No online marketer can afford to ignore the video trends that have been developing over the past three years. We're now in a video-first world. The rise of online video should have come as no surprise. Most users now consume their content through an unlimited mobile data feed on their 4G mobile device, a far cry from the janky telephone modems of 20 years ago. All this high-speed, stream-anywhere data sloshing around has created a culture of casual video consumption. The morning commute and bedtime binge alike are now free ranges for ambitious video marketers to set out and stake their claims.

According to Hubspot, in 2020, 92% of marketers now say that video is an integral part of their strategy. All the signs suggest that video usage and production will surge over the next year and beyond. This is it, content marketers, we're in a new era of the internet. Are you ready to jump on board?

How to create video content that converts

Across our video marketing campaigns, we've managed to hone the creation of video content into fine art. Converting well is all about reaching your audience at the right time with the right message. Considering that more than 500 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every single day, and taking into account the fact that Facebook's algorithmic targeting tools for marketers are second to none, Facebook's audience should be the primary target for your videos.

But how do you use these insights to create videos that will convert well on Facebook? More traditional marketers are sometimes wary of the quality of traffic on Facebook. It's common to hear that Facebook users are, for the most part, disinterested in your product. While this is true, and social media users are seldom scrolling with their credit cards out ready to buy, you have to take advantage of this fact to build a marketing funnel.

Yes, that's right; the top level of video marketing on Facebook is all about building a funnel. You'll convert a small percentage of the initial viewers, or "cold" traffic, but the real money is made when you can retarget your ads to people you already know are interested.

So focus on building ads that engage with your audience, and use that top-level to collect email addresses so you can follow up with email marketing.

5 helpful tips for compelling social media videos

For the most part, your videos are going to get sandwiched between family photos, and posts from groups when your potential customer first encounters them. If you've set up your targeting right, and with a little sprinkle of magic from the Facebook algorithm, your video is likely to be presented to a Facebook user who's interests, and past behaviour overlaps with your ideal customer's.

This crucial first impression is where the scroll stopper comes in. You can't count on your content's relevance alone to do the work for you and get the user to engage. You have to catch their attention quickly.

  1. Skip the intros The biggest mistake I see with Facebook video marketing is the lengthy intros and title cards. Intro mania is a sure way to set your audience off yawning and is a guaranteed scroll. So keep your intro tight, concise, introduce your user to the most important part of the video in the first 5 seconds, and skip your logo. Seriously, users don't care about your logo, and they'll be able to see your logo as your page's avatar on the ad anyway.
  2. Human faces work best Face perception in humans is an ancient, hard-wired biological process. It's such a strong instinct that most people don't even struggle to see faces in formless shapes, like clouds or tree trunks. You can take advantage of this primordial impulse to stop people from scrolling past your ads. The best sorts of videos are live, shot like a selfie video with a person talking directly into the camera. Cartoons or animations don't work. And no matter how beautiful your stock video, a human face will always capture the user's attention best.
  3. Use subtitles On Facebook and Instagram, videos are initially muted. The user has to specifically un-mute to hear the video's audio. This is great for marketers since it allows you to include subtitles in your video, which means the viewer will subliminally take in the sentence even before they would have watched the video long enough to hear what's being said. Videos with dialogue but no subtitles are doomed to fail. But do be careful, the algorithm artificially penalises Facebook videos with more than 20% of the screen space taken up by text. So make sure your subtitles are large enough to be seen, but not large enough to inflate your CPMs due to the algorithmic penalty
  4. Keep things short Videos under 30 seconds are best since it will give interested users time to watch right to the end. Full video views register as a positive ranking signal to the algorithm on Facebook's side, and you may be able to build an audience based on full video views to help your remarketing efforts.
  5. Nail the ad copy If you follow the above tips, your video will be great. But the first 50 characters of the ad copy can still work hard to pique your potential customer's interest in your product or service. Use emojis, CAPS and compelling language in your ad copy like tools in your toolbox when writing your copy. Remember, as people watch your video, they're likely to expand your ad copy and read what you've written there. You can use this space to provide valuable extra context and drive conversions.

The most important rule: Continuously improve

The wealth of data available to marketers today is the most significant advantage of doing digital marketing. Modern creative isn't "design by committee". If you're building an ad, pushing it out and letting it run for three months with no intervention, you're doing it wrong.

Your ad design process should be the result of a continuous conversation between you and your audience, mediated by the algorithm. The feedback from click-through rates, CPMs, and even direct comments from your users should all inform your design process.

Your ad will evolve as it runs, and by the end of the two-week learning phase, it will be like honed steel - ready to cut through the noise and deliver your message where it matters.