Guide: How to improve your Facebook video watch time and increase ROI

Guide - How to improve your Facebook video watch time and increase ROI

Introduction – Facebook video for businesses and marketers

Web content is not limited to text only anymore. People who click on websites are on the lookout for interesting pictures and videos. A video conveys your message more easily. It is also more attractive for the visitor. But even there, you are dealing with intense competition. The measure of your video’s quality is not just how many people watch it.

The challenge is in getting visitors to watch it for an extended amount of time. The amount of time spent by a visitor on a video is called video watch time. This metric is very important for your digital marketing efforts. You will also be able to create look-a-like audience (LLA) based on watch time, but this is a more advanced step, I’ll cover later.

So why do I really want to increase my video watch time?

Well, of course you want your visitors and potential customers to watch as much as possible of your ads and posts in general, but there are other ways of analysing this. On top of this, you should try and have a look at your relevancy score. The relevancy score is basically a score from 0-10 calculated by Facebooks advanced advertising algorithms, to give you a performance score, based on your campaign goal. The higher the relevancy score, the lower your CPM is, which will lead to higher ROAS etc.

However we covered CPM and relevancy score optimisation in another post, but you should improve your watch time because of these metrics:

  • More engaging audience with higher video watch time
  • Higher average watch = higher chance of commenting, liking, sharing etc
  • Create more LLA based on watch time (3 seconds, 10 seconds, top 90% viewed etc)

Video Watch Time Metrics

There are several ways by which you can measure the effectiveness of your videos. Let us look at some simple metrics that can help you.

  • Engagement:How well your video is received can be judged by how much engagement it generates. This could be in the form of shares, likes or comments. If someone watches your video and simply moves on, you have some things to improve. The more engage the better, unless it’s only people who comments that your product/services aren’t good, then you’ll have some work to do.
  • Watch Time:This is a simple measure of how much time a viewer spends on your video. A watch time of 10 seconds or more is a reasonable yardstick of success. Once you have got viewers past the first 10 seconds, they are likely to watch till the end. This tells you how important an impactful start is. On your facebook business manager, you’ll be able to compare amount of 3 seconds viewers as well as 10 second viewers. The closer this gets the better, in general. Try to get as much watch time as possible.
  • Viewership:Let us assume that you or your channel has 100 followers. If you can get at least 30 of them to click on your video, you are off to a good start. Once you have got the initial clicks, you can then measure the average video watch time.
  • Length:You must remember that attention spans are continuously decreasing. Before clicking on a video, a viewer is very likely to check how long it is. A longer than usual video usually puts off viewers even if the topic sounds interesting. If your video is more than 90 seconds long, people will usually not watch till the end.
  • Subscribers (followers):We spoke about engagement earlier. The engagement metrics can tell you how effective your videos are. You also get an idea of your engagement by the increase in subscribers of your video channels. A spike in the number of followers means that your videos are very engaging. Their engagement numbers are bringing in results. When you add new subscribers, you also get a chance to increase video watch times on your earlier videos.
  • Repeat Views:You can understand how well your videos are received by how many viewers come back again for your new video content. You can measure viewer retention of your Facebook videos in two ways. One is the absolute retention of your viewers as a direct comparison of numbers. The second is relative retention as a comparison of similar videos on Facebook.

Steps to Improve Your Facebook Video Watch Times

Now that you know what to measure, let us see some ways to improve those metrics. Some of these might be like a habit for you. But if not, then you need to follow those and get into the habit.

Check Your Settings:

Someone might love your Facebook video and feel like sharing it. But that might be impossible to do if your Facebook settings are not conducive. So you need to check if the ‘show only to friends’ is selected in your settings by default. Your good friends might point out to you if the settings are not right. But most viewers will just move on without bothering to share. Facebook has recently confirmed that Facebook Shares are directly responsible for 48% of watch time on Facebook videos.

Describe Crisply:

The decision on whether to watch a video or not often depends on the short description of your video. That will depend on how well your thumbnail describes what they are about to watch. Also, you need to ensure that the first 10 seconds of the video is topical, relevant, and aligned to the thumbnail.

Use Overlay Text:

Many people browse Facebook while at work or in a public space. That is why their page is often on mute. So if your video needs to grab attention, try keeping overlay text. That way they can make out what it is about even if they can’t hear anything. Just brief captions or short descriptions should be used. That way, you won’t cover the whole screen with text. Check out my previous post on how to make your own subtitles on your Facebook video ads.

