This article was originally published in the spring issue of Inspired, The Magazine.
A picture is worth a thousand words; well, in 2020, a video is worth a thousand pictures. In the digital age, competition is fierce and it is becoming harder to get noticed. Meanwhile, as attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter, the social networks target longer retention rates and will significantly reward posts that keep users on their platform for the longest time. So, how do you create content that both the networks and users will value?
First, we need to consider what platform you are posting on. Facebook and Instagram now have an in-feed limit of one minute; if your content is longer than this, the aforementioned platforms sort it into their longer format section of the platform, such as Facebook Watch or IGTV. This means your content needs to be engaging enough to first get through the three second user swipe but also keep their attention for 60 seconds. Not to mention, it should motivate them to click through to the full video. That’s not an easy task. Plus, the network wants a “like” and a comment to really give the content a boost in the algorithm.
On YouTube, video engagement is evaluated but more importantly, so is the watch time. Videos less than ten minutes long might have a high view count but won’t do as well in the ranking algorithm, because they aren’t keeping the viewer on their platform long enough. All of the networks are competing to keep the user on their platform for the longest amount of time. So, where do we begin?
“Content is king” harbors a great deal of truth; the most important thing is the content itself and finding the right platform for said content. The process of taking one piece of content and cutting it up in different ways to reuse, recycle and refine for different platforms is called ‘hero content’, and it’s a great way of maximizing the value from your productions.
For longer tutorial content, leverage YouTube as it places value on the longer format content and watch time. However, your first ten seconds need to get to the point to keep someone watching. Your title and thumbnail are also very important. Think about how you scroll through the YouTube recommended screen; the title and thumbnail is what you see first and based on that you decide if you want to watch the video. Small considerations add up when pushing out your content.
For Instagram, it’s best to crop your video square; it’s going to be short, without an intro, and completely covered by music. It’s best to show the project first so people know what they are looking at, and it captures their attention in the first three seconds (the average time taken to swipe up a page and make a decision to view).
Facebook videos should have the same snappy first three seconds, but you are at liberty to take a little bit more time on the video—adding in some text, voiceovers and music. Note, there is a higher conversion from feed to Facebook Watch than Instagram to IGTV views.
Before you jump in to strategizing how to increase visibility for your content, consider the following: Avoid linking your YouTube video on your Facebook wall. Unless the post is sales based, Facebook does not cater to outside content links. Also, whenever you insert a link in a post, don’t leave the preview picture up there; instead, add a nice thumbnail. Even if it’s the same as the thumbnail Facebook would have chosen, your post will do better as the platform see’s original content, more on that in a future article.
The key to increasing video content engagement is having a well-rounded strategy per each platform on which you plan to release your content. Take the extra time to research platform algorithms to ensure your video content gets the visibility it deserves.
Make sure to check out this story and other pieces from Inspired, The Magazine here.
Alexandra is an award-winning blogger, influencer, industry consultant and content production expert; the Hedgehog Hollow has multiple award-winning platforms, award-winning subscription box and video production studios. Previously in global business and banking she has bought her expertise to the craft industry doubling in size every she started.