Tag: News and Trends

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

Does Vertical Video Make a Difference? We Spent $6,000 on Tests to Find Out

There has been much discussion recently on industry-leading publications about the effectiveness of video on social media.

For example, did you know that video posts on Facebook receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types?

Since our 2017 research with Animoto comparing square vs. landscape video, little has been published around the impact of video format on overall video engagement.

Specifically, vertical video vs. square video.

Vertical Video vs. Square Video

While we know that square video (1:1) results in 30-35 percent more video views and an 80-100 percent increase in engagement compared to landscape video (16:9), we wanted to know how vertical video stacks up on Instagram and Facebook (both within the News Feed and Stories).

Which is why we teamed up with our friends at Animoto once again to test (and test again) the hypothesis that vertical video would perform better than square video on social media.

We were shocked by the results!

Today we’re excited to share our research with you along with several actionable takeaways for marketers looking to improve their social media video marketing results in 2019.

Author’s Note: We’ll be talking a lot about great video marketing tools in this post. Our must-haves are Animoto’s iPhone app for vertical videos, Animoto’s web app for square videos, and Buffer for sharing. Feel free to grab a subscription from each before we get started.

Table of Contents

Below are the full details from our study on everything from our vertical video hypothesis to the surprising results! Here’s a quick look at what we’ll cover:

Let’s do this!

The vertical video and mobile hypothesis

This research idea with Animoto all came from one simple statistic: square video takes up 78% more real estate in a person’s mobile newsfeed than does landscape video – making square video more engaging, more effective, and easier to watch.

And since square video outperformed landscape video in almost every category, we hypothesized that vertical video would eclipse square in a brand new study.

But why is video – particularly mobile video – such an important part of your social media strategy?

According to a recent report from Nielsen, U.S. adults are spending 10 hours and 24 minutes per day interacting with media, whether that be watching, listening to, or reading content across all of their devices.

And shockingly, mobile phones (smartphones) alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage, up from 62% in Q1 2018:

Nielsen Media Usage 2019

As mobile usage continues to increase year-over-year, our social media and video marketing strategies must evolve along with the expanded use to focus on mobile-first experiences.

Sometimes that’s as simple as formatting the video to fit natively within the platform.

3 important video marketing takeaways

Video is leading the way with social media marketing and so we’re super excited to share this actionable research with you.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with data-backed ideas and insights that you can apply to your own videos today.

But first, a few key takeaways to set the study up!

1. Facebook News Feed: Use vertical video to drive traffic

In all of the experiments we conducted, we consistently found that vertical video outperformed square video within the Facebook News Feed. First let’s look at the cost per click (CPC) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per click (CPCs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per click (CPCs) 38 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video Cost Per CLick

Next, let’s take a look at the cost per view (CPV) comparison:

  • Buffer: Cost per view (CPVs) 68 percent less expensive with vertical video
  • Animoto: Cost per view (CPVs) 26 percent less expensive with vertical video

Square vs. Vertical Video - Cost Per View

Since the video tests (vertical vs. square) were identical in content, theme, length, headline, caption, and more, it came as quite the surprise that vertical video outperformed square by such a significant margin (as much as 68 percent less expensive in cost per view).

It’s also interesting to note that not only did vertical video outperform square in the Facebook News Feed, but Facebook outperformed Instagram in overall cost per click (CPC) within the feed. An important takeaway for advertisers.

Buffer averaged $0.29 CPC on Facebook and $0.51 CPC on Instagram. Animoto averaged $0.32 CPC on Facebook and $1.31 CPC on Instagram.

2. Instagram Feed vs. Stories: Stories are a great way to inspire action

When looking at the Instagram Feed vs. Stories, it became immediately clear that Instagram Stories are a great way to inspire people to take action. In both the case of Buffer and Animoto, Stories consistently reduced advertising costs in regards to cost per thousand impressions (CPM) and cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: Stories 57 percent less expensive for CPMs and CPCs than the feed
  • Buffer: Stories 50 percent less expensive for CPMs and 30 percent for CPCs than the feed

Cost per click (CPC) data:

Instagram Feed vs. Instagram Stories - Vertical Video

Cost per one thousand impressions (CPM) data:

Instagram Stories Vertical Video CPM

However, it’s important to note that costs actually increased with Stories compared to the feed when measuring cost per view (CPV):

  • Animoto: 108 percent more expensive on 3-second CPV and 65 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV
  • Buffer: 71 percent more expensive on CPV 3 seconds and 21 percent more expensive on 50% total watch time CPV

Instagram Stories Vertical Video - Cost Per View

As many of you savvy marketers might have guessed at this point, we witnessed a rise in cost per view as cost per click decreased.

We believe that this is largely due to the fact that it is hard to get people to watch your entire video or when they’re too busy taking action such as “swiping up” or clicking on a link.

Overall, Instagram Stories are a great way to get people to take action and a big opportunity for brands to utilize in 2019.

3. Instagram News Feed: Use vertical video to generate engagement

The final big takeaway from our research is that the Instagram Feed is a powerful platform for driving engagement when compared to Facebook (News Feed & Stories) and Instagram Stories… almost too good!

Reversing the Instagram Feed data from takeaway #2, you’ll notice that 3-second CPVs were 91 percent less expensive on average for Buffer and Animoto. In addition, 50 percent total watch time CPVs were 43 percent less expensive on average.

But which format drives more engagement within the Instagram Feed? Turns out it’s vertical video!

  • Animoto: Vertical video resulted in 13 percent more 3-second video views and 157 percent more 50% total watch time views
  • Buffer: Vertical video resulted in 6 percent more 3-second video views and 187 percent more 50% total watch time views

Instagram News Feed - Video View Stats

The practical takeaway here is that the Instagram Feed is a great way to boost awareness around your product and generate engagement.

