What Facebook Watch Means for Marketers

What Facebook Watch Means for Marketers

It was only a matter of time.

Just like Amazon, YouTube, and Netflix before it, Facebook officially entered the video streaming game with Facebook Watch.

What is Facebook Watch, and what does it mean for you your marketing strategy?

What is Facebook Watch?

Launched in 2017 to select users in the U.S. via mobile, desktop, and TV apps, Facebook Watch is the company’s entrée into episodic streaming video.

Videos range from mini-documentaries to live sporting events, courtesy of partnerships with Major League Baseball. There was a set group of publishers at launch, but the company opened it up to other creators.

How Does Facebook Watch Make Money?

Facebook Watch is monetized through ad breaks. The producing partners earn 55% of ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45%.

what does facebook watch look like.

What Makes Facebook Watch Different From Other Streaming Services?

The streaming video space is undeniably crowded, so Facebook had to find a way to make Facebook Watch stand out. There are three main ways Facebook Watch is different, all of which bode well for its staying power.

  1. Original video content: Viewed through a new tab called “Watch,” the content is mostly exclusive to Facebook Watch and can’t be seen anywhere else (with the exception of the live content available through deals like the one with Major League Baseball).
  2. Free: Because it’s monetized through ad breaks, Facebook Watch is totally free for the viewing audience. All they have to do is be logged in to their Facebook account.
  3. Personalized: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook Watch is hyper-personalized in a way no streaming platform has been before.

The New “Social Viewing” Trend: Facebook Watch Alternatives

Facebook Watch’s personalization takes advantage of everything users already love about the platform – it’s personal, and it’s social. People love getting recommendations for the things they love, and they love sharing those things with friends.

  • Facebook Watch provides personalized recommendations in its Discover tab, using fun, Facebook-esque categories like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching.”
  • Subscribing to a show instantly connects Facebook users with fellow fans through show-linked Groups.
  • During a show, Facebook users get access to a live comment section where they can chat with other viewers and friends in real-time.

All these features indicate a strong focus on social viewing. While the social viewing trend is new, we have seen it before.

For example, Tumblr launched its video chat service Cabana (which is now defunct). The app functioned like a Tumblr/FaceTime hybrid, where users could see friends’ reactions in real-time as they all watch a video together.

cabana video app, facebook watch alternative.

However, Tumblr didn’t have the massive audience that Facebook enjoys.

Social viewing veteran YouTube made some changes, too. YouTube added in-app chat to its Android and iOS apps.

Previously, users could only share videos out to other apps, such as Twitter or text message, but now conversations can also happen natively on YouTube.

The interface is similar to Google Hangouts and appears to be YouTube’s answer to the messaging functionality offered by Instagram and Snapchat.

youtube in chat messanger similar to facebook watch

When multiple social media platforms follow suit, it’s a sure sign a new trend is here to stay. Social viewing is not going away, so how can marketers take advantage of it?

What Facebook Watch Means for Marketers

Facebook has 1.82 billion users who sign on to the site every day. For anyone who’s wondering, their monthly active users just hit 2.7 billion.

Either number means Watch is a major initiative at Facebook that marketers should not ignore. Facebook plans to integrate Watch episodes into the News Feed, and the company has a track record of using the News Feed to drive new features to success.

Here are four ways Facebook Watch is changing the game for marketers.

1. Ads Will Likely Become More Important for Facebook Advertisers

In an increasingly internet-marketing-savvy world, people are getting better at tuning ads out. Google actually gave up on its right sidebar ads and removed them.

Fortunately for advertisers, Facebook Watch holds great promise.

There’s a lot of noise in a Facebook user’s News Feed, so it’s not always easy for your ad to grab attention. With video, you have a captive audience who is stuck watching your ad. They can’t simply scroll down their feed to get away from it.

Longer videos will increase the effectiveness of ad break and mid-roll ads. If Facebook adds social engagement functionality within the ads themselves, such as reactions and sharing, they’ll perform even better.

Traditional television has been on a downward trend for years. Facebook Watch is accelerating the shift of ad dollars from TV to digital and mobile.

