How Facebook Video Grew In Importance For Publishers In 2016

November 23, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

Our exclusive new data shows how engagement with native video grew for top Facebook publishers in 2016, and how publishers responded by giving more of their resources to the format.

Heading into the final few weeks of 2016, many audience development and social media analysts will be looking to figure out how their social media presence has changed since the start of the year.
Native video on Facebook has unquestionably been one of the major talking points of 2016. Between the launch of Live video, and murmers from Facebook that video would continue to play an important role in the platform’s future plans, publishers in particular put a lot of resources in the format this year.
And their audiences largely responded.
Earlier this year, our research showed how publishers were posting more videos since 2015, and that they were attracting more engagements on their videos as a result.
We were interested intaking a closer look at how publishers are using native video, and how it’s driving engagement for their pages. Using figures from our extensive social database, we looked at how engagement with Facebook video increased throughout the year, and how many publishers responded by increasing their output.
We took the main Facebook pages of ten top Facebook pages to see how much more video was being posted by pages from the start of 2016 to October 2016. Note that these numbers are for main Facebook pages only, rather than an entire group of pages.

1. Growth in Engagement With Native Video

First, we looked at how much engagement on native videos (pre-recorded, live and 360) grew for each of the pages from January 2016 to October 2016. Of the ten pages we reviewed, these five saw the biggest growth in engagements on videos from January to October:
Growth in Engagements on Native Video, Jan - Oct 2016
As we can see here, many of these pages saw enormous growth in engagements with the videos that they post on their Facebook pages. Fox News and CNN were the two obvious examples, with Fox achieving almost 20 million engagements (likes, comments, shares and reactions) on their native videos in October.
Here’s what the total growth looked like for the ten pages we reviewed.
Growth in Publishers’ Facebook Video Engagement, 2016

2. Growth in Number of Videos Posted

Next, we looked at the proportion of video posted by each of the pages compared to their overall posting schedule, including links, Instant Articles, and photos. How much of the total Facebook posts from each of the publishers’ main pages were videos, and how much of an increase in the posting of video has there been since the start of the year?
Almost half of the posts on CNN’s main Facebook page were videos in October, up over 20% since January.
% of Native Video Posted to CNN’s Main Facebook Page
When we talked to CNN’s Head of Social Media last month, she explained how the team is combining their TV output with a social mindset to increase their output.
“CNN is the leader in video news, and we have this broadcasting beast domestically and internationally. Video has been a big focus for us, and you’ve seen that on our pages, where not only have we upped the amount of native video we’re uploading, but we’ve gone all-in on Facebook Live as well. It’s been amazing for us so far.”
Here’s how the increase looked for the rest of the pages:
How Much Video Do Publishers’ Post On Facebook?
The vast majority of the Channel 4 News page’s posts are videos adapted, many from Channel 4’s TV output. The videos are adapted for the news feed by being cut into squares, shortened and captioned for viewers with no audio.
The biggest growth in video throughout the year was, who increased the volume of their video posts from 8% in January to almost 50% in October. Despite this example, some of the pages increased their videos only modestly throughout the year. The Guardian posted 37 videos in January, and 67 in October (out of 1,800 total posts).
More common for these pages was an increase of 10 – 20% in volume of videos .

3. Growth in Proportion of Overall Engagement on Video

Finally, we looked at proportion of engagements that native video are contributing to each of the pages’ overall engagements for the month. We found that for most of the ten pages we reviewed, the importance of video as a source of engagement grew dramatically throughout the year.
Have a look at how the contribution of video as an engagement driver for these pages increased from January to October.
Facebook Video Engagements as % of Total
These were the total percentage of engagements that native video (again, encompassing live video, uploads, and 360) contributed to the total engagements on the pages’ posts in both months. With the exception of NBC News, all of the pages we surveyed saw substantial increases in the volume of engagements that video contributed to their monthly total.
Some pages saw more increases than others. BBC News more than doubled its video engagement, while the Guardian’s 67 October videos (3.7% of their total posts) drove 43% of the engagements on their main page that month.

What next for publishers and Facebook video?

What’s most interesting about these numbers is the way that some pages have been able to achieve engagement growth without completely transforming their Facebook page into a video only feed. Being aware of the potential pitfalls of going all-in on social video is something that publishers will have to keep in mind, and how publishers continue to use Facebook video will be scrutinised going into 2017.
Despite the growing engagement numbers, there have been questions around revenue streams, and fear of over-saturation.
However, these numbers show how attention and resources for top publishers have shifted on Facebook throughout 2016, and many publishers have found their engagements (and hopefully audience share) grow significantly as a result.


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