Other key video marketing learnings

In addition to the three key learnings above, our research pointed to some other unexpected takeaways that you might be able to apply to your video marketing strategy.

1. Facebook marketing is alive and well

We’ve discussed the power of Facebook marketing (here and in previous studies) and found that it remains a viable way for brands and businesses to reach target audiences. Particularly, if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to drive traffic to your website.

In all of our tests, we found that Facebook consistently generated a lower CPC than its Instagram counterpart.

While Instagram was the most effective way to generate interactions and engagement in our tests, Facebook emerged as an extremely reliable way to drive traffic.

We’ve seen this hold true over the past two years at Buffer as well. Our most successful social media advertising campaign of all time – a campaign that is still running today – runs on the Facebook News Feed:

Facebook Advertising Results

This campaign has generated more than 169,000 link clicks and reached more than 1,500,000 people since launching in April 2017.

The best part is that it’s a super simple ad concept:

Buffer Facebook Ad Example

While brands and businesses flock to Instagram in 2019 in search of a new promising advertising platform, look for Facebook to continue to offer a low-cost, action-based alternative.

In terms of what type of content to create for Facebook, remember that, on average, video posts receive at least 59 percent more engagement than other post types.

2. Highly-produced “polished” video content doesn’t always win

One of the more interesting portions of our experiment revolved around testing what we called “organic” vs. “polished” video content.

  • Organic videos are what you would imagine as DIY-style. These videos didn’t include any B-roll, special effects, transitions, or other more produced elements. In other words, they looked like they were made by an amateur.
  • Polished videos are much more produced. These videos included studio lighting, B-roll, special effects, transitions, and other elements that give them a professional feel.

With our research, we wanted to know if spending more time, resources, and money on producing polished videos actually resulted in greater results than organic DIY videos.

We found that there was no statistically significant difference in the results.

In fact, in many cases, organic DIY videos outperformed polished videos on both Facebook and Instagram.

In collaboration with Animoto, Smarties ran their own experiments to test whether or not highly-produced video ads outperformed organic DIY video ads on Instagram Stories:

Their team found that organic DIY videos resulted in a 50 percent decrease in cost per 10-second video view on their highest performing ad. In their case, unpolished smartphone imagery was up to 2x more effective at capturing their viewer’s attention.

All of this to say that it’s more important to experiment with a variety of video types and formats than it is to work on perfecting a single video. The more video content you publish, the more feedback you’ll receive from your audience, and the quicker you’ll improve.

3. Instagram Stories ads one of the biggest opportunities in 2019

As a result of this experiment, we see Instagram Stories as one of the biggest opportunities for brands and businesses in 2019. It’s why we built a tool called Stories Creator dedicated to helping brands create thumb-stopping Stories content.

And though Instagram Stories now has an incredible 500 million people around the world using the channel on a daily basis, it remains a relatively untapped advertising resource.

“Right now, one of the interesting things about Stories is there’s a benefit to being an early adopter… the pricing is really attractive. And so we think the mix shift to Stories is a big opportunity for us. And it’s going to take time to continue to get advertisers in, but we’re very happy with demand to date,” explained Sheryl Sandberg in Facebook’s recent Q4 earnings call.

We discussed the impact of Stories in this research above, but other big brands such as Bustle, Nike, Square, and more have experienced similar results as a part of their strategies.

Blenders Eyewear, for example, has generated thousands in revenue for their products using Stories ads – leveraging special announcements like a much anticipated restock, flash sale, giveaway and any limited time promos:

Blenders Eyewear Instagram Stories Examples

We’ve seen similar results when we use Instagram Stories ads to promote our blog posts and podcast as well. Our Instagram Stories ads cost just $0.06 – $0.12 per click when a typical Facebook feed ad usually costs around $0.30 – $0.60 per click.

Multiply that cost savings by thousands of dollars in ad spend and it’s a no-brainer in choosing Instagram Stories as our primary social media advertising channel in 2019.

Overall vertical video research conclusion

If we were to boil down this research to one key point, it would be that businesses and brands must keep up with mobile-centric video trends if they want to succeed on social media in 2019. A mobile-centric strategy relies heavily on vertical video and creating content that feels native to each platform.

As we mentioned in the beginning, mobile phones alone accounted for 65% of total digital usage in Q2 2018 (up from 62% in Q1 2018) – with that number growing by the day.

Everything from your website to the content you create for social media must focus on the mobile experience. Sheryl Sandberg puts it perfectly when she mentions:

One of the challenges that marketers have is keeping up where consumers are. If you think about our history, people made the shift to mobile before marketers did. And I think one of the successes we’ve had is we made it easier for advertisers to move into a mobile environment.

For marketers, the constant challenge is making it easier for your audience and customers to consume content when and where they want it. Not when and where it’s convenient for you, but when and where it’s convenient for them.

Luckily for us, Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever for marketers to provide a mobile-first experience.

It all comes down to whether or not you are willing to be an early adopter, experiment with vertical and square video, try new things, and always be looking to the future of social media.

What’s next for video marketing?

We’re in the midst of a video revolution. The traditional 16:9, landscape format is being replaced by a new, 9:16, vertical format that has fast become the default for video creation and consumption.

Vertical video used to be seen as a mistake —something people do when they forget to turn their phone horizontally while filming — but since the rise of platforms like Instagram Stories, vertical video has taken over and become an innovative way for individuals and businesses to tell stories.

Over one billion people use the vertical video format on Facebook-owned properties like Instagram and WhatsApp alone — and even YouTube has now embraced vertical video on the web and mobile.

Vertical video has changed video production. Anyone can now create incredible video content from a smartphone — no need for cameras, expensive editing suites, it can all be done in the palm of your hand.

