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Insights for a Video Strategy in 2021

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Video has always been a highly engaging part of the Facebook experience.

But how many pages have included video in their digital strategy? Who goes live on Facebook? What’s the ideal video length for greater engagement?

Over 3 million video posts answer your questions.

By making a comparison with the previous year, in 2021 there are four major changes worth to be taken into consideration by social media managers when developing a communication strategy:

  • live video’s usage has increased with 55%, from 12% to 18,6%
  • vertical videos are the most used format
  • captions shorter than 10 words drive greater engagement
  • videos assure a link click rate of 29, 82% for small accounts

By going even deeper into the matter, this research will unveil data-proven best practices on how your business can create video content for Facebook that both engages and converts.

We’ve joined our forces with Wave.video in order to see how brands are using Facebook video marketing to promote their business and drive conversations.

Here is what we learnt!⇣

Facebook Video Strategy in 2021

A. Summary

B. Key findings

1. Shorter captions combined with vertical videos have the potential of increasing engagement rates from 0.29% to 0.44%.

2. The usage of live videos has increased by 55% in 2021, reaching a percentage of 18,8% from the total Facebook videos.

3. Brands with less than 5 K followers get a link click rate of 29,82% when incorporating videos.

4. Only 15,8% of all Facebook content is video.

5. The optimal video length for better engagement is between 2 and 5 minutes.

6. Live videos that last over 1 hour increase engagement from 0.27% to 0.55%.

C. Methodology

A. Summary

Reading this study, you’ll discover:

  • How Facebook video format evolved over the last year – we reveal what type of video format is used more frequently on Facebook.
  • How often are brands posting videos on Facebook – we discover how often are videos posted and what size of pages publish more videos on Facebook.
  • The use of live videos compared with the pre-recorded ones – this section reveals what type of videos do brands prefer and the differences in results their strategy achieves.
  • The impact of video descriptions on engagement – we discover the ideal video description length on Facebook.How long your Facebook videos should be – we look at the length of live videos, as well as the length of pre-recorded ones

B. Key findings

Here’s a sweet taste of what’s in this report:

  • Brands started using more videos from year to year to promote their business.

Video marketing appears steadily on the rise, constantly increasing, and making up for over 15,8% of all Facebook content in 2021.

  • The optimal video length for better engagement across all pages sizes is between 2 and 5 minutes for uploaded videos.

Engaging people’s attention for an extended period of time can present difficulties, especially for bigger brand pages, but a video post of about 2 to 5 minutes stimulates the intent and repeated viewership from the audience.

Live videos, however, may determine different results.

  • Compared to 2020, it seems in 2021 there’s been a change and shorter video descriptions get more attention.

It’s not enough to have an amazing video. It’s also important how you communicate about it.

In such an emerging digital landscape, where we have Instagram, and TikTok and a bunch of other platforms, we have to be honest and admit Facebook is a great deal about ads these days.

And having its users loaded with it, it is only obvious why they want to save a bit of time and prefer shorter captions. If that is your next move, as a brand, you should know that captions up to ten words are actually the best shot at increasing your engagement up to a 0.44%.

  • For generating the most engagement, brands have adapted their approach to the user’s needs in 2021 and started to use vertical videos the most, as they drive better results.

We saw that last year the vertical video format was the best choice in terms of engagement, but for some reason brands seemed pretty reluctant to use it, preferring the landscape mode instead.

Now, the vertical format is continuing its reign and a nice surprise was the fact that today businesses understand the importance of adapting to fan’s needs and turn to this video format more often.

And, as a reward, the engagement rate turned to the roof, reaching a peek of 1.02% in March 2021.

  • The usage of live videos has increased with 55% compared to 2021, reaching a percentage of 18,8% of the total Facebook videos.

Even though people respond better to live videos, brands are still reluctant to go live.

When it comes to smaller Facebook pages, however, live videos can double engagement – especially the longer ones.

  • The usage of videos for brands with less than 5 K followers assures a link click rate of 29,82%.