2. Facebook Watch Gives Influencers and Social Creators a Powerful Channel

As promising as the ad breaks are, it’s notable that Facebook Watch publishers can opt-out of them entirely.

Instead, they can make money through product placement, as long as they tag the sponsor for transparency. This has huge implications for budding videographers, actors, singers, and documentarians who hope to fund their growth via influencer partnerships.

The rise of the influencer owes much of its success in large part to YouTube. But Facebook Watch could be even more fruitful for influencers.

For instance, Facebook Watch opens up viewing patterns that are less search-oriented than YouTube. Users who watch or subscribe to programs will see those appear in their News Feed along with the other daily updates from friends, rather than having to go to YouTube to check for the latest uploads.

This gives influencers the opportunity to increase engagement through video, as fan affinity with influencers will become even more important.

3. Facebook Live Is Important for Brands

Facebook Live, along with Instagram Live, quickly gained popularity with brands.

Facebook Live allows brands to humanize themselves and connect with fans in real-time. The live shows and events on Facebook Watch do the same.

What resonates with your fans? Do they prefer a structured video format, or something more casual? How often do they want to watch?

Daily shows in particular could be a goldmine for brands. The frequency keeps users coming back, ensuring a lucrative return for product placement or ad breaks. That consistent association with their favorite show could help consumers fall in love with your brand.

4. Facebook Watch Changes the Game for Video Content Marketers

Facebook emphasized the community aspect of Facebook Watch in their official announcement:

Three of the four bullet points in the release mentioned connection and bringing people together. Even the few seed shows Facebook funded are touted as “community-oriented” video series.

It makes sense: The sense of community is what led people to fall in love with the platform in the first place.

Because of this, Facebook Watch videos tend to see higher sharing and social engagement rates than other platforms.

The current list of Facebook Watch programming focuses on reality shows, mini-documentaries, and sports coverage – aligning it more with YouTube than the heavy dramas and comedies of other streaming networks.

But while YouTube optimized for how-to and short-form content, Facebook Watch expands opportunities to longer-form videos as well as pure entertainment and passively consumed content.

Video content marketers should create content that fits into those categories and fosters real-time community discussion. Perhaps for the first time, content should be created with the platform in mind first and foremost. Successful videos on Facebook Watch will encourage and facilitate real-time conversations.

Conclusion

Facebook Watch is great for all marketers. The people on your paid social team will enjoy seeing more eyeballs on their ads, and the organic folks will get more “authentic” opportunities to align themselves with influencers.

More and more, brands want to be seen as friends, not corporations. Facebook Watch lets them do just that. If you are ready to give it a try (or improve your strategy), check out this advanced guide to Facebook Watch.

Have you tried Facebook Watch? What results have you seen?

3 Short-Form Video Trends Online Marketers Should Watch in 2021

3 Short-Form Video Trends Online Marketers Should Watch in 2021

Let’s face it, we love videos.

Videos of cats, babies tasting lemons for the first time, food recipes — you name it, we love it. And when it comes to marketing, this still rings true. Recent data shows that video content is one of the most influential forms of marketing out there.

A 2020 study by Wyzowl reported that people share videos at twice the rate than any other form of content. It also found that 84% of people were convinced to buy a product or service based on the brand’s video.

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More recently, short-form videos have taken over social media platforms.

So, how can you leverage short-form content to grow your business? And what are some trends to look for in 2021? See what HubSpot marketing experts are saying, below.

But there’s no universal number that everyone has agreed on. For instance, a short-form video on Twitter can be up to 2:20 minutes. On TikTok and Triller, it’s 60 seconds. On Instagram Reels, it’s even shorter: 30 seconds.

Brandon Sanders, a digital marketer for HubSpot Academy, highlights that what’s considered short-form can also depend on the platform.

“With the rise of platforms like TikTok, Reels, and Vine, short form video is actually getting shorter and lending itself more to 60-second to two-minute videos,” he said. “I think the perception of short-form content on platforms like YouTube is actually around that 10-minute sweet spot because content on YouTube tends to be more comprehensive and longer.”