Interested in creating  your own vertical videos? Check out Animoto’s Social Video Maker iPhone app designed for just that. Their web app is great for mobile-friendly square videos. We used Animoto to help generate more than 2,000,000 video views on social media in 2018.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/vertical-video

5 Data-Backed Social Media Trends You Need to Know for 2019

2019 is here and gone are the days where generating audience engagement on social media was primarily a passive process. The always-online audiences of today want to be involved, interact, and co-create.

The brands that are successful in delivering personalized experiences to their audiences are the brands that are likely to thrive with their social media strategies in the coming year.

But in order to be able to capitalize on this and everything else social media has to offer, you have to know what’s coming!

Which is exactly why today we’re covering 5 data-backed social media trends you need to know to make 2019 your best year yet with social media marketing.

Let’s dive in!

5 data-backed social media trends you need to know for 2019

What follows is a lightly-edited transcript of the Buffer Podcast episode #127 for your reading pleasure.

Table of Contents

Kicking off our most popular show of the year: Social Media Trends 2019.

1. In-the-moment content will win out over highly-produced content

Brian: Our number 1 trend for 2019, and by the way these 5 trends are in no particular order because we feel that they are all hugely important, is that in-the-moment content will win out over highly-produced content.

Stories and rise of ephemeral content across social networks, which I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of in 2019, is capturing the hearts and minds of audiences everywhere.

Growth of Stories Format - Social Media Trends 2019

Hailley: One of the key parts of that trend is that we’re predicting that stories will become the primary way to share content on social media, overtaking the News Feed. Only time will tell, but we’ll count on you to let us know if that prediction was right or not next year!

But this is why social media marketers have to continue to pay close attention to the rise of Stories and how it impacts how people consume content. And it’s why we talk about it so much here on the show. We’re witnessing a fundamental shift in media.

Brian: Mobile usage and even shorter attention spans will continue to increase the popularity of short-lived content in 2019, especially with Millennials and Generation Z’ers, who thrive on their relationships with brands being authentic and meaningful.

Which is exactly why it’s crucial that social media marketers establish a solid video strategy for ephemeral content.

More and more brands will embrace this personal, authentic and in-the-moment style content vs. overly produced, pre-packed content.

Hailley: What exactly does that mean for you?

Well, this means an increased focus on the people and personalities behind your brand. Think about how you can use video, Stories and images to connect your audience with the human – maybe even, dare I say, the vulnerable – side of your business.

Social Media Experiments and Social Media Trends 2019

You can accomplish a lot of this by taking your audience behind the scenes and showing the work your business day-to-day.

If you’re a coffee shop, create a story of how you brew the perfect cup.

If you’re a service business, take your followers on a tour of your office or show your team working.

Brian: Overall, the key thing is to experiment.

Imagine at one end of the spectrum there’s the old social media with pre-packaged, very produced content. At the other end you have in-the-moment, super raw content. For brands, there are millions of untapped miles of opportunity in the middle of those two ends to try new things.

2. AI-driven personalized customer experiences

Which, brings us to our next social media trends 2019 and that’s that we’ll start to see AI drive a personalized customer experiences across lots of different channels.

Hailley: From chatbots to ad optimization, platforms like Google and Facebook have been continuing to adopt artificial intelligence to enhance customer interaction.

But it remains a huge opportunity and is underutilized by many brands.

Social Media Trends 2019 - AI Personalization

Where we’re seeing this develop particularly fast is in the form of online customer service.

In 2018, the growth in AI-driven communication has been undeniable, with tools like Intercom and Drift starting to appear on websites everywhere.

Many experts predict that by 2020, more than 80% of all customer service interactions will be powered by AI bots.

Brian: Again, with the younger generations leading the charge.

Millennials are the quickest adaptors of chatbot-based customer experiences. According to Huffington Post, 60% of the millennial population already uses chatbots and 71% of Millennials have implied that they would like to try using one.

In 2019, more and more brands will strengthen their online customer service practices and even move to new platforms that may potentially offer more effective technology for customer service to thrive online, such as WhatsApp and Messenger.

Hailley: Let’s talk about WhatsApp for a second because I think marketers forget that they have over a billion users.

In 2019, we should begin to see the rise of WhatsApp as a primary social customer service channel. The release of the WhatsApp business API in August 2018 will continue to be a total game-changer in the industry.

Rise of WhatsApp - Social Media Trends

With this new API, WhatsApp allows businesses to respond to customers for free within 24 hours. This shift means businesses are now incentivized to reply to their customers faster. It puts the focus firmly on improving customer experience.

Brian: What I love about how WhatsApp is set up is that customers can talk to a business on a channel they are already using for communication (with friends and family) without being spammed with marketing messages. The power with WhatsApp really is in the consumers hands.

But in terms of personalization, given the vast amount of information being uploaded by people each day, it’s become very easy to get insights into all kinds of information about your customers.

This has opened the door for enhanced personalization, and that has increased consumer expectation for the same. So in other words, consumers are coming to expect it.

Hailley: Content, products, emails, ads – all can now be based on the consumer’s purchase history, clicked links, social media posts, and other behavior.

Like for example, Airbnb now sends personalized trip and activity ideas based on your upcoming trips. And Netflix offers shows to watch based on your taste. Amazon and eBay show products similar to the ones you’ve bought before. All of that is personalization.

Brian: It’s on you as a business to figure out what personalization looks like for your company.

As long as you are respectful of personal privacy, personalization is a solid way to go for marketers to boost campaign performance in 2019.

3. Brands can no longer afford to ignore social media ads

We’re already seeing a ton of businesses jump on board with social media ads. Marketers increased social ad budgets 32% in 2018 alone and produced more ads than ever before.

