How to Boost Sports Fan Engagement with Facebook Video

We all watch a lot of video content. In fact, videos on Facebook are viewed more than 4 billion times a day. If video views were a currency, that would be roughly 20 Neymars.

The bulk of these rabid video watchers are using their phones to watch them. That’s important. And we’ll explain why in a bit.

But we want to start by pointing out the obvious: video is here to stay, and savvy sports brands would do well to embrace it.

Especially considering sport is an inherently visual thing. We all love to watch sports, not necessarily read about them.

So now back to that phone stuff we mentioned. The thing is, there are lots of different video sizes on Facebook. From full landscape to full vertical and every possible size in-between, there’s a lot of scope to fuck up your video content completely.

We’ve seen plenty of examples. We won’t name and shame, but here’s a good bad example…Subtitles or key action cut off the screen, athletes so small we might as well be watching from a blimp above a stadium, and cropping that renders the video as useless as Andy Murray’s second serve. Not to mention the dull, lifeless videos that may as well be a photo, or the countless videos that rely on sound. (Hint: Only psychopaths scroll through Facebook with their sound on.)

So we thought we’d step in to help, for the sake of sports brands and fans everywhere. (You’re welcome.)We’re going to walk you through all the best practices for Facebook videos, giving you everything you need to make your video content get the engagement you’re dreaming of.Let’s get cracking.

Format’s last theorem

Why are there so many different video sizes on Facebook anyway?Truth be told, we don’t have a clue. We aren’t sure anyone does. Zuckerberg definitely doesn’t. But it’s a cross we all have to bear.There are 5 different places your video content might be shown on Facebook:

  • The main feed
  • The marketplace
  • In-stream (basically ads that play before other video content)
  • Stories
  • Search results

Each of these has their own requirements when it comes to size and format.There are four main sizes you should be aware of, which you can see in the graphic below:

Facebook video requirement chart

The size you choose for your video depends on two things: where it’s going, and what you’re hoping to achieve.If, for example, you’re posting a video on your Facebook page and relying on organic engagement from existing fans, then your video can be anywhere from 16:9 to 9:16 (full landscape to full vertical).

The size in this case will depend on the content of the video, and which size best suits the creative. More on that later.Another example might be when you want to drive new traffic to your video through search results. If that’s the case, you need to be aware that videos in search results show as 1:1 (square).

That means a video that isn’t square will be cropped down, and potentially ruin your content. We’d recommend making sure all the good stuff happens in the middle of the video. That way it’ll still be there after cropping.Facebook provides a lot of useful advice on how to format your video and make sure it’s the right size. You can read more about it here.But the one thing you should definitely do before posting a video on Facebook is check it using the Facebook Ad Builder. It’ll show you a preview of what it will look like for people on Facebook.

It’s a good way to check your video before you release it into the wild.But the creative part of your video content is equally important if you want to boost fan engagement…

Be more Bolt

400 milliseconds. That’s how quickly someone watching your video makes an impression. Whether that impression is good or bad is up to you. But you’d better be quick.

Which is why the creative part of your video is also the most important part. That sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many sports brands put video content out without really thinking about it.

The most engaging videos on Facebook do 4 key things…

Firstly, put the brand upfront. Why? So that your fans instantly know it’s you.

If your brand becomes known for entertaining videos, then it makes sense to tell people that you’re behind the video. It’ll make them keep on watching.

Secondly, frame the story. By that we mean make sure the key parts of your video won’t be cropped out.

That means no cinemascope wide shots (sorry Tarantino). It means getting up close and personal with your subjects. Remember: chances are your video is being watched on a phone, so the 4:5 and 9:16 formats are your friend here.

Thirdly, use dynamic visuals. You need to quickly grab people’s attention and then refuse to let go. You need to get to the point of the video right away. No faffing.Layer different graphics on top of each other, use bright colours, and learn about useful techniques such as rewinding and stacking. All of this will help your video stand out.

Finally, make sure your video can be enjoyed without sound. Most people will be watching on mute. So if they need to hear what’s going on, they’ll simply scroll on by.Instead, add subtitles or captions to the video, or rely on visuals to tell the story.

But on top of all of these things, don’t forget that your video needs to be compelling. A boring video in the right format is still a boring video. Aim to surprise and delight your fans. That’s what gets people engaging with your content.

The final whistle

Every sports brand should be aiming to build engagement on social media, and video is by far the best to do that.If you work through those points above, then your videos will leap off the page like LeBron leaps off the court.We can’t wait to see what you come up with!