There are various research and reports in recent years, with most of them encourage creating shorter videos for Facebook.
Some of the common justifications are as below:
- People are always using their phones on the move.
- People don’t have the patience to watch a 3-5 minutes video on mobile.
- The sweet spot for Facebook video length is 60 to 90 seconds.
- Don’t produce videos over 2 minutes for Facebook.
Is it true that 1-minute videos are still the best for Facebook?
First of all, let’s make it clear that the video we are talking about here is the content aiming for organic reach and engagements, not the video commercials.
You can still produce short video commercials, and the performance of the video ads is largely depending on the content quality and advertisement configurations.
However, for organic video content, we have a hunch that shorter video is no longer performing up to the level it used to be on Facebook.
We suspect this has something to do with Facebook Ad Breaks.
What is Facebook Ad Breaks?
In layman’s terms, Facebook Ad Breaks is the short ads that interrupt appear while you are watching certain videos on Facebook.
It can be irritating when you first experience this as Facebook Ad Breaks is not skippable (for now) like YouTube, but perhaps you will get used to it after a few rounds.
Mirroring Google AdSense for YouTube, Facebook Ad Breaks is a scheme that (a) enables advertising inventory in videos, (b) shares ads revenue with publishers or content creators.
If you are running a Facebook Page, you need to meet certain requirements to entitle to Facebook Ad Breaks and earn money:
- Your Facebook Page must have more than 10,000 followers.
- You have 3-minute videos that generated more than 30,000 1-minute views in total over the past two months.
Yes, Facebook Ad Breaks will only be shown on videos with 3 minutes or more.
Will 3-minutes videos gain more organic reach on Facebook?
Let’s think this way, Facebook will be able to earn ads revenue from 3-minutes (or more) videos, and zero revenue from videos with less than 3 minutes long.
While we don’t know for sure how Facebook’s algorithm works, it makes so much sense for Facebook to prioritize the longer, dollars-raking videos.
Our assumption is proven right if we refer to the screenshot below, just pay attention to the alert message on the top bar:
Facebook officially encourages you to publish videos at least 3 minutes long to increase organic distribution, which means your videos will be shown organically to more people.
In a way, our hunch earlier could be right as we used to focus on shorter videos and the organic performance seems to start dropping in 2019.
It is not a coincidence that Facebook launched its Ad Breaks in 2018, covering selected countries including Malaysia.
Here is another example that Facebook encourages videos with at least 3 minutes long:
Besides monetization, this can be seen as an effort by Facebook to promote longer videos, whether to (a) compete with YouTube on watch time, and/or (b) make users stay longer on Facebook.
If Facebook prefers longer videos now, it seems that a 1-minute video will only fit well on an Instagram video post. So you might ask, is a short 1-minute still useful and efficient as it was?
However, don’t force your video into 3 minutes long if your content is not worth 3 minutes. Just let it flow and the most important thing is still the content quality.
The conclusion here is you no longer need to fast-pace your content into a short 1-minute video. Give the 3-minutes (or more) video a try and see it for yourself.