What Facebook’s new video hub means for PR pros

Communicators who have long relied on YouTube for sharing their brands’ content have a new choice with intriguing features.

The battle for video dominance is heating up.

Facebook recently announced the launch of its dedicated video hub, which could alter the way YouTube segments are posted and viewed on Facebook. This change brings new benefits and implications for PR pros who have relied on YouTube for sharing their brands’ video content.

What are Facebook’s new video enhancements?

Though the hub hasn’t officially launched yet, Facebook has released details of the plan. For each user, the video repository will include clips from Facebook friends, pages they follow and other video publishers. The space will be similar to YouTube, but with Facebook as a primary hosting platform.

Other features include:

  • Suggested videos based on user preferences and history

  • Ability to watch clips in a smaller window while scrolling through regular a newsfeed

  • New video formats

The number of segments viewed on Facebook has doubled since April. Mark Zuckerberg’s empire reports an average of eight billion video views per day and predicts it will be mostly video in a few years.

However, critics assert that Facebook’s three-second definition of a “view” is cheating, because it includes recordings on mute that play automatically when users scroll through their newsfeeds.

How should brands use native video on Facebook?

To enhance content marketing strategies, consider these tips for producing successful Facebook videos:

1. (Bite) size matters.

It seems the world is full of “news snackers”; people who scroll quickly through content and move on in a matter of seconds. Facebook users are no different. They prefer short and snappy videos. The average length of videos shared by six top Facebook publishers this past September ranged from 25 to 90 seconds. Keep your videos clear, concise and compelling .

2. Keep the square screen in mind.

According to Buzzfeed, 75 percent of its top-viewed Facebook videos in a month were square. That’s because viewers didn’t want to reposition their phones in order to watch a short clip. When producing video for Facebook, remember the square screen, which might mean you have to create multiple formats and versions of your video for specific channels.

3. Quiet is good.

Users scrolling on Facebook won’t hear the audio contained in your video. Make sure your visuals are exciting enough to catch their eye. If the pictures are lacking, add graphics and easy-to-read subtitles to bolster your message.

(Find more advice on these tactics in 5 Tips for Producing Great Video.)

As Facebook enhances its video presence, don’t ditch your YouTube strategy. Each of these entities serves a different purpose and has the potential to achieve discrete goals. YouTube will continue to be a great hosting site for sharing video on other platforms. Facebook’s sharing ability to directly reach its many millions of users remains unmatched.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

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