How We Generated 1 Million Facebook Video Views: A HubSpot Experiment

It‘s no secret that video has become the darling of the social media world, and Facebook is leading the charge. With over 8 billion video views per day, the platform has become a veritable gold mine for savvy marketers looking to engage their audience.

But in the fast-paced world of social media, what worked yesterday won‘t necessarily work today. Staying ahead of the curve is essential for any brand that wants to make a splash on Facebook.

In this post, we‘ll take a deep dive into how HubSpot revamped our Facebook video strategy and generated 1 million views in a matter of months. We‘ll share the latest trends shaping the social video landscape, the specific experiments and tactics we used, and our hard-won insights for measuring and iterating your way to success.

Ready to level up your Facebook video game? Let‘s get started.

The State of Social Video in 2024

Gone are the days when social media video meant simply uploading your latest TV commercial or creating a slideshow set to royalty-free muzak. Today, the most successful social videos are created specifically for the unique environment of each platform.

What does that look like in 2024? Here are a few key trends:

  • Short and sweet: With ever-shrinking attention spans, bite-sized videos under 2 minutes (and often under 60 seconds) are becoming the norm.

  • Vertical and square: As more people consume social media on mobile devices, vertical (9:16 aspect ratio) and square (1:1) videos are taking over from traditional landscape formats.

  • Designed for sound off: Many users scroll their feeds in public places with the sound off, so videos need to work without audio through the use of captions, graphics, and text overlays.

  • Live and ephemeral: The authentic, in-the-moment feel of live streaming and ephemeral Stories content is all the rage, giving users a behind-the-scenes peek at brands and creators.

The Fundamentals of Engaging Facebook Videos

So how do you create thumb-stopping Facebook videos that grab attention and drive real business results? While there‘s no one-size-fits-all formula, there are a few key elements that the best social videos share:

  1. Hook viewers in the first 3 seconds. The first few seconds are critical for stopping the scroll. Use eye-catching visuals, animation, text, or a talking head to immediately communicate your video‘s value proposition.

  2. Design for sound off. Use captions, text overlays, and graphics to make your video accessible and engaging even without audio.

  3. Choose an eye-catching thumbnail. Your video thumbnail is like a mini movie poster. Choose a high-quality, visually compelling image that sparks curiosity.

  4. Optimize your aspect ratio and length. Square and vertical videos take up more real estate in the mobile feed. Keep videos under 2 minutes for the most views and engagement.

  5. Include a strong call-to-action. What do you want viewers to do after watching? Whether it‘s visiting your website, signing up for your email list, or making a purchase, make the next step crystal clear with an unambiguous CTA.

Proven Strategies to Boost Video Views and Engagement

Now that you know the basics, let‘s dive into some specific tactics HubSpot used to supercharge our Facebook video performance:

1. Post natively uploaded video

While it‘s tempting to simply share YouTube links on Facebook, native videos (i.e. videos uploaded directly to Facebook) get far more reach and engagement. In fact, we found that native videos got on average 10X more views than YouTube links.

2. Embrace live streaming with Facebook Live

Live video is a powerful way to connect with your audience in real-time. We used Facebook Live for Q&As, product demos, and behind-the-scenes content, driving tons of comments and engagement. Pro tip: Promote your live streams in advance and add interactive elements like polls to boost participation.

3. Create serial video content

One of our most successful tactics was creating recurring video series around a central theme, like marketing tips or industry news. This keeps viewers coming back and helps establish your brand as a go-to resource. Optimize titles and thumbnails for each installment so viewers can easily find and binge the whole series.

4. Experiment with short-form Stories

Facebook Stories are the ephemeral, vertical video and photo posts that disappear after 24 hours, à la Instagram Stories or Snapchat. We used Stories to share more casual, behind-the-scenes content and to drive traffic with "swipe up" links. Stories are also a low-pressure way to experiment with different video styles and see what resonates.

5. Collaborate with influencers and brand advocates

Partnering with relevant influencers or brand superfans is a great way to expand your reach and bring a fresh perspective to your video content. We worked with influencers to create tutorial videos, product reviews, and more, tapping into their credibility and audience.

6. Amplify top videos with paid promotion

Once you‘ve identified your top organically performing videos, you can get even more mileage out of them with strategic paid promotion. We used Facebook ads to retarget people who had previously interacted with our page and to reach new lookalike audiences, significantly boosting views and engagement for our best videos.

Measuring and Iterating Your Way to 1 Million Views

Of course, none of these tactics matter if you‘re not closely measuring your results and using those insights to continually optimize your approach. Here are a few key lessons we learned:

1. Focus on the right metrics

While view count is the most obvious metric, it doesn‘t tell the whole story. We also closely tracked average watch time, audience retention graphs, and click-through rates to get a more holistic picture of a video‘s performance.

2. A/B test everything

We constantly tested different variations of thumbnails, titles, intros, calls-to-action, and more to zero in on the most effective approaches. Over time, these incremental improvements added up to big gains.

3. Analyze audience retention

Facebook provides detailed audience retention graphs for each video showing how viewership changes throughout the video. We used this data to identify what elements kept people watching (like graphics or scene changes) and where viewers tended to drop off (like slow intros or long-winded explanations).

4. Iterate based on insights

We held weekly meetings to review the data and brainstorm ways to double down on what was working while nixing underperforming tactics. No strategy was sacred — everything was fair game to be tweaked and tested.

The Future of Facebook Video

In the coming years, the social video landscape will continue to evolve at breakneck speed. While nobody knows exactly what the future holds, there are a few key trends on the horizon:

  • Interactive and immersive video: Expect to see more 360° video, AR filters, and choose-your-own-adventure style content that turns passive viewing into active participation.

  • Social commerce integration: Shoppable videos and livestream commerce events will make it easier than ever for users to go from discovery to purchase without leaving the platform.

  • Video-based customer service: More brands will use video chat and video FAQs to provide personalized, face-to-face support at scale.

To stay ahead of the curve, keep a pulse on emerging trends and be ready to experiment with new formats and features as they roll out.

Putting It All Together

Whew, that was a lot! Let‘s recap the key takeaways:

  • Create videos specifically for the Facebook environment — short, vertical or square, and optimized for sound off viewing
  • Hook viewers in the first 3 seconds and include a clear call-to-action
  • Experiment with native video, Facebook Live, serial content, Stories, influencer partnerships, and paid promotion
  • Measure results holistically and use A/B testing and audience retention data to continually iterate and improve

To put this all into action, start by auditing your current Facebook video strategy and identifying opportunities for improvement. Then, put together a testing plan to experiment with some of the tactics outlined here.

Remember, there‘s no magic formula — it‘s all about understanding your unique audience and using data to deliver the most value. With a little creativity and a lot of iteration, you‘ll be well on your way to hitting that 1 million view milestone.

Now if you‘ll excuse me, I have some videos to make. Happy viewing!