In fact, one of every four Facebook Pages now use paid advertising as part of their strategy. And Facebook accounts for 23% of total U.S. digital ad spending. All of those numbers are sure to increase in 2019.

Brian: What happens when we see this trend emerge is that it gets more competitive and more expensive to advertise.

To counter this, social teams should make sure they pair their ad money with equal time investment and creativity..

In other words, you won’t be able to just create any old ad and have it work. You have to invest some time in creating great content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to just boost your top performing organic content.

Social Media Advertising Guide - Social Media Trends 2019

Hailley: If you’ve noticed, lots of brands like Spotify, Blenders Eyeware, and others are leading the way with creative social ads that are both personalized and entertaining, rather than just banner ads squeezed into a news feed.

It’s the brand awareness type ads that are really thriving. Even if you’re selling your product, you can do it in a way that doesn’t feel intrusive to other types of authentic content in the news feed.

Brian: Content should feel like something coming from your friends.

We wanted to give you a few tips on creating better ads.

First, you must must must, understand your target audience.

Each ad campaign should target a focused group based on interests, jobs, relevant competitors, and previous interaction with your brand.

Hailley: Next, make sure to define your goals and metrics up front.

It’s important to show that social media has a positive bottom-line impact on your business.

Awareness campaigns, for example, might focus on impressions, while conversion campaigns should put more value on click-throughs.

After goals, it’s all about investing in high-quality content.

Social Media Content Ideas - Social Trends 2019

With more brands competing for people’s attention on social media, ordinary posts just aren’t going to cut it.

Brian: At the heart of great content are compelling visuals, which are essential for clicks and high conversion rates on social media. Not every brand will have the budget for expensive equipment or a professional team, but even just learning some video basics or even hiring a freelancer can make a difference.

But one thing every brand and marketer can and should be doing is repurposing ideas from top-performing organic content.

Creating high quality social ads takes time and money. Test your ad concepts as organic posts first to see how they perform. Once you see what’s working, you can adapt and repurpose your top performing organic content for ads.

Hailley: Doing that will help increase ROI of your ads right from the beginning.

And one more thing on that topic is to embrace new ad formats

Instagram Stories ads, for example, have been around since 2017. But this year Instagram gave brands the ability to use three consecutive photos or videos.

Pinterest, on the other hand, recently rolled out wide-format promoted videos.

And Facebook Messenger ads now allow brands to connect with customers directly via instant messaging.

4. Rise of social media TV and vertical videos

One of the biggest social media trends since 2018 has been the launch of IGTV by Instagram.

This along with other developments from social networks points to the rise of what we’re calling “social television” lead by the vertical video format.

Hailley: I think that this fourth trend is one of the most exciting social media trends 2019 and is going to fundamentally shift the way that brands and marketers create content.

Plus, Instagram is just going to continue to grow exponentially. Other platforms will probably follow suit with their own version of vertical video and Stories.

According to data collected by Statista, more than 50% of digital videos are now viewed on mobile in vertical format. And it has been showing a general upward trend since 2013.

Vertical Video Views on Mobile

Brian: I hope at this point everyone is starting to realize that these trends for 2019 are all connected. Personalized experiences, advertising, and vertical videos are all a part of the overall way the social media industry is heading.

Each platform is working hard to create experiences that people want to return to every single day. Which is exactly why things like IGTV are so compelling—that content sits right there at the top of the feed, and is top of mind each time someone logs on.

Hailley: Your daily authentic content creation approach that businesses will inevitably take advantage of in 2019.

The way we see it is that savvy businesses will create content for each type of consumer:

  • The daily consumer that Stories really helps to attract.
  • The shoppers and scrollers that the News Feed is perfect for.
  • The power users that longer form content, like what’s found on IGTV, is perfect for.

Brian: Thinking about your target audience as these types of personas and then matching your content to their intentions on social will lead to the biggest engagement.

Which, is a great transition into our 5th trend to look forward to in 2019 and that’s a shift in marketing best-practices.

5. The evolution from multichannel to omnichannel marketing

Hailley: Now this one isn’t solely about social media trends 2019, but social media plays a critical role in your overall marketing strategy.

If you’re wondering what omnichannel marketing is and why we’re talking about omnichannel, Omni is based on the Latin word Omnis, which means ‘all or every’ – and this obviously emphasizes the importance of reaching and interacting with customers in all channels.

Brian: There’s a quote floating around out there from John Bowden, VP at Time Warner Cable, and I think he explains omnichannel marketing perfectly:

“Omnichannel is viewing the experience through the eyes of your customer, orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless and integrated. It anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to an end point. That end point is your product or service.”

In other words, you have to think about the digital experience as a whole.

Omnichannel Marketing - Social Media Trends 2019

Hailley: A buyer’s journey is still a mystery for the most part because there are so many touch points with your brand along the way, but what we do know, is that nobody today shops exclusively through a single medium.

Consumers of all generations buy online and in stores, they read reviews, listen to peers, do their research and it all makes up part of a bigger picture.

Brian: The best part about thinking of marketing like this is that paid ads, social, content, and email channels don’t have to compete against each other for sales or customers.

You can grow your business by strategically integrating all these channels together.

So while email may not convert a customer immediately, readers might visit your website from your newsletter. Then you might then use that traffic to re-target visitors with a special offer on social media.

Hailley: Exactly and those people might read a review on Google or Amazon about your product.

But it all originated with that email. And even though the email won’t get credit, you still were able to add a new customer to the list.

Which I think every business would consider a win.

How to say hello to us

We would all love to say hello to you on social media – especially Twitter!

Thanks for listening! Feel free to connect with our team at Buffer on TwitterBuffer on Facebook, our Podcast homepage, or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

Enjoy the show? It’d mean the world to us if you’d be up for giving us a rating and review on iTunes!

