Are you a Facebook user who does not bother turning on the sound when watching a video on Facebook? If you have a Facebook account, chances are high that you indeed watch videos without sound. In a recent study, it turns out that up to 85% of all Facebook users watch videos without sound on the platform.
Although the videos start playing automatically, Facebook (thankfully) does not have the volume up by default. And many users refrain from turning up the volume. There can be multiple reasons for this behaviour. The user might only be “passing through”, the user may just be checking the video out quickly, and is not planning on watching the whole thing. Another possibility is that the user is checking Facebook at the workplace and cannot turn the volume up (for obvious reasons). What is also a possibility is that the video content does not require sound.
And advertisers are really looking into that last possibility. If users do not want to turn on the sound of videos, the videos must be made compelling even without sound. You may have noticed a lot of Facebook videos lately that are very short, and have a lot of blended-in text.
A great case study are the BuzzFeed Food videos. A quick analysis shows a few things:
- most videos have tens of millions of views, going as high as 150 million views
- the like-to-view ratio is always very high
- the videos are mostly very short, from 15 seconds to 1 minute
- all of the videos work without sound. Recipe is shown in text form during the video
The reach on these videos is huge. BuzzFeed has found a niche that users are interested in and are willing to share, driving more views, more likes and more comments. In turn, the great engagement is a signal to Facebook that BuzzFeed videos are content users like to see, giving them even greater reach. BuzzFeed found a niche where sound is not necessary. If the instructions for the recipes were explained by voice, the videos likely would not be so popular.
Marketers, take note that Facebook users won’t listen to your video, and build your social media strategy around it. The attention span of a user for a video is extremely short – the beginning must be compelling, and the whole video should be short too. More importantly, the video must work without sound too. As long as Facebook does not change anything in how videos are played, it is wise to adapt to the user behaviour.