6 Ways to Increase the Watch Time of Your Videos on Social Media

Videos are a content format that generates lots of engagement. Your target buyers are consuming video content, and the more they watch, the likelier they are to convert. So, how do you increase the watch time of videos on social media?

Does Video on Social Media Perform Well?

First, it’s important to talk about the potential for using video in social media marketing. So, what does the data say about video and engagement?

Video is a preferred content format for many. When you use it strategically, you can educate viewers and create connections. In turn, that leads to more conversions because video boosts click-through rates (CTRs).

How Video Increases CTRs

The data points above show the consumption of video and user responses to it, but does video increase CTRs?

According to a study that asked marketers about video vs. image-only ads on Facebook, 59.3 percent said video was the best format. Only 29.6 percent said images. Facebook video ads also receive 10 to 30 percent more views than other ads.

While outperforming static images, video, of course, has the best chance to convert when the watch time of videos (or completion rate) increases. The good news is that completion rates for video ads are high on average. In this data from eMarketer, completion rates are in the 80 percent range but show a slight decrease through Q1 2021.

emarketer video ad performance

Image: eMarketer

This data set refers to video ads across all mediums, but it can serve as a benchmark. Your content analytics is a starting point to see where you are on completions and where you need to go. Many factors can impact if the buyer watches the entirety of the video. Next, we’ll provide tips on how to improve those numbers.

How to Increase Watch Time of Videos on Social Media

If you want to boost the performance of your videos on social media and attract more conversions, consider these tips.

Length of Video Matters

In most cases, shorter is better. According to Vidyard, the majority of viewers (73 percent) will watch a video until the end if it’s shorter than one minute. The completion rate drops off from there. This short-form video trend is actually due to the social media influence of TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Additionally, you’re dealing with the ever-shrinking attention span of buyers. There’s also significant competition to grab the attention of your target audience.

To determine the ideal length of video for your brand, look to your current asset library and compare the length to the completions. What trends do you see? As you continue to create more video content for social media, keep monitoring this ratio to determine your sweet spot.

Starting with a Strong Hook

The intro of your video must be impactful; otherwise, people will keep scrolling. Inject personality into it and possibly some humor if appropriate. Spark curiosity by posing a question that you will answer with the content. Watch the video below to see how to deliver a great hook.

Titles and Thumbnails Set Up the Delivery of a Compelling Message

Those scrolling on social media may only see the title and thumbnail of the video, depending on settings. With the title and thumbnail, you create an expectation of what the person will get from watching the video, which is your brand promise.

If you do this well, meaning it aligns with the content, viewers are more apt to watch it through to the end. They won’t have a reaction that it’s a “bait and switch.”

Creating a Series Can Generate Buzz

If you have a meaty topic, consider creating a series. In doing so, you keep each video short while also creating buzz around the next episode. For example, if you’re introducing a new software product that has multiple tools, features, and use cases, doing one explainer video would be too long.

Instead, break it up into chapters. That way, you can focus on each component and draw users into the story, one they’ll want to keep watching.

Everyone Loves Stories: Videos with Narratives Have High Completion Rates

Brand storytelling is an essential element of content marketing. Using a narrative framework for content can drive an emotional response and connection. Your audience becomes invested in the story and doesn’t want to miss the ending. That can be very powerful, which could lead to a loyal customer.

A great example of video storytelling is the Mailchimp Presents series. They have a variety of videos and short films. Many involve customer profiles, such as the All in a Day’s Work series, focused on entrepreneurs. This show has a complete season with 12 episodes, but each one is only two minutes.

mailchimp presents video series

Image: Mailchimp

Tailoring Content to Specific Platforms Can Boost Completion Rate

Each social media site is different, so you’ll need content that best aligns with each platform. In your content strategy, you’ve defined the social media channels you’re using and how. That should influence the video content you produce as well.

For example, a Twitter video may be more stat-driven. An Instagram one, on the other hand, may be more aspirational. You can tell the same story in both, but tweak it to match the audience and experience for each social media platform.

Improving Watch Time for Social Media Videos: Leverage These Tips for Success

By leveraging these tips and monitoring the data around completion times, you can continue to finesse your approach to social media videos. When you do, you’ll see an increase in watch time and more conversions.

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