About The Science of Social Media podcast

The Science of Social Media is your weekly sandbox for social media stories, insights, experimentation, and inspiration. Every Monday (and sometimes more) we share the most cutting-edge social media marketing tactics from brands and influencers in every industry. If you’re a social media team of one, business owner, marketer, or someone simply interested in social media marketing, you’re sure to find something useful in each and every episode.  It’s our hope that you’ll join our 20,000+ weekly iTunes listeners and rock your social media channels as a result!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-trends-2019

Life After the News Feed: Why Facebook is Shifting to Stories (And Why Your Business Should Too)

The News Feed is one of Facebook’s marque innovations.

Rolled out to users in 2006, it became the go-to place for people to connect with their friends,  share updates about their day-to-day life and enjoy content from brands they followed. Not to mention, it also played a pivotal role in Facebook’s march to advertising dominance.

In life and business, though, change is inevitable. And just as popular culture, music, and fashion move on,  Facebook should too.

For nearly a decade, the News Feed was the jewel in Facebook’s crown. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has been locked into a battle with misinformation, troubled by privacy issues, and found itself trying to counter a decline in original content (photos, videos, status updates) shared by users. It even admitted the News Feed can have a negative impact on mental health.

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be.

Facebook was meant to help people stay connected with those closest to them. But Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the platform has underdelivered there. In a post on his Facebook Page back in January the Facebook founder noted:

“Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands, and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

And that should be a big worry for Facebook. When the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology looked into what factors can kill a social network, they found that when the bonds between users weren’t particularly strong, neither was the users’ relationship with that network.

The study also found that as networks grow, they become more cluttered, so we begin to miss out on some of the most relevant content from those closest to us. This is most definitely the case with Facebook — and was a key factor in the company’s decision to shift the News Feed to focus more on updates from people, not brands.

In a blog post about this change Facebook shared:

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

The rise of Stories

While the News Feed has been experiencing growing pains, a new format has arisen: Stories.

Since Snapchat debuted the Stories format in 2013, it’s gone from strength to strength and is quickly becoming the default format for content consumption and creation. In total, consulting firm Block Party estimates that nearly one billion accounts are using the Stories format daily and Zuckerberg recently shared that people now post more than one billion Stories every day.

At its annual, flagship conference, F8, Chris Cox, Facebook’s Facebook’s chief product officer, also noted that “the Stories format is on a path to surpass feeds as the primary way people share things with their friends sometime next year.” And Zuckerberg recently added that “it looks like Stories will be a bigger medium than [news] feed has been.”

The shift to stories is coming

From making the status composer default to the camera to encourage Story creation on mobile, to adding Story preview tiles to the top of the feed, Facebook is constantly running tests and experiments to familiarise more of its user base with Stories.

Over on Instagram, 47 percent of users find that Instagram Stories helps them be more authentic in their communication with friends and family, something Facebook would love to encourage on its flagship product too.

In short, it feels safe to say that Facebook is pivoting to Stories. But when your platform is the size of Facebook’s, no change is ever simple.

The roadblocks ahead for Stories

The biggest hurdle for Facebook’s move to Stories is revenue.

Right now, the majority of Facebook’s advertising revenue comes from the News Feed. As Zuckerberg recently share in a post on his Facebook Page:

“Another challenge is that we’re earlier in developing our ads products for stories, so we don’t make as much money from them yet as we do from feed ads. We’re following our normal playbook here of building out the best consumer products first and focusing on succeeding there before ramping up ads. I’m optimistic that we’ll get ads in stories to perform as well as feed over time, and that the opportunity will be even bigger because it looks like stories will be a bigger medium than feed has been.”

Though Facebook has rolled out Stories Ads, it will need to reinvent mobile video ads for this to be a success. Pre and post-roll video ads within Stories is fine for now, but if Stories are to become as profitable as the News Feed, Facebook needs to think outside the box and develop a brand new ad product from the ground up, like it did with News Feed ads five-or-so years ago.

The second hurdle is ensuring users buy into Stories.

300 million daily active users across Facebook and Messenger is great — it’s probably even more daily active users than Snapchat has on its own Stories (according to data obtained by The Daily Beast). But Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly users and the vast majority don’t use Stories yet.

Like it or not, Stories will replace the News Feed

When it comes time to shift away from the News Feed, it’s more likely that users will just have to deal with the hand they’re dealt.

When the News Feed launched, Facebook users had no choice about adopting it, and it wasn’t instantly popular — a group called “Students Against Facebook News Feed” was even formed, reaching more than 280,000 members at its peak.

Despite the pushback, Facebook persisted knowing that no matter how loud or vocal people were in reaction to the change, they would still likely continue to use Facebook anyway.

The same Swiss Federal Institute of Technology study I mentioned earlier found that when left with only two available coping strategies: to accept change or to leave, the vast majority will accept change and continue to use Facebook.

And in a 2006 post about the News Feed, then TechCrunch editor, Michael Arrington noted that: “If this feature had been part Facebook since the beginning, their users would be screaming if Facebook tried to remove it.” Eventually, I believe we’ll look back at Facebook Stories in the same way.

Stories might not be welcomed by all. But one thing is for certain: however you feel about it, it’s time to start preparing for life after the News Feed.

4 ways your business can embrace Stories

Stories are an essential part of a modern social media strategy.

Block Party’s research found that nearly four in five (79 percent) of businesses use Stories on InstagramInstagram also found that more than one in three said that they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Instagram Stories.

As the user numbers continue to grow on Facebook Stories, it won’t be long until a large number of businesses start moving to post there too. But we’re not quite there yet.

