How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

Recently, I’ve been brainstorming how to implement a plan to use Facebook Stories across all of the brands we own here at TrackFive. I have to admit – although I am an avid Facebook user, I rarely pay attention to the Stories at the top of my page. So, I started watching the stories my friends are posting. They’re similar to Snapchats in that they’re short, 20-second snippets of either photo or video. After 24 hours, they disappear.  Plus, they’re at the top of everyone’s newsfeed and can be seen by all of your Facebook followers. However, I wondered, how many people actually watch Facebook Stories, and how valuable could Facebook stories for brands actually be? It turns out pretty valuable. It’s no surprise that Facebook has an average of 2.23 billion monthly users, but I was surprised to learn that Facebook had 150 million active users per day for Stories just 14 months after launching this feature. Also, in a study conducted by Facebook, the social media platform found that 62 percent of those who actively watch Facebook Stories said that they become more interested in a brand after seeing it in their Stories feed.

So, the audience is there. As best stated by Forbes writer Bud Torcom, “I see Facebook Stories like California’s mines and creeks before the 1849 gold rush, and as a fellow marketer, you deserve to know about this rich vein of opportunity waiting to be tapped.”

Let’s tap in!

Five Benefits of Using Facebook Stories for Brands

  • Facebook Stories are the first thing people see when they log into Facebook, and they’re growing in popularity. This means you have the opportunity to reach a wide audience of people who probably aren’t going to your brand’s page every day. Once they see your attention-grabbing Facebook Story, they just might.
  • Facebook produces a greater return on investment than any other social network, and Facebook Stories is rising in popularity. People are mindlessly scrolling Facebook, and they’re not even really looking for anything. Facebook is kind of like wandering into Target to kill time. You didn’t realize you needed all that junk from the $1 bins at the front of the store until you saw them. Facebook Stories puts your brand at the front of the store, so to speak.
  • Video! Let’s face it, video marketing is more relevant than ever before. In fact, whether you’re talking companies or regular consumers, we are all uploading more video content per month than major U.S. television stations could create in 30 years. Let that sink in. People engage with video. It has a higher reach on Facebook, and it’s an interesting and more personal way to tell your brand’s story.
  • Stories are organic and easy to consume. If you want to connect to your customers in a real way, getting their attention by creating Facebook Stories is an effective way to do it. It’s especially beneficial if you’re running a campaign or trying to engage with your audience. Here at TrackFive, our first Facebook Stories trial was with a scholarship campaign we host every year through our TravelNurseSource brand. We created selfie videos encouraging people to head over to our page and vote for their favorite scholarship contestant. It worked!
  • It’s free! The fact that Facebook Stories are free is the most obvious benefit. Even if you experiment with it and find that you’re not seeing a difference in engagement from your consumers, it doesn’t cost you anything at all to do it. Well, other than a little bit of time and creative juices.

Three Tips for How to Effectively Use Facebook Stories for Brands

Facebook Stories for brands

If you want successful Facebook Stories for brands, check out these three tips!

  • Make sure your content is time-sensitive. Think about it. Facebook Stories are only live for 24 hours. You don’t want to post something evergreen here or duplicate your stories week after week. You want to promote something that’s timely, like Valentine’s Day, a 24-hour contest, or announcing something new in your industry.
  • Don’t bore your audience with all of the same content. What do I mean by “the same content?” Well, you’re not going to like it, because this is a tough one. You shouldn’t post the same content across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Although some duplicate content is ok, it gets boring. Think about your personal Facebook use. How annoying is it to scroll Instagram and see that your friend from high school is posting a proud “my child used the potty for the first time” picture? Now, it’s even more annoying when you switch over to Facebook and see the post again. Before you create a story, ask yourself, who cares? Then, ask yourself, which social platform cares most?
  • Use Facebook Stories as a way to take things to a more personal level. Sure, your Facebook story can be graphics or animation, but also think of ways to show face. People like people, so if you can use Facebook Stories to recognize your employee of the month or to show video clips of a conference you’re attending, this will attract a lot more attention. It also shows your audience the people behind the brand, and it can increase their likelihood of engaging with you.

How to Measure Success After Posting Facebook Stories for Brands

My issue this week – how do I measure the success of all these Facebook Stories that I planned out? I found through Facebook Insights how to see the stats on my stories, but I didn’t really understand what they meant. It said something about how many people forward swiped and backward swiped. Now, I’ve used Tinder before, (for those of you in relationships, this is a dating app) so I get the whole left is bad, right is a good thing when it comes that. However, Facebook is different. Did they like it or didn’t they!? It took me just one a quick Google search to arrive at my answer. I’ve included the info below for you.

