When you create an explainer video, your first instinct is probably to post it on YouTube. That makes sense, but you might also want to consider posting your creation on Facebook as well. Why? Well, research shows that not only are more people posting videos on Facebook than on YouTube, but that engagement with videos is higher on Facebook as well. In fact, even videos that are less popular on Facebook than they are on YouTube have higher engagement rates — in some cases, almost 40 percent higher.
All of this doesn’t mean that you can just post any old explainer on Facebook and expect to see higher engagement, though. Creating explainers for Facebook requires a little bit of thought and paying attention to some of the things that get the most attention from social media users. A few might seem counterintuitive at first, but these are proven techniques for getting the most engagement — and better results — from your Facebook explainer videos.
1. Skip the Sound
When you watch videos on Facebook, do you always turn the sound on? Chances are if you are like most people, you don’t. Studies show that as many as 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off, mostly because videos are muted by default to keep auto playback from being a problem. Therefore, if you want people to view your video, you need to take that into account. If your video doesn’t make any sense with the sound off, you aren’t going to see engagement levels where you want them to be.
When working on your script and storyboard, develop subtitles and captions that capture the information being shown in the video. The captions should mimic the voiceover script, or, in some cases, replace the voiceover entirely. Above all, make sure that your key points (your value proposition, call to action, etc.) are displayed visually to reach those who don’t turn up the volume.
2. Engage Viewers in the First Few Seconds
Three seconds. That’s how long you have to capture a user’s attention and keep them watching your video. Because videos will auto-play as users scroll past, your first few seconds are vital to getting them to stop. Don’t waste time with a fancy intro or buildup. Get right into the content, even if it means starting with a teaser and then adding your intro after the first few seconds. Animation tends to grab viewers best as they scroll down their feed of pictures of their friends and family, as it stands out more. Using a free video animation maker over live action production could help boost engagement, especially if you keep the video brief.
3. Keep It Short
Ideally, Facebook videos should run between 30 and 120 seconds, and the shorter the better. Remember, Facebook users have short attention spans, and are not likely to sit through a long, drawn-out video.
4. Pay Attention to Trends
Most users turn to Facebook to get the latest news and information. They aren’t looking for old news. Whenever possible, try to hook your animated explainer video onto a current trend and provide some insight that they might not have considered previously. It’s important to remain authentic to your brand, but anytime you can work with a trend, it increases the chances of getting viewers’ attention.
5. Choose the Right Thumbnail
Thumbnails are what people see first as they scroll through their Facebook feed, or what shows up on their page when someone shares your video. The thumbnail can make a big difference in whether they opt to click on the video or not, so create a custom thumbnail image that gives them an idea of what your video is about and entices them to click. This means including the title of the video and an attractive image to capture attention. Don’t let any random frame be your thumbnail — put some thought into it.
6. Use a Caption
Finally, you can further entice viewers to watch your video by adding a post update. This might be the title of your video (if it’s extra compelling) or a little teaser about what viewers can expect when they watch. It’s not required, but it helps your video feel more grounded and gives more reasons to click and watch.
Video on Facebook tends to be more eye-catching and has more organic reach than other types of content. When you incorporate these tricks, though, you’ll see even better results and higher levels of engagement — and conversions — from your animated explainer videos.