Block Party found that only nine of 100 accounts it tracked on Instagram Stories, also posted to Facebook Stories. “All but one of those exclusively syndicated their Instagram Stories to Facebook,” it said. However, some early adopters have already started seeing better results from Facebook Stories than the News Feed.

Here are four ways you can begin to use Stories for your business and ensure you’re riding atop the next big social media wave.

1. Take your audience behind-the-scenes

Stories offer a perfect way to share unfiltered, authentic content with your audience.

Design agency AJ&Smart uses Stories to provide an authentic look at what’s happening at the business day-to-day and tries to show as much of that in real-time as possible.

For example, in its Stories, you might see behind-the-scenes at a client workshop or the team traveling to a client meeting.

The Guardian also found that, on Stories, “less polished” content performs better than heavily produced videos, so you don’t have to worry about the production quality of your content. Instead, just point and shoot with your phone and focus on creating a compelling narrative.

2. Cross-post between Instagram and Facebook

If you’ve linked your Instagram account to your Facebook page, you can cross-post your Stories content at the tap of a button, or even set your account to automatically publish all of your Stories from Instagram to Facebook.

To do this, tap your profile icon in the top-right corner of Instagram, then open your “Account settings” and choose “Story controls”. From here, tap the switch to turn on auto-posting to Facebook:

Cross-posting the same content to Instagram and Facebook might not be the best long-term strategy as your audience on the two platforms might prefer different content. But this is a great way to get started, and learn a little about what your audience enjoys on both platforms.

3. Experiment with Stories ads

Stories ads are a new addition to Facebook’s ad inventory and enable brands to share image-based or short video ads. At Buffer, we started testing Stories ads a few months back and now we’re seeing clicks to our website from Stories for just $0.06!

It’s super simple to get started with Stories ads and we’ve just launched Stories Creator, a simple tool to help you design thumb-stopping images for your Stories ads.

To help you create Facebook and Instagram Stories ads that’ll get you results, here are three tips for creating great Stories ad creatives and the exact steps to creating Facebook and Instagram Stories ads.

4. Share user-generated content to Stories

User-generated content is incredibly powerful on Instagram. In fact, it helped us to grow our Buffer account to over 40,000 followers.

And Stories offers businesses the chance to repost content from their audience at a more frequent pace than in the feed. For example, Kettlebell Kings regularly shares one or two user-generated posts to its feed each day, but by using Stories it can share 10-12 posts from followers.

This content is incredibly engaging for its audience as people who follow Kettlebell Kings love to see workout examples and techniques. It’s also incredibly rewarding for those featured and it encourages more and more customers to share their content on Instagram.

Over to you

What are your thoughts on the future of Stories on Facebook? Has your business started posting Stories? Let us know in the comments below — excited to join the conversation.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/-7bYNoYMbg8/life-after-the-news-feed

Facebook Stories Hits 300 Million Users and Rolls Out Ads Globally

Today, Facebook has announced that it’s rolling out Facebook Stories Ads to advertisers globally.

More than 300 million people use Facebook Stories and Messenger Stories every day.

Since Snapchat debuted the Stories format back in 2013, it has taken over the social media landscape. Facebook first introduced the format to one of its properties in 2016 with the launch of Instagram Stories and has since launched similar updates across Whatsapp, Messenger and Facebook itself.

And the format is still growing across the board. Data from Facebook IQ found that 68 percent of people say they use stories on at least three apps regularly, and 63 percent plan to use stories more in the future.

The value of Facebook Stories ads

An Ipsos survey discovered that 62 percent of people said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story and Facebook says that “brands testing Facebook Stories ads are already seeing results”.

Stories ads also have the power to help your brand grow via word of mouth, with 38 percent of people surveyed saying that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it.

In addition, the survey found that more than half of people said they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing stories and 34 percent said they went to a store to look for a product they had seen in stories ads.

Facebook says that both Tentree, a sustainable, eco-friendly clothing company, and Skout, a dating app,  found that adding Facebook Stories to their Instagram Stories ad campaigns resulted in more customer actions at a lower cost.

The challenges and opportunities with Stories

The audiences on Facebook Stories could be an issue for advertisers. 300 million people use stories across Facebook and Messenger whereas more than 400 million use Instagram Stories daily, and 1.47 billion use Facebook daily.

However, the newness of Facebook Stories could appeal to advertisers seeking a first mover advantage with the format. Brandon Doyle, the founder of digital agency Wallaroo Media, has been experimenting with Facebook Stories ads for over a month, and recently told Digiday:

“CPM and conversion rates have been the best of any placements over the course of the last month, probably due to the fact that the competition is lower there”.

Digiday also revealed that flight-booking service Hopper has seen both Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories ads performing better than ads in Facebook’s news feed and in Instagram’s feed. In fact, the results for Hopper have been so great that the businesses has been “prioritizing designing ads for the Stories format, then adapting them to the other formats”.

Getting started with Facebook Stories ads

Facebook has launched Stories Ads to help businesses reach more people and Stories Ads will be available to advertisers as an additional placement to News Feed or Instagram Stories ad campaigns. Facebook reports that Stories Ads will soon be coming to Messenger soon too.

Facebook Stories ads deliver your message in a fullscreen, immersive environment. Additionally, Facebook Stories ads support every objective that’s currently available for Instagram Stories ads, including:

  • Reach
  • Brand awareness
  • Video views
  • App install
  • Conversion
  • Traffic
  • Lead generation

Facebook Stories ads have been rolled out globally today. To get started with Stories ads, head over to Facebook Ads Manager and create your ad, then when it comes to selecting ‘Placements’ you’ll see the option to include Facebook Stories:

Want to learn more about the Stories format?

With more than one billion people using Stories and vertical video formats across Facebook, Instagram, IGTV — and even YouTube… Have you wondered what this means for your business? We recently partnered up with writer, maker and marketer, Owen Williams, to and how to get started in a four-part email series.

