What the Rise of Native Video on Facebook & Twitter Means for Brands

Native video will be one of the dominant elements of major social networks in the years to come. Here’s a look at some of the key concerns for brands


Winter storm Juno was what finally did it for me. I’d been seeing more and more autoplay videos in my Facebook News Feed over the previous few months, but during the storm it seemed like 2/3rds of the stories in my Newsfeed were native videos. There were plenty from people enjoying their snow days, as well as a huge number from brands or publishers I follow.

Video, it’s been pointed out, is having something of a moment right now. It currently accounts for 78 percent of all web traffic (in terms of data, not time spent), and that number is only poised to grow.

And native video is seeing even faster growth. Native here meaning native on social networks, i.e. videos that are uploaded to or created on social networks and played in-feed, as opposed to links to videos hosted on other sites.

Native video will be one of the dominant elements of major social networks in the years to come. Here’s a look at some of the key concerns for brands.

First, Twitter just rolled out its native video tools, available in the latest iOS and Android updates. Here are the basics of how it works.

Users can shoot and edit video in the app—you can shoot clips as short as one second and rearrange them to create a video up to 30 seconds. You can also upload videos up to 30 seconds from the camera roll. The interface for shooting and editing video is really well done. Advertisers get a good deal more time to play with; videos can be up to 10 minutes long.

Twitter had been testing native promoted video with advertisers leading up to the announcement. It’s not clear if the new focus on video for the network will mean different options for advertisers soon, but it seems likely.

I’ve already started seeing a lot of videos cropping up on Twitter, and it’s easy to imagine them becoming even more dominant on the network.

And for Facebook, I’m not the only one who’s seeing videos all over my newsfeed. They’re getting a ton of views, and those views are increasing at a staggering pace—there were over 1 billion video views a day last June, and that number is now reportedly 3 billion. And, crucially for brands that are looking for ways to connect with their fans on Facebook, natively posted videos are getting better organic reach than posts featuring videos that are hosted elsewhere, Ad Age reported.

How to nail your native videos

Facebook and Twitter, with their nine and ten digit audience numbers, also host trillions of pieces of content. Your videos compete for attention with all of it. If you don’t get people’s attention, and quickly, they’ll just scroll on by. Here are a few best practices for increasing the impact and success of your native video.

Silence is Golden

Clips need to work without sound, especially on Facebook, where autoplay means that videos will be wordless for users unless they are intriguing enough to get people to click. Master Chef Junior’s most watched video, involving gordon ramsay and pastry to the face, works just as well without sound. Enjoy.

Put your best frame forward

In a similar vein, the first frame, or first few frames in the case of autoplay, of your video need to be compelling enough to get people to stick around. Viewster, a free online video service that operates the world’s largest online film festival, noticed that the preview images and where they edited clips to start had a big impact. Even a matter of two seconds, “can make the difference between getting 10,000 and 50,000 views,” according to Hank Smith, Social Media Editor for Viewster.

Tease with text

Getting the copy right has always been important on social. Text accompanying videos should be short, but it can still make the difference between a hit and a flop.

By now, the curiosity gap as a headline writing style—vague article titles designed just to get people to click—is bringing diminishing returns.

With clips, however, there is a lot of room to tease or leave room for uncertainty in text—hinting at the content of a video can create more interest than explaining it, if done correctly.

Whatever your feelings regarding Fifty Shades may be, the copy leading into the native video makes it more intriguing than “Watch the official Fifty Shades trailer.”

What does the shift towards native video mean?

For the networks, this shift is primarily a play to increase user engagement and time spent. Even if hosted videos could be viewed on Twitter and Facebook before, native posting removes the intermediary, and increases the likelihood that people will stay on the network, instead of, say, clicking through to Youtube, then viewing other videos there.

For brands, the new emphasis on native video will likely mean the end of youtube as the central hub for all branded video content. Facebook and Twitter are making it worthwhile for companies to post content on those channels directly, and it’s not likely that will change in the near future.

And the overall trend towards video is here to stay as well. brands, if they haven’t done so already, are going to have to shift more and more resources to producing engaging, quality video.

Matthew Klein is a content manager at Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer Falcon Social. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Falcon Social enables enterprises to Listen and Engage, Publish and Measure – all from a unified platform.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.