Facebook’s latest innovation as reported to the Facebook PMD partners this week has been leading to a 10% increase in the number of people who watch videos in the News Feed.
The News Feed is the most valuable piece of real estate on the web and in marketing and companies are struggling with how to optimize the native advertising they put I the News Feed.
Brands must not be too obtrusive because it creates negative brand sentiment, but they want people to be influenced- it’s a delicate balance. It’s only recently that bandwidth on mobile devices (i.e 4G) has emerged with high enough capacity to make video a viable alternative to photos. High mobile bandwidth will start to proliferate in the end of 2014 making video more widespread.
The video test facebook has underway is an upcoming movie .There are some key features to these videos:
- Content plays as the video appears on the News Feed – no action required by the viewer. This video plays without sounds. If you don’t want to watch it you just scroll past it, if you want to hear the sound you need to tap on it and enable sound.
- At the end of the video a carousel showing two more videos shows up for people who want to engage further
- For mobile the videos will only download when there is WiFi connectivity for now – saving people data charges and not restricting bandwidth
This could be a very interesting advertising product in the coming six months – we’ll continue to keep an eye on it and give you more news, so check back on the blog or sign up to get updates automatically via email.
Buzzfeed saw referrals from Facebook go up by 855% over the last month. Many people were wondering why. The answer lies in a change to the algorithm that determines what goes up on user’s newsfeed and timelines. Facebook has decided to make links (especially to news sites and items) more heavily weighted in the EdgeRank algorithm. This means more people will see links to news items in their timeline. Brands can use this knowledge to maximize results on Facebook.
What does this mean for businesses trying to optimize Facebook impressions? Your PR, new releases and blogs – basically your timely and valuable content will be even more precious now. Facebook is migrating from baby pictures and puppy videos to a place where people can gather more useful information. You need to take advantage of this change immediately.
Bad news for business on Facebook
More brands are putting up Facebook pages, which means individuals will like more and more brand pages. As more pages are liked competition goes up for how much information can be consumed by a single person. That means brands are facing declining odds that their posts will be seen. Competition comes not just from more brands but also average friend count is increasing so businesses are competing with more friends and more brands to get on the News Feed.
Facebook creates a personalized Newspaper
From Facebook directly:
“To make peoples’ News Feeds read like a personalized newspaper curated by the family, friends, and businesses they care about we continually prioritize content based on a variety of factors including (but not limited to):
- The number of times they engage with that friend or brand Page posting a piece of content
- The number of likes, shares and comments a post has created”
Brands can create a Facebook strategy based on these changes
Capturing user-generated content that is fun, unique and sharable is what brands should strive for. If you can make it easy for a person to post on their own newsfeed with a brand association that will have the greatest impact on your brand impressions – the product placement on Facebook. If you can add a link to relevant content on your blog or website you will have a highly optimized post.
The key is to come up with a creative way of getting people to like, comment and share a picture or video of one of your guests directly on their own page. The key is not just reaching people who are already your fans on Facebook but expanding out to capture people who are not your fans. You can do this by capturing them at live events, and adding links to posts you create for your guests so their friends have a reason to now like your brand, and read your content.
Keep in mind that anything you can do to get in a users news feed is the Holy Grail over 90% of US Smartphone users check the News Feed at least once a day. To get that very valuable product placement on Facebook that’s where you need to be.