So, when you’re thinking of short-form video, Youtube is the exception, whereas TikTok and other growing short-form videos are the rule.

How do short-form videos fit into your content strategy?

Aside from length, one thing that set short-form videos apart is the trend culture. TikTok, for instance, is run by dances, sounds and social challenges. So, to get on the “For You” page on TikTok — which is equal to the “Explore” page on Instagram — brands must often join in on the fun.

Sanders says short-form videos give creators an innovative way to showcase their content.

“The growth of social media is causing the human attention span to become shorter and shorter,” he said. “So, leveraging the power of short-form content will give you a leg up on your competition and help engage your audience.”

As with any new trend or platform, HubSpot Senior Content Strategist Amanda Zantal-Wiener says you should always consider your audience first.

“It all goes back to a very old question: Which channels are your audiences using and for what?” she said. “And therefore, for which channels does it make the most sense for your business to create this short-form content?”

This means that while short-form video is often known for its entertainment value, you can adapt it to align with your brand.

Short-Form Video Trends to Look Out For

1. More User-Generated Content (UGC)

Consumers generally love UGC. In fact, it influences their purchasing decisions more than brand- or influencer-generated content. Without using up too many resources, brands can publish videos that evoke emotion. Another benefit? It’s budget-friendly.

Short-Form Video Example: Chipotle

@chipotle

Out of this world delivery ha @cheekyboyos #chipotle #burrito #space #fyp

♬ original sound Chipotle

This is a great example of how you can leverage user-generated content in your strategy. In this instance, Chipotle collaborated with these content producers to create a fun, viral-worthy video.

One of Chipotle’s target audiences might be young, college students looking for inexpensive meals. This video features two creators who reflect the audience they may want to attract. Brands should keep this in mind when considering UGC and ask, “will my audience relate to this?” If the answer’s “yes,” move forward.

2. More Behind-the-Brand Videos

Consumers seek out authenticity and transparency in brands. With short-form video, you only have a few seconds to connect with your audience.

So, how do you do that? Well, there’s no exact science to it, but consumers tend to feel more connected to brands that show the people behind the brand. In one Sprout Social study, 70% of consumers said they felt more connected to brands whose CEO is active on social media platforms.

So, going into 2021, brands should pull back the curtain and engage with their audiences on a more personal level.

Short-Form Video Example: Sierra Nicole

@sierranicoleofficial

Text letsgrow to 81257 for biz credit tips ☺️ #entrepreneur #businesstiktok

♬ Sean Kingston feat. Chris Brown & Wiz Khalifa- “Beat It” – TBT 24/7 🎵

Trendy? Check. Informative? Check. Prompts action? Check! This video works because it has all the ingredients for an effective short-form video.

It first grabs the viewer’s attention by including a popular song and dance. The content addresses pain points viewers may be facing. Then, the call-to-action (CTA) in the caption rounds out the video by turning viewers into potential leads.

3. More Explainer or Educational Videos

In 2021, brands will likely focus on educational content in their short-form videos. Think how-to’s, DIYs, and explainer videos. A 2020 Wyzowl report found that viewers want to see more of this video style from brands.

Educational videos are great added-value content because they help audiences in their day-to-day lives. Brands that make education a priority in their marketing strategy can improve lead generation and build stronger brand loyalty. Similarly, explainer videos target users who are at the decision-making stage of the buyer’s journey and, if done right, they can turn decision-makers into customers.

It’s a win-win situation: Brands get to address their audience’s pain points and offer solutions, which is (surprise!) them. Not sure what I mean? See the example below.

Short-Form Video Example: Soy Yo Candle

Soy Yo Candle used this formula to create this short-form video. Presumably, one of the biggest struggles of owning candles is making them last. In just a few seconds, the brand presented a problem, offered a solution, and promoted their product. It can be as simple as that.

Another highlight in this video is that it caters to viewers who may be discovering the brand and those who already know it. Because of the value it offers, the brand can reach a broader audience organically.

