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3 Essentials for Making a Facebook Video That Gets People to Buy

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Sure, it was annoying at first to see snippets of cat videos autoplaying as I scrolled through my News Feed, but in retrospect, autoplay is one of the best moves Facebook could have made (I’ll explain in a bit.) It’s been about a year since Facebook introduced a handful of tools, features and metrics intended to ease the distribution and consumption of video content.

But it seems that small businesses especially haven’t capitalized on the marketing value Facebook’s shift offers. It’s time to get the word out: video content gets the most attention on Facebook, and not simply because videos are more eye-catching (which they are). Facebook actually tweaked their News Feed algorithm last summer to feature more videos. Since the update, Facebook has averaged more than 4 billion video views per day. This great for small businesses because, suddenly, producing and distributing quality video content is easy and inexpensive.

"The numbers never lie -- we see across our entire installation base that video is by far the most effective medium to help customers make the right purchasing decision within an ecommerce platform both on web and mobile. This is the main reason why many of the leading retailers in the world have made video a key element in their 2016 strategic plan,” says Ariel Shemesh, CEO of Webyclip, a “videotized” shopping tool that grew in Microsoft's startup accelerator.

It’s not news that today pretty much anyone with a smartphone, eight-year-olds included, can create professional looking videos. Coupled with Facebook’s dedicated investment in video marketing, this ease presents small businesses with a huge opportunity to reach thousands of new customers while still sticking to a tight budget. With this in mind, let’s go through a few key features Facebook released this past year and learn how small businesses can take advantage.

Related: As Facebook Video Swells, YouTube Creators Cry Foul Over Copyright Infringement

Autoplay.

Since Facebook introduced autoplay in September 2013, there has been a 58 percent increase in people watching, liking, sharing and commenting on videos. Facebook defines a view as having watched at least three seconds of video. Meaning, if you can grab your audience within those three seconds, the chances are much higher that they’ll watch your video to completion (we’ll learn why this is key in the next section). Here are a few tips on how to get this done:

  • Since videos play silently until they’re tapped, it’s absolutely imperative that your video can tell its story both with and without sound.
  • It needs to be short and grab the viewer’s attention in the first frame.
  • If you’re not sure the first frame is strong enough to capture attention, write a few words about the video, like a key quote or a significant moment. Since people are used to skimming statuses, text might get their attention, too.
  • It has to be something your key demographic will want to watch.
  • Because it’s mixed into their News Feed along with photos of weddings, newborns and last Friday night, your video needs to be contextual and relevant.
  • Consider uploading product videos, customer testimonials, behind-the-scenes clips or reposting quirky user-generated content.

Call to action.

In late 2014, Facebook introduced its Call To Action feature, designed to convert passive viewers into active customers by permitting businesses to redirect viewers to a destination site once their video finishes playing. It’s completely free and if your video does a good job of reeling in viewers, they’ll be excited to learn more and continue interacting with your business.

Use the emotional captivity of your video to manipulate viewers into converting and be sure to think carefully about a destination that complements this. For example, you can invite them to download an app, follow a link to a landing page, sign up for a newsletter, watch additional videos, register for an event, promote special offers, purchase a product or anything else that will keep your viewers engaged.

Related: Analyst: Facebook Native Video Will Thwart YouTube's Throne in a Matter of Months

Metrics.

So you followed my tips and posted your first Facebook friendly video. Now what? Now it’s time to measure your videos’ performance and learn from your mistakes, because as a first-timer you may have made a few. With Facebook’s video metrics tool, you can see which videos are performing well and contributing to your reach and engagement and which are, well, not.

There are dozens of metrics for you to sift through, like video views, unique video views, average view duration and audience retention. Use this data to tweak your videos a bit. For example, if you see that the average view duration is a bit low, it’s a sign your video is too long. If people are watching your videos to the end but not clicking on a CTA, your destination probably isn’t right for that video.

There are a few other features like public view count and video ranking Facebook introduced over the past two years.

But the three I’ve outlined are the most important ones small businesses should focus on. After investing this much into easing video distribution for marketers, I’m sure Facebook will come out with another slew of tools and features intended to benefit small businesses. Until then, happy videoing!

Related: 4 Tips to Create and Groom a Viral Facebook Video Ad