Facebook News Feed Videos

The New Universal Language

People speak a new universal language—one that is made up of photos, emojis, stickers and videos. This visual language is seen as a succinct, time-efficient and powerful way for people to get their point across.

Helping to drive this development is mobile technology, as it allows people to have a camera with them at all times to capture and share images and express themselves using sight, sound and motion.

“The camera is there right on your phone. … You can just upload what you took at the touch of a button,” Aimee, a 26-year-old from the UK told us.1

We are seeing this shift to a visual language come to life on Facebook. In just one year, the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.2 And every day, people upload more than 350 million photos on average to Facebook.3

On Instagram, people have always communicated visually. More than 300 million people around the world post more than 70 million photos and videos each day on Instagram.4 Meanwhile, the average number of stickers shared per day on Facebook around the world climbed 75% from 2013 to 2014.5

Scroll, stop and watch

With people creating, posting and interacting with more videos on Facebook, the composition of News Feed is changing. Globally, the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6x year-over-year.

Facebook video growth in News Feed

“Facebook has become way more visual,” observed Jay, a 38-year-old from the US. “Instead of posting a movie quote, I may find the video and post that instead.”1

Since June 2014, Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day. On average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video every day.7

A significant proportion of these video views are happening on mobile: 65% globally.7 This shift to mobile video will continue, thanks to faster connectivity, cheaper access and bigger and high-definition screens, among other factors. Cisco Systems estimates that mobile video will increase 14-fold between 2013 and 2018, accounting for 69% of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.8

Given that adults in the US spend 1 out of every 5 of their mobile minutes on Facebook and Instagram, these platforms will be key contributors to this growth.9

A place for video discovery

Facebook allows people to discover content shared on News Feed by people and brands they care about. People are recognizing that video is a part of that: 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.10

Americans discover videos on Facebook

What it means for brands

Mobility gives brands more opportunities to reach people in a visually vibrant way that transcends language barriers via the screen that is with people everywhere, all the time. Brands need to bring the story to life in a matter of seconds. We call that “thumb-stopping creative.”

Here are some early observations based on our video ad and consumer research:

Ensure strong creative from the first frame: Value is created very rapidly, starting with the initial thumbnail and first few seconds (~3) of the video. In order to get thumbs to stop and people to watch, plan for strong creative from the first frame on.

Incremental value goes beyond the first few seconds. What ultimately matters is the content and story. While people tend to watch short videos, they will watch long videos, as long as the longer videos are telling good stories.

As part of McDonald’s global World Cup campaign, for instance, the Creative Shop at Facebook (alongside OMD, Arc Sponsorship and Framestore) re-created the most spectacular moments of the day with a real-time video campaign starring McDonald’s iconic French fries as fans, coaches and players in a stadium created from McDonald’s packaging. The FryFutbol campaign resulted in well over 400 million impressions and reached over 125 million unique people (80% of whom were on mobile) across 158 countries.11

Design for sound off and add value for sound on: With people watching more videos on their mobile phones throughout the day, use video that works well with and without sound so people are engaged even if a video is playing silently inline. Consider a text overlay that doesn’t require audio.

Focus on your overall campaign objectives: Strong campaigns use a combination of creative assets, such as both photo and video. Brands should optimize their creative for different screens, devices and connection speeds to reach people in the most compelling and effective way.


Note 1: Source: “Communications Changes” by Millward Brown Firefly (study commissioned by Facebook). 3-day IdeaBlog conducted among 30 digital communicators, ages 18-44, in US, UK, Brazil and Japan during the week of Jan 13, 2014.
Note 2: Source: Facebook Internal Data on content creation from Jan 1, 2013-Nov 1, 2014, accessed on Nov 1, 2014.
Note 3: Source: Facebook Internal Data, Q4 2012.
Note 4: Source: Instagram Internal Data, Dec 2014.
Note 5: Source: Facebook Internal Data sticker usage, Apr 2013-Dec 2014.
Note 6: Source: Facebook Internal Data on News Feed composition since 2013, accessed on Dec 20, 2014. Average is from randomly selected days from 2013 and 2014.
Note 7: Source: Facebook Internal Data, Sep 2014.
Note 8: Source: The Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, Feb 2014.
Note 9: Source: ComScore, US, Sep 2014.
Note 10: Source: “Understanding the Online Video Universe,” by HawkPartners (commissioned by Facebook). Survey of 2,418 respondents who are representative of the overall English-speaking US Facebook population in terms of key demos including age, gender, income, education.
Note 11: McDonald’s Europe Case Study: https://www.facebook.com/business/success/mcdonalds-europe.