Takeaways for Video Marketers

Short-form video requires taking a more authentic, human, and creative approach to marketing. Kelsi Yamada, an associate marketing manager who works on HubSpot’s social media campaigns, says it’s a low-commitment and engaging way to connect with your audience.

“You can get a good laugh or learn something new in a minute or less on TikTok or Reels,” said Yamada. “On the flip side, it’s also relatively easy to create, which means there are more people who can share their humor or points of view. Because of this, brands should figure out what their unique point of view is, and how they can stand out in the noise.”

The desire to be on-trend is always tempting. But Yamada stresses that brands should be selective about which trends they partake in.

“Not every viral TikTok sound or meme format will align with your content strategy or brand, so don’t force it,” she said. “Focus on catering to your niche and staying authentic first. Don’t be afraid to make something completely from scratch – trends have to start somewhere!”

With this in mind, it’s all about finding the balance between what’s trending and what’s on-brand for your business.

1. TikTok

With 69% of its users between 13 and 24 years old, TikTok is definitely the platform of the Millennial and Gen Z population.

TikTok video short form video example

Image Source

The TikTok homepage features a timeline of videos separated in two tabs. The “Following” tab with videos posted by the user’s followers, and the algorithm-driven “For You” page based on user behavior (what they like, comment on, scroll past etc.)

TikTok Discover tab

Image Source

The “Discover” tab on TikTok highlights trending topics and hashtags, a great resource for marketers to generate new content ideas.

B2B marketers have been wary of using the platform, but it could be because success on the platform relies on emotional appeal. Yet, that emotional appeal may be exactly what they need.

According to a LinkedIn study, B2B strategies that appeal to emotions are seven times more effective for revenue generation than “rational messaging.”

So, it may be time to start practicing those dance moves.

2. Reels

Some call it TikTok 2.0, but Instagram Reels is proving to be its own beast.

Instagram Reel short form video

The Reels tab on Instagram is a scrollable video timeline, similar to what users see on their Explore page. From this page, users can click on the music the account used to see what other Reels feature that sound.

With over 1 billion active monthly users, Instagram already had consumers’ attention. When they launched Reels back in August of 2020, it became another marketing tool for brands and a worthy opponent for TikTok.Instagram caters to a broader age demographic than TikTok. And when considering their other marketing features, Reels is another way for brands to expand their reach in 30 seconds or less..

3. Triller

Triller is Tiktok’s musical theater friend (or rival), the one who bursts into song anytime, anywhere without cause or notice.

Triller Discovery Page

Triller’s homepage looks similar to other short-form video platforms. However, They have made music a prominent feature on the app by making top and trending music a main tab.

The platform is popular among musical artists and allows users to edit 60-second videos within the app. This includes music, filters, effects, and transitions. Triller grew in popularity earlier this year when there was some uncertainty surrounding a TikTok ban in the United States.

The app reports having 13 million active monthly users who spend an average of 20 minutes a day on the app. With music playing a key role on the app, marketers should use music as a storytelling element in their videos.

For instance, the song “You Got It” by Vedo, a song about unlocking your potential, has been making its rounds on Triller. A recruiting firm could use that sound to create a short video targeting job seekers. The song would also work great as a backdrop for a business coaching company advertising its services. The limit does not exist.

4. Hippo Video

If you want to take short-form video content beyond social media, there’s Hippo Video. The video marketing platform gives brands a one-stop shop to produce, distribute, and analyze their video content. Users can also embed forms, CTAs, and annotations within the video, making conversions easier.

Hippo Video Homepage

Image Source

For example, let’s say a SaaS company is launching a new product and the marketing team is using Hippo Video for the email campaign.

On launch day, they can send a product teaser video to current customers and include a “Schedule a Demo” CTA, leading users to a meeting scheduling page. During the campaign, the team can track key metrics like total plays and average watch rate — taking video analytics to another level.

5. Magisto by Vimeo

Vimeo recently acquired Magisto, a video editing software that makes video marketing easy through artificial intelligence (AI).

