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Which Social Platform Is Right For Your Next Video Marketing Campaign?

Are you thinking about marketing with video in social media, but not sure which platform will get you the best results for your videos? Well, you’re on the right track and asking the right questions because…

Customers LOVE Video:

  • 85% of Americans watch videos online. [comScore]
  • 45% of people watch more than 1 hour of Facebook or YouTube videos per week. [Wordstream]
  • 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others. [Invodo]

And Video Drives Business:

  • Viewers are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a product video. [Internet Retailer]
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. [Internet Retailer]

But There Are So Many Video Platforms!

Where should you publish your videos? There are so many platforms to choose from!

Just to name a few:

  • YouTube videos
  • Facebook videos
  • Instagram videos
  • Snapchat videos
  • LinkedIn videos
  • Twitter videos
  • Pinterest videos

Can you really create and post video on all the platforms… especially when they all have different specs and requirements?

All the Specs & Requirements for the Major Video Platforms

Each platform has different requirements for video size, size ratios, lengths… and they each treat audio and captions differently.

Horizontal Video

  • YouTube: 16:9 or 4:3 ratio, 854 x 480 pixels, 12 to 360 seconds, audio on by default.
  • Facebook: 16:9, 600 pixel minimum width, 720p, up to 240 minutes, but average view length is 15 seconds, audio muted by default, so captions are a great idea!
  • LinkedIn: 4:3 or 16:9, up to 30 seconds, but the best are under 15 seconds, audio muted by default.
  • Twitter: 16:9 or 1:1 ratio, 640 x 360 pixels, 140 seconds.

Square Video 

  • Instagram: 1:1, 600 x 315 pixels, 16 second maximum, audio muted by default, captions are a great idea.
  • Twitter can be square too, as you see above…
  • Something to consider- some tests say people respond more to square videos on mobile while horizontal videos perform better on desktop, regardless of platform. https://blog.bufferapp.com/square-video-vs-landscape-video.

Vertical Video

  • Snapchat: canvas fullscreen: 9:16 ratio, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 3-10 seconds, audio on by default; expand to long form with different video.
  • Pinterest: 9:16 ratio, 240 pixels wide min, up to 30 minutes.

For more details, check out this infographic on video specs.

(And I’ll come back to this topic later for the question- is there a way to create one or two videos that work for all of these? There is!)

Can You Get Big Video Exposure & Results Without Ads?

Some marketers may think, “I’ll just post my videos on all the networks! Then we’ll be good, right? I’ll get tons of exposure!”

A good idea, but not always true in practice.

Are you looking at your actual stats to see how many people you do reach with unpaid social video?

Most people are surprised by their actual reach numbers- it’s not as many as they thought!

Is your actual reach anywhere near the number of potential customers you need to reach?

Wait- how many customers do you need to reach?

How many customers are out there for you and how many should you be reaching?

Most businesses haven’t given thought to having actual quantified awareness goals.

When you start to think about the 10,000’s, 100,000’s, or perhaps 1,000,000’s of potential customers you want to reach…

And when you ask yourself: “How often do I want my future customers to hear from me so that I make an impression in their brains and they don’t forget about me?”…

“And how many times do they have to see me before they take me seriously and want to buy from me?”

You begin to realize that serious weekly or monthly reach goals are hard to achieve without advertising.

A few people are lucky enough to strike on some type of content that quickly gets them a lot of exposure, but most businesses have a harder time creating great content that can sustain itself without a little push.

Some businesses choose to only do unpaid social because they don’t have an ad budget or they think they can get away with saving the money, but our experience with the data and case studies of the successes and failures indicates that advertising gives you a much better chance of success because of three major factors…

3 Reasons Video Advertising Rocks

  1. YOU GET IN FRONT OF THE RIGHT PEOPLE: Do you want to be sure you reach your target customer? That can be a challenge when you go unpaid only. There are specific audiences that are very hard to reach that all but require the targeting features of ad networks to get in front of: for example, people outside your brand’s connections, many B2B targets, and the people who are on social media less often or are less active.
  2. YOU REACH ENOUGH PEOPLE: If a YouTube video plays in a forest and no one is around, does it make a sound? If you want to be sure people see your video, ads help out a lot. You can’t control how many people see your video- look at your reach and impressions, and compare that to even a small-spend ad campaign, and you quickly see how limited unpaid reach is in most cases.
  3. YOU GET BUSINESS RESULTS: If you want significant views, traffic and sales from your videos, ads are important. Ad platforms give you an environment to look at multiple creative at the same time and discover which resonates best with your target audience. You’ll know for sure which video is best at achieving your business goals. Overall, this boosts your views, traffic and sales, and puts you ahead of the competition.

So, if you choose to advertise…

How much ad spend do you devote to each channel?

Or should you focus your ad spend all on one platform that best fits your current campaign? And for your campaign goals and your videos, which is best platform for that?

That’s what we’ll answer in this next section…

Video Goals and Metrics

What are the strengths of each network for video?

Every network achieves different results for different goals and with each metric.

The easiest way to illustrate this is to show the range of performance we’ve seen on each networks for a variety of our clients in 2018.

A few notes on the chart: every industry and audience is different, and the more you optimize, the better your metrics will be. Your mileage may vary a bit from our chart, but should be in the same ballpark. Also note, these numbers are for video ads only, not for other types of ads.

Who’s Watching Each Video Platform?

