Facebook videos is the new way to reach new audiences. Even though publishers are posting more text articles, videos are reaching more people. Publishers are becoming addicted to the format.


Video posts are reaching popularity

Publishers are getting lower engagement on article links than on video posts. This tendency is explainable knowing that Facebook is rewarding them by exposure, in some cases even by financial incentives.

According to the data that Digiday got from social analytics service NewsWhip across 14 publishers – top Facebook performers. Video publishers (including live and canned video) got first place with an average of 4 036 shares per post.

Second place was taken by image posts- average 3 364 shares per post. In third place came article links with just 571 shares per post, almost 7 times less than video post. The least popular format was the status updates- 538 shares per post. The measured period covers April 27 to May 27.

The exception to this newly “unspoken” rule was the Guardian. It posted only 63 videos with 2 754 shares per video compared to it’s 1 418 text posts with 441 average shares each.

Unlike the Guardian the Huffington Post posted 739 links and got 1 213 average shares per link like Dogs Who Can’t Catch for Sh*t. During the same period it posted 412 videos and got 4 715 average shares per video.

The biggest gap is among native-digital publishers that have aggressive social distribution strategies. Publisher LittleThings got average 5 664 shares per video, such as this recipe for parmesan cups.


No choice left


If Facebook’s new algorithm puts video in front of people, it’s obvious that they will be shared more. This is the reason why publishers are shifting to video posts but at the same time not refusing text articles.

NewsWhip also found out  that there is less action on links that go back to their own sites. According to Liam Corcoran, head of communications at NewsWhip: “If video is playing automatically and they can pick up with a story without sound, that seem to be why video is attracting this high level of engagement.”

Now the publishers are looking for the right balance between creating Facebook videos that attract new audiences and probably potential subscribers and creating videos on their own sites. Those can be monetized and the publishers can charge advertisers premium for.

According to Micah Gelman, director of editorial video at Post: “Facebook hasn’t really figured out monetization yet. The scale is big, but the rest of the ecosystem isn’t there yet. Getting people to come to the Washington Post is also important. But it is a tradeoff.”

Young publishers such as LittleThings consider videos as an effective way to grow its awareness. It has three teams working on videos and looking for a way to monetize them through product placement and sponsorship.

Publishers are still posting more text links because these ones can be monetized. “Facebook is prioritizing, so you know it’s going to push to a larger audience, and we’re always looking for more brand awareness” said Gretchen Tibbits, COO at LittleThings. But they are still producing more posts than native video because “those keep the lights on, as it were”.

Using the new way to attract new audiences and get more feedbacks, publishers still stick to the classic text links that allow them to have a revenue and prosper. But are really video posts going to become the priority for the publishers or are they still going to fight the new trend by inviting the consumers to visit their sites?

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