  • Unique Story Opens: This is the number of people who opened your story. If that number is high – yay!
  • Forward Taps: Forward taps means that’s the number of times someone tapped to skip to the next piece of your story. If this number is high, that’s also a good thing. That means your story was interesting enough that they hope there’s more to see.
  • Backward Taps: This is the number of times someone tapped to go back to your story. So, basically, if someone was tap-happy and moved forward too fast, backward taps mean they probably thought – “hey, that was cool. I should go back and look at it again.”
  • Forward Swipes: The number of forward swipes is one that you don’t want to be high. This is the number of times someone swiped to skip to the next story in their feed.
  • Exits: This one is obviously the number of people who viewed your story and then exited the Stories feature to go back to their regular newsfeed.

What have you discovered about Facebook Stories for brands? Share your experience with us in the comments below!

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | New Report

As we run headfirst into 2018, there’s one aspect of marketing sure to keep everyone interested — mobile video marketing! In a recent company blog post published on Facebook’s business website, the social media giant discusses some findings that have gained lots of attention. Seeing how the introduction of mobile video changed the way people interact with social sites and ads, these new insights come as no surprise. Still, for marketers looking to make the most of their mobile video ads on Facebook and other sites, the info is invaluable. Let’s take a look!

mobile video ads on Facebook

As Facebook’s head of ads and business platform, Mark Rabkin writes, “there is no singular video ad experience on mobile. Instead, there is a variety of unique experiences, each requiring a different approach.”

Although marketers are painfully aware of this fact, the more granularly we can learn about ad consumption, the better! Luckily, Facebook’s report provides charts and an analysis detailing how much time people typically spend watching ads, in addition to how these watch times fluctuate with an environment. Ultimately some pretty useful stuff, if you know how to make sense of it…

A Broad Analysis

To start, these charts make suggestions rather than reaching conclusions. Although there are no actual numbers involved, we’ll just have to interpret the generality of these behaviors. Also, these charts are primarily based on unaudited internal data from Facebook in August 2017. Other data was pulled from YouTube during that same month, in addition to a commissioned TV viewer report from March 2017. Just note that while these charts include logos from Snap and Hulu, one can’t regard these representations as evidence of their video ads’ performance one way or the other.

So, what do these charts tell us then? Unlike usual reports showing the percentage a video was viewed, we’re getting the actual number of seconds that each viewing session lasted. For anyone tracking session data whether, for video, audio, or general platform interactions, you’ll know that it’s sometimes very difficult data to get. That’s particularly true for Facebook!

Essentially, what we see here is the length of time people watched mobile video ads on Facebook before losing attention. That could mean either skipping or scrolling ahead, closing the app, or putting their phone down altogether. The x-axis represents watch time, while the y-axis shows video sessions:

mobile video ads on facebook

Mobile Video Ads on Facebook | A Breakdown

Feeds

mobile video ads on Facebook

As one of the primary ways users interact with video on Facebook or Twitter, feeds have an unprecedented scale and reach. Even though the majority of users consume this content quickly, there is the potential to direct them to longer videos. Of course, this particular chart is showing the need for quick, attention-grabbing content that communicates very directly!

Non-skippable Mid-roll or Pre-roll

mobile video ads on Facebook

These ads most closely resemble the TV ad experience and exist before or in the middle of a piece of content. Understandably, people already in the mood to watch a video with the sound on continue watching these ads. It’s somewhat obvious that annoyance grows strongly with ad length, however, this format is slowly dying out. The rise of ad-blockers can now make quick work of these types of adverts despite their effectiveness.

Skippable Mid-Roll or Pre-Roll

mobile video ads on Facebook

As a striking combo of the first two graphs, these ads behave almost like two ads in one. Essentially what we see here is a 5-second ad that most viewers encounter, followed by a 15-30 second ad that reaches 10% of viewers. Consider the interesting creative opportunities of linking these ads to the same company or type of product!

Stories

mobile video ads on Facebook

With lots of social platforms now offering this type of format, stories are one of the fastest growing mobile video ads on Facebook. Although they are similar to feeds, stories feature full-screen, often sound-on snippets. Here all of the content is sequential, so the opportunity for narrative is much greater. Considering that these videos don’t require high production techniques, the potential for flashier adds is much higher. That said, the ability to skip ahead is almost inevitable as the graph shows…

Live TV

mobile video ads on Facebook

The immediate impression of this graph is that it resembles the non-skippable ads pretty closely. What we see here is that people actually have the tendency to “scroll away” in a sense when confronted with TV ads. Think about your own habits — when the commercials come, how great of an opportunity to check your phone is that? Apparently, most consumers agree! The takeaway may actually amount to retargeting smartphone users based on the television channels they watch for similar mobile video ads on Facebook…