Since Instagram is a bit restrictive about the presence of links, when it comes to advertising, Facebook is the number one platform to go to.

And because video posts are the ones that generate the highest link clicks rate across all profile sizes, among all the types of posts available, increasing traffic and sales opportunities, it is certainly the recommended go-to type of content for 2021.

No time? Here’s a PDF version of this study so you can read the Facebook video metrics later on 👇

Facebook’s video usage is increasing, reaching a percentage of 15,8% in 2021

It is beyond any doubt that the introduction of video format had a significant impact on social media.

Many people think that businesses should embrace this type of content, as it would be in their best interest to improve communication with potential clients.

And the data shows that this is exactly what is happening. Video has always been on the rise. Slowly, but surely, more and more brands choose this type of post year by year.

This is what Mari Smith, Facebook expert says about Facebook videos.

Compared to last year’s metrics, which indicated a usage of 12%, it becomes clear that Facebook video marketing appears steadily on the rise, in 2021 reaching values up to 15,8%.

This chart presents in what percentage each type of post is distributed on Facebook.

  • Bigger accounts of over 100 K fans published 67% of the videos

Bigger accounts, typically owned by bigger brands, are posting the majority of Facebook video content – 67%.

Thi chart presents what's the usage of Facebook videos on the platform, divided by mutplie account sizes.

From the sea of video content out there, it is mostly divided as follows:

  • the smallest pages (up to 5 K fans) contribute with 4,9% of the total video that’s on the platform
  • accounts between 5-10K followers contribute with a slightly lesser number, a percentage of 4.3%.
  • bigger pages, between 10-50K followers own 14,7% of video posts
  • accounts with fandom larger than 100K followers publish only 8% of all Facebook video content.

One plausible reasoning for this division has to do with the differences in resources available to brands.

This is a quote from Dorien Morin van-Dam (community manager) about Facebook videos.

2. Vertical videos with description lengths of less than 10 words can raise engagement rates from 0.29% to 0.44%

Before starting to analyze the data from one of the most popular social media platforms – Facebook, it is important to have a clear understanding of the evolution of its content formats and which content is currently successful.

This is Dorien Morin van-Dam's (community manager) quote about Facebook videos.

If you’re looking to get the most out of your content, there are a few decisions you need to make before you even press “Record”:

  • What is this video about?
  • What format works best?
  • How long should I record?

To better understand the impact of each and every one of these decisions, we turn to data. 🤓👇

  • Vertical videos versus landscape videos engagement on Facebook

This graphic presents the usage volution of different Facebook videos formats

If in 2020, landscape was the format most used by brands, this year comes with a change and while this one drops in popularity, the vertical mode experienced a surprising rise, reaching a peak in March 2021.

Given the fact that last time, vertical videos were still the ones that brought the most engagement, it looks like businesses did a great job at adapting their communication strategy on Facebook to align with their audience’s needs.

Now, let’s see where things stand in terms of engagement in 2021.

Here's a representation of the engagement gained by every Facebook video format.

From a glance, it seems vertical video holds even now its supremacy of the most engaging format.

Depending on the account’s size, this type of video is the one that can generate an average engagement rate between 0.4% and up to 2.2%, as in the case of small profiles.

Which we have to say, is huge in terms of Facebook stats.

This is the quote of Chase Chappell quote relating Facebook videos.

  • Opposite to last year’s trends, in 2021 shorter descriptions draw in more people

Data shows that it’s not always enough to create a great video.

The amount of work put into a great video results in nothing if people don’t press play or engage with it.

This graphic shows the average engagement by caption lengths of Facebook videos.

If last year longer descriptions were a thing, in 2021 you should consider pairing your videos with shorter captions, since those seem to perform better.

Actually, a video description of less than 10 words can raise the engagement of your video posts to an average of 0.44%.

3. The optimal video length for better engagement is between 2 and 5 minutes

When it comes to video, Facebook looks at three factors:

  • Loyalty and intent: intent and repeat viewership are important factors for ranking videos to people in News Feed.
  • Video and viewing duration: it’s important to ensure that videos capture viewers’ attention for at least one minute.
  • Originality: content posted to Facebook should offer unique value to its audiences.