One way to choose a platform for your video is to look at who the users of each network are, and which network is best at reaching which specialized audiences, research from Pew:

  • YouTube- biggest number of users, but 5th in frequency of use.
  • Facebook- second most users, but the most frequently used (51% of users visit multiple times per day), so much so that there are still more 18-29 year olds on FB than Instagram or Snapchat, slightly more female than male.
  • Instagram- younger audience, with Facebook powered targeting, growing faster than Snapchat, third in frequency of use, slightly more female than male.
  • Snapchat- youngest audience, not as good targeting, but second in frequency of use.
  • LinkedIn- professionals, better B2B targeting, but less time on site than other social networks, bigger proportion of college grads than FB or Insta, highest proportion of high income households, evenly male and female.
  • Twitter- like LinkedIn, a bigger proportion of college grads than FB or Insta, evenly male and female, only 26% of users visit multiple times per day.
  • Pinterest- much more female than male.

Yet another great source for checking which platform you should be on is Buzzsumo. You can analyze the content for any keyword and find out on which platforms the most engagement happens. Here’s some analysis on the “staffing and recruiting” industry:

Note that according to Buzzsumo’s data for the staffing and recruiting industry, List posts, How-to’s and Videos do best in that industry…

So if you’re making a video, why not use a list-post format when creating your video, or do a how-to video? 😉

Rules of Thumb for Choosing Your Platform

Next up, I want to give you what I see to be biggest strengths of each network in our experience with clients. If this seems simplistic, understand that my goal here is to give you rules of thumb to start your strategy with, not overgeneralizations to end with!

  • YouTube- Best for getting long video views, if you want to do in-depth content. Harder than other platforms to drive website traffic with.
  • Facebook- Best for website traffic, leads and sales from video.
  • Instagram- Hipper, younger, positive lifestyle audience using FB’s awesome ad platform- so it’s another good source of traffic, leads and sales.
  • Snapchat- New and affordable. Very unproven. Jury is out.
  • LinkedIn- Reach the upscale, smart business people and decision makers. Expensive but high quality for those purposes.
  • Twitter- Reach smart geeky people. If you have customers who prefer books over TV & movies, but want to do video to them, Twitter and LinkedIn make sense.
  • Pinterest- Reach women who like crafts, cosmetics and do-it-yourself projects.

Conclusion: How Many Platforms Does Your Video Really Need to Be On?

Obviously, you can easily post your video organically, without ads, everywhere, as long as you deal with the specs. And it makes sense, if you have time, to get it out in as many places as possible.

But how many platforms should you actually spend money on? If you’re not careful, your spend and time will get divided so much that you won’t have much impact anywhere.

Can you reach the same people on one platform without having to be on five of them?

According to the research from Pew:

  • A lot of the same people use YouTube, Facebook and Instagram…
  • But Twitter users aren’t necessarily LinkedIn users, and
  • LinkedIn users aren’t necessarily Twitter users.

That means that you may only need to be spending on two or three platforms, max!

Takeaway Strategy #1: Focus Your Video Ad Platform Choices Down to One or Two

Based on all the successes, failures, efficiencies and wasted money that I’ve seen in digital marketing over the last 20 years, I’m a big believer in the 80-20 rule.

You’ll get the best ROI by doing the 20% of things that yield 80% of the results.

Focus on the one out 5 video ad platforms that yields 80% of the results… even if you have a lot of resources- get really good at the most popular, most effective networks that have your best customers rather than being a mediocre jack of all networks.

The platform that’s your 20% may vary with your audience and goal, but for most companies these days that want traffic, leads or sales, without a doubt it’s Facebook.

At The Brian Carter Group, we recommend that most businesses run ads on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google AdWords.

If you have a special audience-related need or goal-related need (not just a personal philosophy) that dictates that Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or another network would be a better fit, then add it on or substitute it.

But unless you have really solid proof (not just opinions) that they’re not good for your industry or goal, all the data and case studies I’ve seen suggest you should first get good at getting results from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

This rule of thumb frees you to focus on just Facebook and Instagram, or just Facebook and YouTube and get great results. You don’t have to worry about missing out.

So, takeaway #1 is maximize your spend and your focus by only advertising your video on a few platforms:

  • Facebook and Instagram, or
  • Facebook and YouTube, or
  • Instagram and YouTube, or
  • Facebook and LinkedIn, or
  • LinkedIn and YouTube

Takeaway Strategy #2: The Retargeting Add-On to Cover Your Bases

But if you are worried about missing out by being to narrow on your platform choices, just add retargeting on the other networks to make sure you’re present to some degree- it’s not a big time or money investment to do that. That way you’d do something like this combination

  • Cold audiences and retargeting on your main platforms from Takeaway #1 above. For example, you might do Facebook ads, both video view and conversion campaign types for traffic, leads and sales. PLUS
  • Instagram retargeting ads
  • YouTube remarkateting ads
  • Twitter retargeting ads
  • LinkedIn retargeting ads

Now you’ve got your main focus driving a lot of traffic and visibility from both new people and retargeting AND you’re covering your bases by being visible to all these people on multiple networks via retargeting. Because retargeting spends are typically small, and the campaigns are much easier to set up, you’re not wasting time or money, you’re not a jack of all trades master of none. You’re increasing your bang for your buck without having to worry about focusing so much that you’ve left something out.

And that’s the best of both worlds.