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12 August 2016, 15:34

Should you shift your Facebook communications to just video?

Recently I was talking with a friend about the ongoing argument of is organic social dead, with a focus of the conversation shifting quickly to Facebook. Now, I'm going to avoid a long post about all of the for's and against's and my personal opinion of the art of creative and the science of audience targeting and media spend working together (that's for another time), and focus on what is clearly been a point of conversation in 2016 – video.

With the fall of organic reach over the last couple of years, some brands have seen a growth when using video. For previous clients I have worked on I certainly saw this with an average organic reach being 2, 3 even 4 times higher than other forms of posts, and this got our conversation moving towards whether a shift to a video strategy is the best way for brand messages to reach people organically on Facebook.

Below are some of the key conversation points that we were mulling over:

  1. Cost of video production – This was the first thought that cropped up. Not all brands have mega-money that they can spend on fantastic video creative, and well scripted, well produced video can cost a fair chunk of money. On the other end of the scale, some brands don't want to associate themselves with low-budget production because of brand image. Therefore, you continue with creating imagery or editorial content that's distributed on Facebook which has lower reach on average compared to video. I am also of the opinion of if you've spent good money on creating a fantastic video, then you should always support it with some media spend to make sure that it is seen by people.

  2. Continuing to talk about brand and brand ownership, the next thought was will brands want to solely produce video for Facebook? In my experience, there has always been a mixture of communications; imagery, editorial and video, even from brands such as film studios who's business is film. As with all good communications, the message is the important thing to get right and the way it is delivered should fall off of the back of this, which means that the right way to communicate with people may not always be just through video (there's only so much you can get across in a short form video on Facebook).

  3. This then led us into discussing Facebook and fighting for space in the newsfeed. Organic reach dropped as more and more posts were being placed in the newsfeed, and therefore Facebook's algorithm started to only show people content the algorithm thought they would interact with. We know that Facebook give priority to the video format at the moment with videos having 135% greater organic reach compared to other posts, according to Social Media Today (2016), but will video go the same way as imagery of several years ago? Will the algorithm change with more videos being posted on Facebook meaning you'll be fighting for the space even more and the organic reach will drop off?

  4. We didn't have a full conclusion to point three, but one thing we agreed on was that Facebook tend to update their algorithm without telling anyone, so who knows how long video will have a greater organic reach compared to other post formats, or here's one for you, does the future of brand communication even live in the newsfeed with Facebook looking to dominate VR and direct messenger apps?

I feel video will continue to be a hot topic for the next few years, especially with 360 video becoming more accessible on Facebook, and VR edging closer and closer to being the norm, brands will need to continue to evolve in order to reach people organically in the newsfeed, or to limit the number of posts they do organically and go for the less but bigger way of thinking, less posts with media spend behind them.

What are your thoughts on Facebook video and organic reach? Let us know in the comments section or on Twitter at @pslondon.

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