The question now becomes: how long can I actually keep my audience engaged and when does the video stop being interesting?

As we discovered, considering engagement across all page sizes, the optimal length for uploaded videos remains the same as for the previous year, which is between 2 – 5 minutes.

This particular length is supposed to stimulate the intent and repeated viewership from the audience the most.

This charts shows what's the optimal video duration for Facebook videos.

The size of the brand page can also influence how their audience reacts to the brand posts.

We saw that two major length segments seem to be preferred by users

  • between 5 – 10 minutes:  especially for those accounts with a following under 5K followers
  • between 10 – 20 minutes: for profiles between 5 – 50K fans

The secret of these video posts may be their initial release as a live video, this particular technique being a golden ticket in terms of engagement, as we’ll see later on.

Typically, smaller pages have fewer fans, but they tend to be more willing to interact and feel a stronger connection with the brand. This means that it’s easier to keep them engaged for longer periods of time.

This is thq quote of Anne Popolizo, a Facebook Ads expert, related to Facebook viodes

4. Videos on Facebook assure a link click rate of 29,82% for small accounts.

Despite having Instagram as the platform most preferred by brands due to its capacity of generating the higher levels of engagement, when talking about ads and pay per click platforms, Facebook remains number one.

Also, given the huge impact of video marketing these days, it is very important to know how link clicks perform for this type of content, compared to all the other ones.

Here you can see what's the average Link clicks rate for Facebook videos.

Given its more entertaining nature and power of presenting more information in a short period of time, videos are the ones that generate a higher link clicks rate, across all profile sizes.

They are majorly beneficial especially for small accounts, which are responsible for the happening of 29,82% of the total link clicks.

Whether it’s an ad or a simple post, just imagine the traffic increase potential and possible conversions and sales, just by adding more videos into your content plan for Facebook.

5. Live videos are on the rise as well, increasing its usage with 55% since 2020

Pre-recorded videos make up for 81.13% of the published videos, while live videos consist of only 18,87% – there’s still an increase of 55% compared to 2020.

This image shows the usage of live videos on Facebook.

This decision might have its explanation in the fact that it’s much “safer” to produce and edit a video, giving you full control over what you want to include or exclude from a recording.

Here you can see a comparison of engagement between live Facebook videos and pre-recorded ones.

But in reality, people are just not as interested in over-polished content. It’s no secret that authenticity is the best strategy.

While you can still retain some authentic traits in pre-recorded videos, a brand gains personality during live videos with real people.

As proof, live videos get double the engagement.

This is a quote from Mari Smith related to Facebook videos.

6. Live videos that last over one hour increase engagement from 0.27% to 0.55%

Digging a little deeper into live videos, it becomes obvious that in this case more is more, regardless of the size of your brand page.

As opposed to pre-recorded videos, live videos have the power of retention over a longer period of time.

Here's a representation of the engagement gained depending on the average duration of Facebook videos.

Lives that last over one hour will generate an average engagement rate of 0.55%, regardless of the size of your Facebook page.

This is a quote of Veronica Gentili - a Facebook marketing expert about Facebook videos.

To identify the best strategy for video content on Facebook, we analyzed more than 3,977,401 of video posts from a total of 503,175 business pages.

Within this report, we provide a representative sample of US and international brands that had an active presence on Facebook between May 2020 and May 2021. These pages had Facebook fan counts between 1,000 and over 100K as of the same date.

We define engagement as measurable interaction on Facebook posts, including likes, comments, and reactions. The engagement rate is calculated based on all these interactions divided by the total follower count.

The Facebook data was also analyzed based on page size, defined by the total number of fans that liked the business pages from the Socialinsider database.

We used Socialinsider to find out the engagement rates, the frequency of posting, post types, video length, and to analyze the performance of native video content compared with live streaming.

Discover which Facebook videos perform best on your page!

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