Video Consumption on Facebook and Instagram

Innovation within cinema and video has always attracted attention. In recent history, we’ve gone from the dawn of the multiplex theater all the way to streaming and Netflix. According to data from Facebook, it seems social media videos have caught our attention, as well.

It’s time marketers started paying attention, too.

Big Numbers

A report from Facebook that studied 1,500 people in the US and Canada aged 18–64 shows some staggering video consumption numbers. It states:

“Over the last year on a global scale, daily watch time for Facebook Live broadcasts has quadrupled and time spent watching video on Instagram has increased by 80%. And this growth seems likely to continue: 45% of people surveyed in the US and Canada told us they expect to consume even more video on their smartphones in the future, and Cisco predicts that by 2020, over 75% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video.”

Community Engagement

It’s tempting to say that this increase is strictly due to the convenience of smartphones, but Facebook says otherwise. Its research indicates that “on-the-go entertainment” is a factor, but it’s not the whole story. Rather, people surveyed said video on Facebook and Instagram allows them to take part in a community, offers relevant content and engages them.

Interestingly, despite convenience and ease of use being factors, 85% of people surveyed said they watch Facebook mobile video in the home, and 84% of people surveyed said they watch Instagram mobile video in the home. Presumably, at least some of these people had other entertainment options in the home.

Passive and Active Viewing

The report also looked at Facebook and Instagram video consumption in relation to traditional TV. The results are illuminating. Respondents overwhelmingly associated Facebook and Instagram videos with positive emotions compared to TV.

“…We found that people appeared to most strongly associate viewing mobile video on Facebook and Instagram with feeling happy,”

wrote Facebook.

It appears social video is more suited to leverage emotional connections than TV. Respondents were more likely to consume TV in a passive manner, saying it made them feel more relaxed than Facebook or Instagram. Part of this can be attributed to the ability to comment, like and generally interact in real time on social media — something TV lacks, perhaps, apart from live tweeting.

Just watching something on a mobile device might also play a role. Per the report, viewing content on a personal device that you carry around everywhere might create a stronger connection. Additionally, Facebook posits that seeing a video at a very close distance makes it more immersive, which could also result in a stronger connection.

The key takeaway is that social video is continuing to provide a more engaging experience than traditional media. Strong engagement makes it an ideal platform for content marketers.

If video content isn’t a regular part of your creative output, it’s time to start adding it to the mix. Here are a few things to consider:

1. For the People

Facebook calls for content marketers to create “for how people consume.” Consider that people are watching video throughout the day during their commutes, in public, at work and at home. Create tight videos that deliver your message within 15 seconds. With endless options, people will move onto the next thing if you don’t grab them immediately.

Additionally, make content that works in sound-off environments. Controversially, Facebook also suggests producing videos in a vertical format — even if it will make videographers cry.

“People watch videos casually and on the fly — and they rarely turn their phones sideways to do it.”

2. Talk, Talk

Another goal is to make people talk. Sure, anyone can put out a video, but for it to be really effective, it has to make an impression. People respond to Facebook and Instagram videos because they create conversation. So ask yourself, will this video be worthy of discussion?

3. Curated Content

Finally, people now expect a curated content experience. Take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s targeting options to deliver your content to the right people. Make them feel like you’re attuned to their unique tastes.

How are you mixing video with traditional content? Have you utilized Facebook Live or Instagram Stories? Let us know in the comments!

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