The first step is uploading your videos. The software will then analyze the videos and put it together based on the video editing style you’re looking for. They have over 10 editing styles ranging from real estate and fitness to Facebook and YouTube ads.

Magisto Homepage

Image Source

Once you select the style you’re looking for and the video is complete, you can distribute it on social media platforms and track the analytics.

This platform is ideal for brands that don’t want to spend too much time or too many resources on video marketing. This app does it so you don’t have to.

There are hundreds of ways to incorporate short-form videos into your marketing strategy. But no matter which trends come and go, it will always come back to your audience. Try a few approaches, and listen to where the data tells you to go next.

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The 8 Elements of Modern Web Design (And Web Design Trends to Watch)

The 8 Elements of Modern Web Design (And Web Design Trends to Watch)

Every year, we see new elements and styles in website design begin to emerge.

Some elements — when incorporated thoughtfully — help tell stories and explain your company. Other elements work to improve how content looks on a specific device. While it’s not necessary to include every trend that comes about on your website, many of them have the potential to improve your visitor’s experience.Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website Redesign

But with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to determine which ones are really worth considering. To help you narrow your focus, we’ve detailed eight important elements of modern website design that you can include to improve your site’s performance.

8 Modern Website Design Elements and Trends

1. Unique & Large Typography

Most companies have a particular font or typography that they use to help their customers immediately identify them versus their competitors. In recent years, designers have received a larger selection of fonts to choose from, making it easier for brands to more accurately express themselves through typography. 

For example, The New Yorker is recognized instantly through their use of unique font, Adobe Caslon Pro. While more unique fonts, such as Blokletters-Balpen, have begun to be used by startups and technology companies like Zero.

modern web elements unique and large typography

Why is it useful?

Typography uses one design trend across the website to lead readers to different parts of the page. For instance, The New Yorker website leads visitors from one section to another based on the typography and font sizes.

When creating your company’s brand, your choice in typography can indicate subtle hints about who you are. Are you fun or serious? Functional or informational? Regardless of what font you choose, be sure that your designer considers its applicability across browsers and computers. Choosing a font that is not supported by common browsers and computers could mean that your website displays awkwardly on different devices. 

2. Large & Responsive Hero Images

You don’t have to go far beyond the popular publishing website Medium.com to see an example of a large hero image:

modern web elements large and responsive hero imagesLarge images such as this one do away with the concept of above and below the fold. By focusing on just the image with text rather than a CTA or social buttons, Medium creates a strong visual experience that encourages you to scroll down to read more. 

Large hero images are also often placed in the background with text and other content overlaid on top, like on Uber’s website. Regardless of the approach you utilize, large images can help visually tell your story without having to rely on just text. 

Why is it useful?

Your customers are coming from all over the place and have high expectations. You may not be sure if they are finding your website from their phone, tablet, or desktop computer. The image that Medium uses above is extremely powerful, but if it was only visible from desktop computers, many people may miss it. 

That said, ensuring your images are responsive makes for a good user experience. Website visitors can look at different images — whether they are the background or product images — and be able to get the same experience no matter what device they are coming from. 

3. Background Videos

Videos that automatically play in the background can add a lot to a page. They can be used to tell a story and significantly reduce the amount of other content that is needed to explain your business.

Let’s take Wistia‘s website, for example. When you land on their homepage a large video automatically starts playing in the background, and by clicking on the play button, you get a deeper look at Wistia:

modern web elements background videos

This background video serves as a brilliant way to get the visitor engaged to click-through to the main video. 

Why is it useful?

Background videos focus on enticing the visitor from the moment they land on your page. The video allows your visitor to understand the key points about your company without ever having to read a single line of text. 

In addition, video is processed 60,000 times faster by our brains compared to text. While people are often hesitant to read heavy blocks of text, videos appear effortless and can be consumed very quickly. It also helps that connection speeds are increasing and mobile device sizes are growing, making for better video experiences.

