Late last year, I attended a Facebook conference about video best practices. And to be honest, it’s been a huge help. The conference really solidified some of the things I’ve been doing recently, like cinemagraphs for Warrior Dash, or cool recipe videos and GIFs. And it dove deep into some of the things I had on my mind.

Defining Audience Segments

What’s helped me a lot more than I expected was taking a look at some audience segments in a new context. I’ve leaned into short, front-loaded videos that don’t depend on sound. And to be honest, those are still king. The thumb is now the remote control, and people move fast. So you still need to wow audiences on their own feed. But people are coming to terms with social videos, and that’s apparent in these audience segments:

On-the-go People

This audience doesn’t have much time. They are generally passing the time and cruising their timeline. That means short, front-loaded videos with limited sound are best. Cinemagraphs, GIFs, loops, and boomerangs (all framed vertically, of course) are best for this audience.

The Lean Forward

These people have a little more time to take in the video. They are likely working on a desktop or laptop and taking a quick break. They are able to engage with the video. 360˚ video, carousels, canvas ads are all appropriate for those who lean forward.

The Lean Back

People who can sit back and enjoy video are the majority of this audience. They tend to have longer attention spans and they may even be actively following a brand or an influencer. Generally, they are part of a community. This audience prefers live feeds, Facebook InStream ads, and influencers. They relax by checking out some videos, so they engage a little bit later in the day.

70/20/10 Audience Rule

And while this is a best-case scenario, not a basic, it’s still a good idea to aim for a mix of content when planning for a campaign using video. Ideally, the 70/20/10 ratio would work best. 70% of your content should fall into On-the-go audience segment. You can make a lot of stuff and get it in front of a lot of people—this audience is the largest. The next 20% should cater to the Lean Forward crowd. Ideally, they’ll have already had some exposure to your campaign and be able to engage a little more. And finally, the remaining 10% should focus on deep engagement with the Lean Back audience.

Obviously, this won’t work for every video campaign and brand, but it’s a great baseline to start with. It focuses on grabbing attention, creating a connection, and then deep engagement. It also helps you balance your budget, too.

Abide by the Basics

Don’t forget, there are some pretty good ground rules for using videos on social media. These are the baselines I use when approaching a social video project, in addition to keeping my audience in mind.

  • Format for mobile: Go with 2:3 over 16:9—most people are watching this way
  • Stay quiet: Most folks aren’t actively listening on their mobile devices, so don’t depend on sound
  • Front load the good stuff: People are quick to thumb past your video. so put the exciting news up front

As you go ahead with your video campaign, please take these rules into consideration. Remember how ubiquitous social media is, but don’t forget that there is an audience that is looking for deeper engagement.

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