- The top 50 U.S. media companies saw video engagement rise 29% last year to 96 million across the 35,000 videos they posted to Facebook, according to a Shareablee study shared with Mobile Marketer. BuzzFeed and Turner were the top two video producers on the social platform by total engagements, a combination of viewers' reactions, shares and comments, with 11.6 million and 11.2 million, respectively.
- Bed Bath & Beyond, ShopRite, Walmart, The Real Cost and AT&T had the highest engagement levels among major brands in 2017, the study found. More than 4,200 advertisers partnered with media companies to produce branded videos on Facebook for an average of eight videos each. Nissan partnered on the most branded content videos with 693 in total.
- Despite the recent growth in branded video, digital media platforms are cutting jobs. Vox Media let go 50 workers this week, mostly from its social video teams, per the Hollywood Reporter. BuzzFeed reduced head count in November, which included a shift in how it approaches social video, while ESPN let go of 150 employees in production, technology and digital departments.
Branded video has emerged as a key tactic for reaching viewers and engaging them on interactive platforms like social media, as evidenced by Shareablee's research. However, the recent cutbacks by media companies suggests there may be a glut of such content, a result of marketers and publishers rushing into the space. More cutbacks could be coming as the space undergoes some rightsizing.
BuzzFeed's top ranking in shareable branded videos shows that comparable newcomers to video programming can draw a sizeable audience on Facebook, with its massive 2 billion-plus user base. Among the top 10 digital publishers are First Media, which produces DIY craft videos for moms under the brand name Blossom, and Group Nine Media, which produces Thrillist lifestyle content.
Along with brands and digital media producers, traditional broadcasters also had a strong presence on Facebook. Turner's Adult Swim, Food Network, HGTV, MTV and ESPN were the top TV networks on Facebook. Adult Swim ranked No. 1 with 2.3 million video engagements, followed by Food Network with 1.6 million, per Shareablee. Among all content creators, TV networks had the strongest gains in branded video engagement with a 79% jump year-over-year in Q4 2017.
Facebook's video strategy has evolved in the past few years as the social network seeks ways to keep users engaged within its platforms. The company started running autoplay videos in its News Feed in 2013, and irked many users last year by automatically turning on the sound for those videos setting those videos. In 2016, it added a Video tab that resembled YouTube as a dedicated hub for watching live and recorded videos in the app. Last year, it created the mobile Watch section to show a variety of original short-form content including sports, documentary and reality programming.
Facebook recently sought to prioritize content from friends and family in the News Feed while downplaying publisher content like the "hands in pans" videos that make BuzzFeed's Tasty so popular among mobile consumers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month said the company plans to focus more on quality content, not quantity, for its users. People spent 50 million fewer hours a day on Facebook after the latest News Feed change, he told investors. What remains to be seen is how the changes to its News Feed algorithm will affect how much time people spend watching video on the platform, and thus the ability for advertisers to generate solid engagement and ROI.