Skift Take

Facebook's utility and reach has been a boon for both users and brands, and travel content is among the most popular verticals in the ecosystem.

Earlier this week we launched a new report in our Skift Trends Reports service, How to Harness The Facebook Ecosystem in 2016.

Below is an extract. Get the full report here to stay ahead of this trend.

As of November 2015, Facebook was serving 8 billion video views per day, which is double the rate from just April of the same year. And it’s no surprise that auto-playing video content, especially when optimized for mobile feeds, is grabbing more attention than your average blog post or photo. Engagement on video tends to be higher in general, which then prompts the News Feed algorithm to serve it to more users.

Whether or not Facebook wittingly prioritizes video content over other formats is unclear.

“Since the start of the year, Facebook Pages are also sharing more than 40 percent more videos,” says Catherine Fitzgerald, a travel lead client partner on Facebook’s global marketing solutions team in the UK. “With so many consumer videos being watched on Facebook, video ads become a natural part of the News Feed experience and travel marketers have a big opportunity to reach people at scale.”

But these explosive view counts should be taken with a grain of salt. Facebook counts a “view” as three seconds or longer, and there has been significant controversy12 over whether something that automatically plays for without sound as you scroll past it should count as meaningful engagement or even an impression.

Regardless, if you want to play ball on Facebook and you value the engagement and reach of your page, it would be wise to invest in video. And there is a spectrum of ways. Start simple, and leverage some of the assets you’re already creating for other channels. Don’t think about Facebook video as a studio production, but as small, visual moments.

“There is a definite trend toward short, audio-agnostic pieces — like our ‘Timelapse Tuesday’ series,” says Daniel Sendecki, manager of content and social media marketing at G Adventures. “It helps extend our reach at a very reasonable cost (less than $0.01/view), giving us an excuse to inject short pieces of video (less than 20 seconds) into people’s News Feeds on an ongoing basis,” he explains, referring to the option to use paid amplification around video. “As attention spans decrease, consuming media in bite-sized pieces becomes more favorable. It drives trial — and, as a parallel, engagement. It’s easy to nibble and try without feeling that it’s too much effort.”

Lucy Piper is the video production manager at Intrepid Group, and she agrees that format is key. “Video is one part of our overall content strategy, but Facebook has become a priority as it’s where we get the most reach,” Piper explains. “Our video storytelling on Facebook is very different from other platforms where we can use more long-form content. Our Facebook video content needs to grab people visually, as audio doesn’t automatically play in the News Feed — and it needs to do that within two seconds before they scroll down.”

Piper shared an example she and her team are particularly proud of: the story of a blind athlete who completed the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru in a single day — normally a challenging four-day trek at high altitudes.

“We recognize an inspiring story when we see it, so one [member] of our in-house video team travelled to Cusco to run the marathon alongside [him],” says Piper. Intrepid’s Facebook audience was the first to see the inspirational story outside of the guides and porters on the trail that day. “The Facebook video post was the highest in terms of reach that we had all year, as a result of engagement from our fans who were quick to congratulate. The social reach and engagement was further amplified by earned media coverage on key news websites including Buzzfeed and the BBC, proving to us that good storytelling goes across paid, owned and earned channels.”

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Tags: facebook, research reports, video

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