Published August 23rd 2017

Facebook Video Engagement: What We Learned From Analyzing 100 Million Videos

What a difference a year makes. Last summer we wrote a post on why video is key to Facebook marketing. This summer our research data shows just how overwhelmingly dominant video, including Facebook Live video, has become. We analyzed 100 million Facebook videos published in the last year and using this data we can reveal:

Video Is The Most Engaging Facebook Format

Videos are the Facebook format most likely to reach and engage audiences according to Locowise. The average video post in April 2017 reached 12.05% of the total page audience, just ahead of photos at 11.63%, links at 7.81%, and status updates at only 4.56%. Videos also had the highest levels of engagement.

For major publishers, such as The Guardian, the most engaging articles on their website are traditional text articles.  But when it comes to Facebook, the top performing content is video. Below are their top four posts ranked by engagement.BuzzSumo research Facebook video is most engaging format

See the most engaging posts in your topic areas

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What Are The Video Topics That Generate Most Facebook Engagement?

The most popular video topics ranked by Facebook engagements were as follows.Facebook videos that get the most interactionAs we can see food is a very popular topic. Pages such as BuzzFeed Tasty get very high levels of engagement. Below are their top four videos in the last 6 months. Turns out that Banana Bread Cheesecake is considerably more engaging than Real Estate – in Facebook videos, at least…Food is a popular video format on Facebook

When it comes to DIY, pages like First Media Blossom also generate exceptionally high levels of engagement. Below are their top videos in the last year. DIY videos perform well on Facebook

These are in effect how-to videos that are well edited with high production value. Food and DIY are visual topics with broad appeal, so they lend themselves well to short videos.

What Is The Optimum Length For A Facebook Video?

As we can see from the chart below, our analysis of 100m Facebook videos published last year  shows that shorter videos generate more interactions on average. The sweet spot for video length is 60 to 90 seconds.Best length for Facebook videos

After 90 seconds average engagement fell as the video length increased, until around 6 minutes when engagement remained constant. It is interesting to note that very short videos of below 30 seconds generated the lowest engagement on average overall.

What Is The Optimum Length For A Facebook Live Video?

The number of Facebook Live video broadcasts are growing. In April 2017, Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video, announced that 20% of all Facebook videos are broadcast live and that the daily watch time for live videos had quadrupled in the last year. This is in part due to the priority Facebook has been giving to live video.

Our analysis of Facebook Live videos found that interactions increase the longer the video lasts, until about 15-16 minutes. After this time the interactions remain fairly stable.Best length for Facebook live video

This makes intuitive sense as Facebook Live Videos will typically be longer than other videos. For example, if you are doing a live Q&A then a video of under say 3 minutes is unlikely to provide much value. Also doing a live session requires a certain minimum time to allow users to join or see the event is taking place. From the data it would appear that Facebook Live videos should be a minimum of 15 minutes to gain maximum engagement.

When we looked at the top performing 10,000 Facebook Live videos we found they were 20 minutes long on average.

Average Interactions For Live and Non-Live Facebook Videos

Overall the average engagement with Facebook and Facebook Live videos was very similar.

  • Facebook videos: 928 average interactions
  • Facebook Live videos: 1043 average interactions

This was surprising as many people are reporting much higher levels of engagement with Live videos. However, we should emphasise that these are average figures across a very large sample of posts. 

We also found that Facebook Live videos attract a much higher number of comments relative to overall interactions. Around 25% of the interactions were comments. This makes sense as it’s a live session with people asking and answering questions and responding in real time.

What Are The Most Common Reactions To Videos?

We analyzed the most popular reactions to videos on average. In an increasingly polarised world it was good to see that the most dominant emotional reactions to videos were laughter and love.
Most common reactions to Facebook Videos[Note: The chart shows average interactions based on the dominant reaction to the video. Thus where HaHa was the dominant reaction the average number of interactions was over 750.]
There were so many different videos that provoked laughter, but many were simple and joyful such as this one.

Facebook video baby

If only all audiences were as engaged as this little girl…

The top videos generating love reactions tended to be more reactions to films, sports stars and celebrities. Here are a few examples.

Most loved Facebook videos

The average reactions to Facebook Live videos were different as we might expect. Typically there were less laughter reactions with love being the top reaction on average. You probably don’t want people laughing at your Facebook Live video, at least in a B2B context… Top reactions to Facebook live videos

[Chart note: The chart shows the average interactions based on the dominant reaction to the video. Thus where Love was the dominant reaction the average number of interactions for the video was nearly 500.]

How Much Introduction Text Should You Use For A Facebook video?

We analyzed the top 10,000 most engaging Facebook videos between June 2016 and June 2017 and found that for these top performing videos the introduction text was very short. The average was 84 characters and the median was 61 characters.

As an example here are the top three video posts for the Redbull Facebook Page. They keep the introduction very short and just get you to dive into the video:

redbull facebook videos

Want To Create Great Facebook Video? 5 Takeaways

There are number of observations we can make from our analysis of the top performing 10,000 Facebook videos last year, and tips for what you can do to make the most of Facebook video.

  • Keep it short: The videos were typically short with an average length of 115 seconds and a median of just 65 seconds.
  • Keep the intro crisp: The introductory text to these Facebook videos was also short with a median of 61 characters. The post text encouraged you to just dive into the video.
  • Try going Live: Facebook is promoting Facebook Live video, and these can be longer – think 15 to 20 minute focused sessions.
  • Hacks, Tips and How-tos: These types of videos perform particularly well, as do inspirational and humorous videos.
  • Create shareable content: The top videos were more likely to be shared than liked. This makes videos very powerful for content marketers and publishers on Facebook. Studies show that people like to share valuable and entertaining content and this particularly applies to video.

Do Your Own Facebook Analysis

BuzzSumo’s Facebook Analyzer allows you to analyze public posts on any topic or published by any page. You can filter by date, by content type such as videos or images and sort by the most likes, shares or comments. You can search for top posts on a topic or enter a Facebook page to get a detailed analysis of their content including most engaging post types, average engagements over time, days and times of day when they get most engagement and much more. You can also export data to undertake further analysis. Sign up for a 14 day free free trial and give it a test run.

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