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If you’re posting video content on Facebook, you’ve got 10 seconds to grab attention and get your message across. Make the most of it.

The background to this is some independent research that analysed Facebook video trends during the first quarter of 2017, combined with our own insights into client video performance.

The research showed that the average length of videos uploaded directly to Facebook (so not including videos shared across from YouTube, Vimeo, or Instagram) was 3 minutes 48 seconds, yet the average watch time is only 10 seconds. That rings true with what we’ve seen in the motorcycle trade, where average watch times are pretty consistently 9 or 10 seconds.

Okay so the 10 second thing isn’t actually a ‘rule’, but it is something you need to aware of and can turn to your advantage with a bit of creativity.

Here’s an example of one of our own videos, in which Graham Matcham talks about the value of social media to Continental Tyres. It’s only 46 seconds long, but the average watch time is 9 seconds:

 

A significant influence on average watch time is that Facebook videos auto-play (muted) when a user scrolls through their news feed. If the video doesn’t capture their interest in those first fleeting seconds, they’ll just keep on scrolling. Only 7% of Facebook videos are actually clicked on to hear audio.

Here’s a good example of a 10-second teaser video from NEXX Helmets:

 

As an aside, the auto-play nature of native Facebook videos is a strength as much as a weakness. Videos shared from YouTube and elsewhere don’t auto-play (the same is true on Twitter), so there’s a lot to be said for uploading video content to more than one channel.

It’s also worth noting that 20% of Facebook videos are ‘live’ rather than pre-recorded and uploaded, and those tend to have longer average watch times. That’s according to a statement by Facebook back in April, so the proportion is very likely to have grown since then.

What are the implications of the 10 second rule?

You don’t need to stop producing longer videos, but branding, key messaging, and call-to-action all need to happen in the first 10 seconds.

Think of creative ways to use 10-second videos as teasers for other content (and use them on your other social media channels as well).

Savvy video editing is crucial for maximum impact.

Consider how you could exploit the power of live Facebook videos.