4. Semi-Flat Design

In 2013, Apple fundamentally shifted to flat design. Simply put, flat design is any element that does not include or give the perception of three dimensions, such as shadows. Not only is flat design is easier for users to comprehend, but it can also load more quickly on websites without complicated or overly-technical elements.

Following in Apple’s footsteps, many other organizations — both large and small — have shifted to flat design. However, companies like Uber have put their own spin on the style by adding subtle shadows and dimensions. As you can see in the image below, the boxes have an element of depth with shadows around them, without overdoing it:

modern web elements semi flat design

When you scroll over any of the boxes on the Uber homepage the shadow disappears and relieves the image behind it.

Why is it useful?

Flat design helps the visitor understand your content more quickly, and adding some elements of depth can bring it to life. Regardless of whether you fully design your website using flat design or utilize shadows and other elements, it’s important to be consistent throughout your website. Ensure that your homepage, product pages, and any other key sections of your website all utilize the same design cues so that visitors can instantly understand what they’re viewing.

5. Hamburger Menus

It’s likely that most websites you come in contact with have a long menu of options to choose from. The advantage of this is that the menu can take the visitor directly to where they want to go. However, the disadvantage is that they generally take up a ton of valuable screen space. 

The hidden, or hamburger, menu changes this. This menu was common in web applications before making its way to web design — even in Google Chrome you can find a hamburger menu on the right-hand side.

modern web elements hamburger menusSource: UX movement

Wondering why it’s called a hamburger menu?

If you use your imagination, the three lines that are stacked on top of one another look like hamburger patties. Get it?

Why is it useful?

The pages of your website should have a clear path for the user to take. Removing a busy navigation makes the experience cleaner and distraction free. This improved experiences help to improve the likelihood that the user will find the information they need to complete a desired action. 

6. Giant Product Images

You may have noticed that many B2B websites are starting to display large product images on their sites to highlight different features or parts of their product. This is no coincidence. 

To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at the product page for the HubSpot Website Platform:

modern web elements giant product images

There is a large featured image at the top of this page, and as you scroll down the page there are additional in-depth product images. The images are also responsive which aims to ensure an optimized experience for viewers coming from different devices, as we mentioned earlier. 

Why is it useful?

Larger product images help designers highlight different features of a product in a more efficient and effective way.

This approach reinforces the benefits of a feature by providing the opportunity to highlight the most valuable pieces. For instance, in the second image, you will notice that there are numbers on the image corresponding with benefits of certain features.

These large images are also scan-friendly. They help visitors generate a solid understanding of what the different product features do by convey them through images instead of words.

7. Card Design

With the rise of Pinterest, designers and marketers alike have become fascinated with cards. Individual cards help distribute information in a visual way so the visitors can easily consume bite-sized pieces of content without being overwhelmed. 

Brit + Co’s homepage serves as a great example of card design in action:

modern web elements card design

By breaking up different pieces of content into cards, users can pick and choose which articles they want to expand. This helps to keep the homepage feeling clean and organized, without relying on a ton of text. 

Why is it useful?

Card design is becoming more and more popular across B2B and B2C websites because it helps to deliver easily digestible chunks of information for users. Using this design on your site can help highlight multiple products or solutions side-by-side. 

Keep in mind that your cards should be responsive. This means that as the screen size gets smaller or larger, the number and size of cards shown should adapt accordingly.

8. Short Product or Feature Videos

In addition to background videos, companies are also beginning to use short product or feature videos to highlight a specific use case. These short videos are great at bringing your solution to life, while not overwhelming the visitor with a long experience that they must sit through.

A strong example of this comes from the folks at InVision. They display this short illustrator of how easy it is to use their product by dragging-and-dropping a design directly on their homepage:

modern web elements short product or feature videos

Why is it useful?

According to Inc. Magazine, 92% of B2B customers watch online video, and 43% of B2B customers watch online video when researching products and services for their business. Therefore, B2B companies need to create videos that explain their products because it is influential in the buyer’s decision-making process.

These short videos allow for your prospect to quickly understand value without watching a really long, in-depth experience. Sure, both have value, but the shorter videos allows for quick understanding that is best for top of the funnel.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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