With fast mobile internet connection speeds and more powerful mobile devices, videos have become increasingly important for business owners and marketers trying to spread their message to a target audience. However, the fact that people are watching more videos on mobile devices affects the kinds of videos they want to watch. Because of this, Facebook is introducing some changes to make it easier to give consumers what they want.
For decades, people have predominantly watched video content on screens that were rectangular and oriented horizontally. This made sense for movies and televisions because it allowed for more expansive shots in TV and movies, and made it easier for multiple people to watch the same screen. But with smarthphones and tablets, people watch their rectangular screens with a vertical orientation, because it’s easier to hold a device in one hand if it’s held vertically.
This change in the way that people choose to watch video media is starting to affect the way that smart business owners and marketers produce videoes for consumers. According to testing on horizontal and vertical videos by Facebook, “seven of the 10 tests showed that vertical video ads drove an incremental increase in brand lift, including a three- to nine-point increase in ad recall.”
To encourage more people to shoot their videos with mobile audiences in mind, Facebook is introducing new larger video areas to accomodate vertically oriented videos within the News Feed. According to Facebook, the larger vertical video format in News Feeds are now visible to everyone in the Facebook app.
Facebook has also added a larger vertical video format to other apps and surfaces, including Instagram, Facebook Live and the channel view on Facebook. This means there will be a lot of places where business owners can improve their online marketing by with the new video format.
Another upcoming change that should help video marketing on Facebook involves sound. In the past, videos on Facebook started on silent and then played the sound once the user clicked on the video. This worked well enough, but it had the potential to obscure information from viewers who didn’t click the sound until several seconds into the video. Similarly, if the video uses the best part of their marketing copy at the start of the video, the old silent method on Facebook could lead to audiences missing important information.
Though the change to allow audio at the beginning of videos may be a little controversial at first, Facebook has done testing that suggests people would be happy and better served by having videos automatically play with sound.
According to Facebook, “Early data from the countries where we are testing this experience show that 70% of video watch time, including video ads, is with sound on. The majority of people we surveyed felt positive about the experience, and we have seen increases in watch time and sharing where sound on was introduced. Over the coming months, people will start to see videos play with sound in News Feed on mobile if the volume on their phone is turned on.”
Facebook clearly sees the value of video marketing for businesses and brands of all sizes. And if they intend to keep up with the juggernaut that is YouTube when it comes to video marketing, Facebook needs to make changes like these to help their platform stand out as more than just a place for social media posts. It’s not clear how well these changes can accomplish that goal, but the situation creates great opportunities for business owners and marketers.
For more news about marketing, read this article on research on the effectiveness of search ads in influencing consumer behavior.