Encourage Engagement:

A well-made video would make a viewer enjoy it. But the next step into doing what you want him/her to do might not happen. That is why the video should have something that would drive the viewer towards your goal. You could make a video that would initiate a discussion on something the likely viewer would find compelling. You could use humor or pathos to encourage the viewer to act. And you could have a poll at the end of the video. Anything that would keep the viewer engaged and move him towards your goal.

Fully Utilize The Option of Text:

Facebook videos also permit the uploader to add a short description of the video. Remember that this is your opportunity to make a precise pitch and set up the viewer with the right frame of mind to watch the video. Most viewers read the copy first before watching the video, so make use of the text to set it up well.

Time It Right:

You must have noticed what happens when you are unable to log on to Facebook for a full day. Lots of interesting posts get pushed down to the very bottom, and there is a chance of you missing out on them. This gives an indication of the sheer volume of the posts on Facebook. Some days, like weekends, are far busier than others. Many people browse Facebook quite late at night on weekdays. You need to post your video at a time when you think the maximum number of people would be online. You will find a lot of analytics around this on the internet showing their studies and observations about the best times to post on social media.

Stretch It Right:

We touched upon this earlier in this article. The video should be long enough to cover what you wish to cover. But it should be short enough to hold viewer attention. Don’t stretch the video to a length where the viewer finds it difficult to watch till the end. Generally speaking, a video of 90 to 120 seconds is considered the optimum length.

Go Live:

A useful new feature of Facebook is Facebook Live, which allows you to transmit a live stream of a video as it is being shot, as opposed to posting a video that has been shot earlier. If you need to post several videos, try making some of them under Facebook Live. This would give a feeling of immediacy and intimacy to your target viewers. Do not jump to the wrong conclusion that a Facebook Live video is visible on your Facebook profile only till the time you are recording it live. Facebook automatically saves copies of these live videos. They can be viewed by viewers at a later date as well.

Utilize Playlists:

Facebook does save all your uploaded videos in one place. That is the tab named Videos. But if you are someone who uploads videos very frequently, then that tab will soon become humongous. A potential viewer would most likely search by topic. If he doesn’t know the exact title of the video, searching by title might not yield correct results. In that case, he would have to shift manually. A much better idea is to create playlists according to some theme. It could be by date (like July 2018 Playlist). Or it could be by topic (like Home Recipes, Restaurant Meals, and Takeaway Food etc.). You can think creatively by putting yourself in the shoes of a potential viewer and name your playlists accordingly.

Avoid Links (sometimes):

Our surveys show us that people are wary of clicking on links found inside Facebook posts. This is because people are wary of losing their data or their confidentiality on a third party site. Even if it is a YouTube video, some people might avoid clicking on it. The best way to get engagement is to post videos directly on your Facebook profile. However if you’re running an ad to an e-commerce store or something similar, having a link might be a good way to increase CTR and traffic, make sure to test this out for your own business.

Choose appealing video thumbnail

Choosing an appealing video thumbnail is a quick and easy fix, to improve your video performance. This is the first-hand impression, right before the video starts, and by having a good/ interesting looking thumbnail, is a great way to improve watch time and encourage your audience to keep watching. However make sure to make it genuine and real and be transparent with your customers.

Advantages of Increased Facebook Video Watch Time (long-term)

We discussed how you can measure your Facebook video watch times, and then we discussed how you can improve the Facebook video watch times of your videos. Let us now look at some benefits this will bring you of increased Facebook video watch time in the long term. This is just 1 way of how you can analyse your Facebook data, but try to keep these things in mind when you create your new marketing/sales video, or whatever kind of video material you publish.

  • Better Retention:The message you are seeking to convey would be conveyed much better using a video than only by posting long copy or text. That way, your message will hit home better.
  • Visually Pleasing:You would want to convey your message in a way that the viewer finds interesting. The video is the perfect vehicle to achieve this purpose.
  • Display Brand:A text can describe your products, while a picture can show stills of your products to viewers. But if shot properly, a video can give you a great opportunity to show your product being used. That is a great way to attract buyers.

In case you haven’t done it yet, you need to start using videos to the best effect in your company’s or your own Facebook profile.

Pro tip: Make sure you use the right resolution and format to be optimised for mobile content as well. Using 1:1 aka square format or 4:3 can often lead to lower CPM. Yes, we have tested this 🤓💰

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