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/ilIBpcNSRf8/facebook-stories-ads

We Analyzed 43 Million Facebook Posts From the Top 20,000 Brands (New Research)

What a year for Business Pages on Facebook!

It sure feels like every time we as marketers and business owners think we have our Facebook marketing strategy figured out, a major algorithm change is announced or a new tactic becomes the latest trend.

Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way to reach our audiences on Facebook is to study the data, experiment constantly, be open to learning, and take a growth mindset.

In the spirit of learning, we partnered with BuzzSumo to analyze more than 43 million posts from the top 20,000 brands on Facebook in one of the largest studies of 2018.

Today, we’re excited to share the eye-opening research with you (hint: Page engagement continues to decline) as well as how your business or brand can revamp your Facebook marketing strategy moving forward and still find a ton of success on the platform.

Let’s dive in!

How to subscribe: iTunes | Google Play | SoundCloud | Stitcher | RSS

Table of Contents

Lessons from analyzing 43 million Facebook Business Page posts


BuzzSumo has access to some of the most robust Facebook data on the planet, which powers some incredible research studies like this one where they analyzed more than 100 million Facebook videos.

Earlier this month, we approached their team with one (not-so-simple) question:

How are Facebook Business Pages performing in 2018?

Here’s what we learned…

1. Top Pages are posting a lot more

It’s long been debated whether or not posting more results in more engagement and reach for your Facebook Business Page. Many brands report a positive increase in results when they post more, while others experience the opposite.

Either way, as we can see from the chart below there has been a 24% increase in the number of posts per quarter from 6.5m posts to 8.1m posts over the past year.

That’s an increase from 72,000 posts per day in Q1 2017 to 90,032 posts per day in Q2 2018. In other words, nearly 20,000 additional pieces of content are being posted by the world’s top brands… every day.

Number of Facebook Business Page Posts - Facebook Marketing Strategy
In Q2 2018, the top 20,000 Facebook pages were publishing an average of 135 posts per month, which amounts to just over four per day.

2. Overall Page engagement is declining (again)

Naturally, if the world’s top Facebook Pages are posting an additional 20,000 pieces of content per day to the platform, there’s going to be an increase amount of competition in the News Feed and a decrease of engagement across the board.

As businesses, however, I don’t think we truly understood how dramatic this decline in engagement (shares, likes, reactions, and comments) has been overall  – until now.

Our findings show that engagement has dropped by more than 50% over the last 18 months.

Facebook Business Page Engagement - Facebook Marketing Strategy

In that same time frame, the average engagement per post has dropped by over 65% from 4,490 engagements per post to 1,582 engagements per post.

3. Facebook engagement down for video, images, and links

As with most social networks, the data shows that there is difference in performance between the various types of content that are posted (links, videos, images).

Interestingly enough, we found that images (not video) regularly receive the most engagement. However, consistent with the data above, average engagement per image dropped from 9,370 per post in Q1 2017 to just 3,454 per post in Q2 2018.

Respectively, average engagement per video fell from 5,486 to 2,867. Here’s a quick chart to show the differences between types of content:

Facebook business page post type performance

Note: More on this chart and why it’s important for your Facebook marketing strategy later!

4. Posting 5 times per day resulted in highest overall engagement

As we’ll discuss later in this article, there seems to be an “optimal amount of posting” to consider when it comes to your Facebook marketing strategy.

The data showed that Facebook Business Pages that posted less than once a day had the highest engagement per post: Average Engagement Per PostHowever, those that posted less than once per day had the lowest overall levels of engagement. As you increase frequency of posting overall levels of engagement rise, but only to a point.

Pages posting 5 times per day received an average of 2,466 engagements per post (a total of 12,330). Pages posting 10 or more times per day received an average of 1,202 engagements per post (a total of 12,020 engagements). In other words, posting 5 times per day appears to be the optimal Facebook posting frequency.

We also found that engagement fell over the last 18 months regardless of posting frequency, all Pages suffered a greater than 50% reduction in engagement.

Drop in Facebook Business Page Engagement

Those Facebook Business Pages that posted more than 10 times a day saw the biggest fall off in engagement of nearly 66%.

5. Top Page categories experienced 49-70% overall drop in engagement

Last, but not least, we looked at the overall engagement drop by Business Page type:

Total Drop in Engagement by Facebook Business Page Type

Artist Pages saw the biggest decrease in engagement at 70.6% followed by movie Pages and media/news Pages.

Page categories still play a key role in the overall success of your Facebook marketing strategy. When selecting your Page category, be sure to understand the nuances between each and how it will affect your content.

If you’d like to check out all of the original data, feel free to jump into the Excel spreadsheet here (created by the team at BuzzSumo) and run an analysis of your own!

Now onto more insights!

5 reasons why Facebook Business Page engagement is declining

Although the data above paints a fairly bleak picture for businesses, there is still hope for your Facebook marketing strategy moving forward. In fact, we believe that the future is very bright for Pages willing to experiment and make a change.

But first, we must understand why we’re seeing a decrease in engagement so that we can know where to start to improve.

  • Increased competition

Today there are more than 80 million Business Pages on Facebook with a staggering 41% of all small businesses across the globe having a presence on the platform.

The challenge for these businesses is that as the volume of Page content increases, the space available in the News Feed for content remains the same. In other words, there is simply too much content being posted.

  • Higher quality content

Businesses are becoming more and more savvy at creating high-quality content across all social media channels. Video marketing no longer remains a mystery for many brands, ad content is better and more targeted than ever, and marketers are improving tremendously at their jobs everyday.

