Social media videos, and Facebook videos in particular, have become the single most effective tool for sharing educational information to the masses. This article will give you 9 tips for editing successful Facebook videos.
1. Attractive start
Make sure that the first few seconds of the video are very interesting and grab the viewer’s attention. The idea is to captivate the viewers by making them want to find out more. These few seconds are extremely crucial and will determine whether the viewer continues to watch the video or keeps scrolling down their feed. In other words, you only have about 3 seconds to convince the viewer to stay with you... use this time wisely!
2. Generate emotion in the viewer
Videos that lead the viewer to strongly feel about something are more likely to be seen as important and as "share worthy".
For example, focusing on the eyes of one individual animal who is clearly very sad, distressed or scared will probably generate more empathy in the viewer in comparison with a video showing many animals, in which it’s harder to focus on the emotions of any one of them.
3. Embedded captions
Many mobile users watch videos without sound or have difficulty to hear because of their location. This is why embedded (or hard-coded) captions are very helpful in videos that involve speaking or narrating.
There are times when the visual of the video is very powerful in itself and embedded captions might detract from the attractiveness of the video. In such cases it may be best to add the captions as a file in the video settings window.
4. Large captions & subtitles
Adding embedded captions is the first step, but this alone isn’t enough. Make sure that the captions are large enough for mobile users. If you are unsure whether or not your captions are large enough, watch the video on your mobile phone before posting it.
This is also true for subtitles.
*Tip: for better visibility of the captions, darken the area below the caption with a gradient black-transparent layer.
5. Do the captions stay long enough?
Make sure the captions (or subtitles) stay up long enough for slow readers and non-native speakers to read. In general, longer lasting captions are better. This of course should go hand-in-hand with slower narrating / speaking.
6. Watch without sound
Since most mobile users watch or start to watch Facebook videos without sound, it’s highly valuable for a video to be interesting when on mute. Try to watch the video yourself without sound and see if you find it interesting enough. If your video remains interesting without sound, it has better chances of succeeding.
7. Keep the video as concise as possible
Facebook makes sure to swamp users with attractive content. If your video is not very interesting from start to finish, it's likely that viewers will not watch it until the end. Try to remove all parts that are not interesting / valuable enough.
In most cases, this will result in a relatively short video. What length is ideal? There is no clear answer but most successful Facebook videos are less than 3 minutes long.
8. Use graphic content thoughtfully
Try to avoid using overly graphic footage to escape Facebook's censorship. When a video is censored, it stops being played automatically in the news feed and gets covered with a dark layer of 'graphic violence' warning. These actions on behalf of Facebook will diminish the exposure of the video to a minimum.
If you've decided to use graphic footage, make sure it appears later on in the video to allow the video to last longer without censorship. Videos that start with graphic content are reported to Facebook faster and more frequently, and thus get censored quicker.
If the only 'interesting' part of the video involves graphic violence, we recommend to show it at the beginning because otherwise the video will not be successful. This is because many people will not watch long enough to reach the 'interesting' part, and the video will not receive enough exposure. It's better for a video to be seen by many and then get censored, than to hardly be seen at all and never get censored.
9. Adjust the video aspect ratio to mobile phones
Since most views come from mobile phones, a square 1:1 aspect ratio is preferable to a wide-screen 16:9 aspect ratio. Sometimes it can be hard to achieve, but most times the raw material will look just fine in a 1:1 aspect ratio.
We hope these 9 tips for editing successful Facebook videos will help you reach more people!
Below you can find several examples of our editing works, where we tried to follow these guidelines.