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Why video completion rate is key on Facebook

Along with the meteoric rise of using video on social media, a number of analytics have also become popular for measuring effectiveness. The question for PR professionals is: What metric should you really pay attention to? Views? Click-throughs? Likes? Shares? Engagement? Brand lift? Web traffic? ROI?

While all of these measurements can be used to gauge success in some way based on a specific set of objectives, the single metric that should be most important to public relations teams should be completion rate. 

Completion rate rules
Completion rate is the one metric that offers a clear indication of how truly engaged your audience is. Likes, shares and comments are great, but if no one watches your video after the first few seconds, then no one is experiencing your full message. Or forming the desired perception about your brand.

But don’t get the wrong impression. A 100 percent completion rate does not necessarily have to be the goal for every video that your team posts on Facebook. Completion rate is directly related to how long it takes to make your point. Some PR videos can span three minutes. But they tell their story in the first 15 or 20 seconds, and then reinforce it for the remaining time. So if viewers watch, say only 50 percent of it, they’ve still gotten the full story. Yet, if the the video is only 10 or 15 seconds long, chances are you’ll need your targets to watch the entire clip to form an opinion. So the same 50 percent completion rate percentage wouldn’t cut it.

The point is to decide how long your content needs to be to tell your story authentically and deliver on what you need to fulfill your promise to your viewers—and shape their opinion of your brand. Even though your goal is PR, it’s also important to acknowledge the personal nature of social media. You’re not pitching directly to media all the time. Sometimes you’re creating video content that you hope will get enough consumer buzz to drive media attention. 

Brevity is key
Now, here’s the wrinkle. Research shows that you have only three seconds after someone clicks “play” to capture a viewer’s attention with a video on social media. And in just 60 seconds, studies show that you will have lost more than 45 percent of your audience. So whether your Facebook video is for media pick up, building brand awareness or launching products, you must ensure that it is as compelling as possible.

Tips to help boost results
Here are strategic tips you’ll want to start integrating into your PR videos to make sure audiences stay glued to their screens and help boost your completion rates.

1. Picture your audience. No matter whom you you’re trying to reach with your video, keep in mind that they don’t want to hear the safe corporate message. Create a real, motivating reason for people to care about what you’re saying. Do your research. Tap into core beliefs. Tell viewers something new and profoundly interesting, like the founders of the luxury travel blog Roamaroo did in this brand-establishing video. They don’t just travel. They quit their jobs, sold all their possessions and are doing what they love—the exact thing many in the working world dream about and will want to share with others. More importantly, they’re showing and letting others experience their wanderlust in an authentic way . . . and in the process the video builds credibility for their brand.

2. Follow your target media outlets on social media. Let’s say your goal is to get social news and media channel BuzzFeed to pick up and share your video message. First, see what types of videos they post and share and get an idea of what resonates with them. If you want your next video to be noticed, include some of the elements that they typically respond to. With any luck, they’ll share yours.

Or think about your taget media another way. If BuzzFeed is indeed your target, why not share their original content (and tag them) on facebook to supplement a video you create/ For example, this classic Buzzfeed quiz  could have been used in conjunction with a video produced by one of the new, popular fro-yo brands. Buzzfeed would have been sure to notice.

3. Understand what auto-play really means. Since Facebook and Instagram introduced the “auto-play” functionality, where a video automatically begins playing (with the sound off) as soon as you reach it in your feed, video engagement has gone through the roof. In fact, Facebook itself reports that 80 percent of the videos posted on its channel are now viewed with the sound turned off. So it’s become more important than ever to use visuals to grab hold of and maintain the attention of viewers. Integrate copy into your video that helps to tell the story visually—without the need for sound. Here’s one example.

4. Place videos within Facebook. The old model of content distribution used to be to upload a video to a hosting platform like YouTube or Vimeo and then share the link through social channels (like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) However, research from SearchEngine Journal shows that videos placed natively within the social channel receive more than two times the reach and four times the engagement then when videos are shared via a link to an outside service provider.

 5. Make your posts engaging. When posting a video, often the headline or post copy can be as important as the content of the video itself when it comes to getting viewership. Like a great newspaper story, your post copy should really draw in the viewer and make watching your content seem like a necessary action. With millions of video content shared on social media everyday, the ability to stand out can often come in the smallest ways, like making your Facebook copy highly engaging or intriguing, writing a stand-out headline or title, featuring an attractive image or including click-through links to supporting information.

Used in combination, these tips will help you maximize the use of video to enhance your PR strategies. Remember, it’s all about creating momentum for target audiences to click play and watch . . . ‘til the final scene.

This article was originally published in PR News Video GuideBook.

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