Video consumption, creation and publishing have rapidly multiplied, challenging brands to be responsive to the fast-changing landscape. Last year saw a 32% rise in daily online video uploads compared to 2015. Our social feeds are brimming with videos galore, particularly Facebook, where publishers like Unilad and Buzzfeed saturate our news feed with content that entertains, educates and inspires us.
The need for small businesses and big brands alike to create their own video content is paramount, but this means nothing without a well-structured distribution strategy. As more of our clients start to realise the importance of social video and opt for their own slice of the pie, we want to get into the nitty-gritty of running multi-platform campaigns in a competitive digital environment.
Custom Video Lengths for Each Platform
Like we’ve said before, video isn’t one-size-fits-all. Every social media platform is unique and require different storytelling techniques. Take Adidas for example, who ran completely different versions of its latest video campaign, Unleash Your Creativity, on YouTube compared to Snapchat. Both pieces of content were reflective of each platform’s characteristics: the YouTube version was kept at the full length, while the Snapchat edit was cut to be shorter, snappier and more fast-paced.
Like Adidas, you should adjust the length of your video according to each social outlet. Here’s a platform-by-platform breakdown of best practices:
YouTube & Vimeo
YouTube and Vimeo were built with video at their core, making them the most popular for hosting full-length video content online. The default maximum length for videos on YouTube is 15 minutes, but this can be extended to up to 12 hours by verifying your channel. On Vimeo, things work a little differently. Rather than a length limit, users have a weekly upload quota dependent on their account membership level.
For some time, bitesize videos have reigned on Facebook, with publishers like The Telegraph and Buzzfeed’s Tasty channel giving rise to short-form content. But at the start of the year, Digiday reported that Facebook publishers have seen their short-form video views cut in half, as more creators “battle for space in the news feed”. Facebook’s video limit is now 120 minutes, a big jump from its previous 45-minute cap. Now that the platform is pushing for longer video content, videos that are 90 seconds or more will be ranked higher in the news feed. Therefore, think of Facebook as a secondary platform for hosting your full video; especially with its big push to becoming completely video-centric. Doing this will give your brand a better chance of being seen and maximise audience engagement and conversion.
Instagram and Snapchat
Instagram and Snapchat have fueled the demand for micro-video content of 15 seconds or less. Snapchat was built around 15-second video clips and thrives on ephemeral content, so if you plan to run your campaign here, keep your video edit short, snappy (excuse the pun) and to the point. The same goes for Instagram; research found that the average length of the top performing videos on Instagram are at most 15 seconds, although publishers can share up to 60 seconds of video. On Instagram, you can upload a teaser of your video campaign to your profile, create a video ad to appear in your target audience’s feeds or, more recently, in between their Stories. Ads on Stories get a maximum 15 seconds of run time, which, as we’ve found, is more than enough.
Twitter increased its video length last year from 30 seconds to, you guessed it, 140 seconds. Between its 140 character limit and the popular 6.5-second videos of it’s acquired app, Vine, bitesize content has always performed well on Twitter. Twitter audiences expect quick, digestible and easily shareable content, so we suggest sharing a short-form version of your content, using Twitter as a channel from which to drive traffic back to your main campaign.
Native Uploads vs Embedding
You’ve probably seen us float the term ‘native video’ around Facebook a few times, and what it means is video that is uploaded directly to a platform without embedding third-party links. But native video doesn't just apply to Facebook. Now that the majority of platforms (bar LinkedIn) support video uploads, the best way to coordinate your campaign on social media begins with uploading your video to each platform directly (or natively) as it’s better for engagement. Socialbakers found that native videos on Facebook get more reach than any other type of post with a 135% increase in organic reach, and Sprout Social suggests that native videos on Twitter drive 2.8x more retweets and 1.9x more likes that third-party players.
Titles, Descriptions, Tags and Calls To Action
Before you hit publish, you’ll need to do some housekeeping. Your video needs a title—to make it easily recognisable and searchable—a description—to summarise the content and tell the audience what to expect—and a call to action—to help maximise viewer conversion.
Treat your title like a newspaper headline: keep it clear, concise and reflective of the content. Your video’s title is its gateway, so it must capture your audience’s curiosity and encourage them to click to watch. You’ll have room to expand on the title in the description; use this to summarise your video, ideally picking the most important points that it covers.
Some platforms allow you to add ‘tags’, which are categories or terms used to make your video more searchable. Tags aren’t displayed once a video is uploaded, but rather help it to appear in search results for specific topics.
Regardless of the aim of your campaign, it’s essential to include a call to action link on all platforms. A good way to manage your CTAs across multiple channels is to create a Bitly link and use the same link in each of your posts.. ‘Bitlinks’ are shorter than regular URLs and are trackable, meaning they fit neatly into social posts—especially handy for Tweets, where space is limited—and allow you to see how much traffic each platform has generated.
Optimal Posting Times
There isn’t one universally good time to post on social media, but there are ways to find out the best days and times to distribute your campaign that are unique to your brand.
Instagram’s Business tools give brands more control over their marketing by providing them with built-in insights and analytics. As well as post insights, like engagement and reach, Instagram’s analytics show the days of the week that your community is most active and at which hours of the day. Naturally, the days and times that your followers are most active are the best times for you to post.
Buffer, a social media management and analytical tool, measures your optimal posting times for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn according to what you’ve shared and how much engagement those posts receive. The tool also allows you to schedule posts based on your optimal posting times, which can be extremely helpful when managing a campaign across multiple channels.
Having a clear social media strategy is crucial when it comes to sharing your content online and can help your campaign reach more of the right audience. Now that you’ve delved into the foundations of how to improve your campaign distribution, you’re ready to take your content to the next level in terms of connecting it with a social audience (find out how here).