These are the biggest videos on Facebook

September 28, 2017

Written by NewsWhip
Niche Publishers

With the end of 2017 just a few months away, how can you create Facebook videos that make an impact? Our data revealed the top Facebook video trends that are going viral right now.

In the world of social video, there have been notable changes. Facebook Watch promises to disrupt the game once again, putting an emphasis on longer video. Publisher pivots to the format haven’t slowed either.

So how can you make a top video? We looked to the data in NewsWhip Analytics to find out, tallying up total likes, reactions, shares, and comments to videos from August 1st through mid-September.

We looked at both the top videos overall from publishers of original content, and the top videos of news publishers. Here’s what we found.

1. Find the emotional elements

As summer came to an end, the top Facebook video was about a man who saved nearly 700 children from the Holocaust. The video drove more than 8.7 million total engagements.

Stories like this have a compelling, emotional element, that make viewers feel something and want to share that on. We saw this trend apply to other top videos, including ones about saving animals after Hurricane Harvey and other philanthropic acts.

2. Make a how-to

There’s something satisfying about watching a project come together — whether it’s a craft or a culinary confection. Eight of the top ten videos were tutorial videos, driving millions of engagements.

 3. If you have an interesting story to tell, go long

While none of the top ten videos were longer than four minutes in duration, it’s interesting to note that these video lengths are definitely on the rise.

When we looked at the ideal video length back in September 2015, we saw that for six top publishers, their average video length was only between 24 and 90 seconds long. As of February 2017, this had risen, but not to the durations we see above:

If you have an interesting story to tell, viewers will keep watching. Sure, no one wants to watch a documentary in their newsfeed (…yet) but audiences are receptive to longer videos if the content is compelling.

If we look solely at the top videos from news publishers at the end of summer, we see these video lengths are even slightly longer.

4. Find the connection

Social media has the distinct advantage of connecting audiences across the world, no matter where they are. Some of the top videos come from offering a window into events impacting a lot of people — recent hurricanes, earthquakes, the solar eclipse, or political protests.

Even though viewers may not physically be there, they can join in on social and feel like they’re a part of the event.

5. Break down hard news into relatable stories

One way to make a hard news article more compelling is by honing in on a human interest element. This seems to do very well for social video, as we can see from some of the top news-focused videos. By having celebrities address the ongoing white supremacy issues in the U.S., or by showing individuals impacted by the intense recent hurricanes, publishers can humanize these issues.

Again, it circles back to our first point of showing the emotional effects of these hard news pieces.

How is Facebook video paying off towards the end of 2017?

Is Facebook video still a worthy investment for publishers? We looked at the top 50 videos from all publishers and just news publishers. Below shows the distribution for news publishers:

Now, this is a highly notable difference from what we’ve seen in the past. Typically, native Facebook content will get likes more than any other type of engagement. But we’re seeing that shares are making up the bulk of engagements for the most successful videos; nearly 60 percent of total engagements.

The engagement distribution for all publishers vs. news publishers was nearly identical, though news publishers saw slightly more reactions.

Which publishers are creating the most engaging Facebook videos?

Viral publishers still dominate the rankings with UNILAD (138 million), LADbible (118 million), and the Dodo (67.3 million) seeing the most engagements in this 45-day period.

Still, here’s how news publishers have fared at the end of summer. These were the top news publishers of native Facebook video from August 1st through September 15th.

NTD Television, which was a recent addition to our publisher rankings in July, has created quite an engaging native video presence. With 38 million video engagements in this 45-day period, NTD TV surpasses the others in this top ten by a substantial margin.

ATTN: and Daily Mail saw the highest average of engagements per native video, more than 60,000 per video.

Some of these publishers are seeing quite a lot of their engagements come from video. ATTN: posted 28 percent videos, but this accounted for 87 percent of the Page’s total engagements. AJ+ and NowThis Politics saw over 90 percent of their engagements come from video posts.

What about the top Live videos?

In our analysis of English-language Facebook videos, Live video only accounted for 13 percent of all videos posted.

Straight away, there are some interesting trends we can discern from the top ten Live videos from publishers of original content.

The top ten Live videos of August into September were primarily centered around big events like the solar eclipse and the North American hurricane season. As we mentioned above, these are universal events that people could join in and feel a part of, whether it was seeing the eclipse or offering their thoughts to those impacted by the hurricanes.

All of the top ten videos came from news publishers. The time for the top ten videos varied from being quite short to four hours long. 

How are engagements breaking down across Live videos? We decided to look at the top 50 Live videos from publishers. On average, shares accounted for 35 percent of the top 50 Live videos’ total Facebook engagements. Comments made up 21 percent, reactions 22 percent, and likes 22 percent.

Who are the top publishers of Live video?

Local news publishers are producing the most Facebook Live video, with Fox properties accounting for some of the highest outputs. In the 45-day period, Fox Carolina News produced 950 Live videos.

Fox also had the highest engagements on its main Facebook Page. The publisher emerged as our top Facebook publisher for August, so it seems that the success has filtered down even to native formats.

Two of the publishers on this list ranked through their Live video streams of wolves and other exotic animals. Like we’ve seen before, the novelty factor pays off by showing users something that they wouldn’t see everyday.

For more on the top tactics for social video, check out our upcoming webinar with Wochit and CBS News to make sure your content is a hit.

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