For audiences, this is actually a major positive. As brands, much of our success on Facebook depends on our ability to be able to create and deliver quality content on a consistent basis. But that also means the content quality bar is higher than ever before.

  • The Facebook algorithm continues to evolve

There has long been a slow and steady decline in organic reach as Facebook has changed the News Feed algorithm over the years to favor family and friends over Pages.

Facebook News Feed Algorithm

According to Facebook’s Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri, in January 2018 Facebook began to “shift ranking to make News Feed more about connecting with people and less about consuming media in isolation.”

Businesses are no longer only competing against each other for attention in the News Feed, they’re now facing competition from every single profile, Page, and Group on Facebook.

  • Prioritization of ad content in the News Feed

At the end of the day, Facebook is a business of their own. In order to continue to provide a great experience for their users as well as a return on investment to their shareholders, they must be able to turn a profit.

And because Facebook is completely free to use for people, businesses, and developers, their largest source of revenue comes from advertisers on the platform.

Facebook Advertising Revenue

For Facebook, there is a constant balancing act between creating a great experience for their users and maximizing profit for their shareholders. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a shift towards more ad content in the News Feed.

Now that we’ve looked at several of the top reasons why engagement is declining on Facebook, let’s dive into some actionable takeaways for your Facebook marketing strategy.

How to improve your Facebook marketing strategy today

As mentioned before, I believe that there is truly an exciting opportunity for businesses and brands on Facebook – as long as they are willing to make a change and experiment with their Facebook marketing strategy.

Here are my 3 biggest tips that will help your Page improve engagement and reach starting today, including a few great examples from the world’s top 20,000 brands. We can all learn a thing or two from them!

1. Consider the return on investment (ROI) of each Facebook post

One thing that doesn’t get talked about enough when it comes to your Facebook marketing strategy is the ROI of each Facebook post. In looking at the data above, it’s clear that the success of each post dramatically decreases after posting 5 (or more) times per week.

In this regard, there seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to Facebook posting frequency: quality vs. quantity.

  • Quality: Focused on posting fewer, quality Facebook posts that reach a higher number of people per post
  • Quantity: Focused on posting more Facebook posts that reach a higher number of people overall

In the past, the quantity approach worked for hundreds of Business Pages – the more they posted the more engagement they saw on a daily, weekly, etc. basis. However, the data above shows that this approach no longer works, and in fact, might be decreasing the effectiveness of all of your Facebook content (i.e., the ROI of each post).

Facebook Pages such as HubSpot have shifted their Facebook marketing strategy to focus on tactics that work such as producing more viral videos and images and stopped spending time on things that don’t work such as posting links to their website.

Facebook and other social media channels are no longer a means to an end. They are now the platforms in which people can consume content, be entertained, shop, share, and so much more without ever having to leave the comfort of their app.

A large part of your new and improved Facebook marketing strategy should be focused on engagement, interacting with your audience, and increasing the ROI of each post, instead of simply broadcasting your message.

2. Tap into your audience’s top reasons for sharing online

In 2011, the New York Times published an intriguing article on the science behind why people share online. More than seven years later, the lessons learned in that research are still as relevant as ever for your Facebook marketing strategy.

They found that the top 5 reasons why people share online is to:

  1. Delight others with valuable & entertaining content
  2. Identify and present ourselves to others
  3. Foster relationships
  4. Self-fulfillment
  5. Spreading the word about issues, products, and brands

It’s no coincidence that some of the most viral content on Facebook is related to food, animals, fashion, humor and beauty!

Top Video Content on Facebook

I encourage your business to go through your last 50 Facebook posts and examine them from a consumer perspective. Ask yourself: if I were to see this in the Facebook News Feed, would I actually interact with the content?

Brands such as Brain Pickings are creating content centered around people’s desire to connect and share interesting things with their friends and family. Even if that something is as simple as a friendly “hello” or reminder about the special place their relationship holds in their heart. This is a great example of the simplicity of viral content:

 

If you’re interested in reading more about why people share online, Brian Carter made some interesting observations about what makes Facebook content viral, including 7 things that content must do in order to be shared.

3. Optimize your content for mobile consumption

The rise of mobile usage and consumption is a big deal for businesses, particularly on Facebook.

More than 95% of Facebook users access the social network from their mobile device, meaning that it’s time for us to start consider the implications of mobile and how we might evolve our Facebook marketing strategies moving forward.

One of the biggest factors driving this change is vertical video viewing, a format which reflects natural user behavior (many of us hold our phones in an upright position). Facebook studies have shown that 79% of vertical video consumers agreed that the format is more engaging, and said they would choose the vertical format in most cases. They also found that 65% of respondents said that brands using vertical video for their advertising are “more innovative.”

Brands such as LDN are using vertical video to creatively show off their products in a fun and unique way:

LDN NYC Vertical Video Video Example

The other major factors to consider when optimizing your content for mobile are video length and caption length.

BuzzSumo found that the optimal video length on Facebook is anywhere between 30-120 seconds. In other words, your videos should be no longer than 2 minutes.

Optimal Video Length

When it comes to caption length, we did a bit of subjective analysis within the BuzzSumo tool and came up with a way to think about captions: show, not tell.

BuzzSumo Facebook Page Analyzer

The quicker you can get someone to click on or engage with your content on mobile, the better. That often means keeping your captions short and sweet as to not distract users from your ultimate goal.

Over to your Facebook marketing strategy

I’d love to hear from you!

How are you feeling about your Facebook marketing strategy moving forward? Are you excited for the future of Facebook in general? What experiments do you plan on trying first?

Feel free to drop me a comment or question below about the data in this study or just to say “hello.” I’m looking forward to hearing your Facebook ideas so that we can all learn from each other!

http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bufferapp/~3/n5T5GFHAQto/facebook-marketing-strategy