Conventional wisdom says you need sound to watch videos, right? Well, Facebook is turning that idea on its head. In fact, up to 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed without sound, according to Digiday.

I can hear your thoughts already… yes, 85 percent seems a little high! We might call the figure into question after noting two things: One, Facebook counts a video view at three seconds, and two, videos in the News Feed autoplay without sound by default.

85%-fb-videos-viewed-in-silence-060716_image01At the same time, though, Digiday notes that “Facebook has built a video ecosystem that does not require users to turn the volume up.” It makes sense, because people watch videos at work, on public transit and in plenty of other places where they don’t want to make noise.

“Millennial news site Mic, which is also averaging 150 million monthly Facebook views, said 85 percent of its 30-second views are without sound,” Digiday reported. “Maybe there’s something more to that 85 percent than meets the eye.”


The secret to captivating video content is the combination of in-video text and eye-catching visuals. You’ve got to catch the user’s attention first (using “a striking visual or message up front,” Digiday says), then offer enough descriptive detail (“text-heavy explanation of the content”) so the user doesn’t need sound to comprehend the video.

So, what does this all mean for your marketing strategy? It means there are specific methods you can use to create more compelling video content. The big players in the Facebook video scene are absolutely killing it in views, and there are some terrific strategies you can nab from their play books.

How to create Facebook videos like the pros

Time to learn from the best — let’s take a look at two eye-catching videos from some of the most prolific Facebook publishers:

If we watch closely, you’ll see that these creators hit all the right notes. They catch your attention immediately with an intriguing visual and/or a super-quick description that makes you salivate for more. Then they use the right mix of visuals and captions (when necessary) so you can watch in complete silence.

To create videos like NowThis, BuzzFeed and Mic, keep these tips in mind:

1. Capture their attention right away

In the old days, you might have been able to post anything you wanted and have it show up on most of your audience’s News Feeds. Those days are long gone! With so much content out there competing for your audience’s attention, you need to stop people in their tracks if you want eyeballs on your material.

To get users sticking around past the initial few seconds of the video, just do what already works. Instead of starting your video with a boring logo, try using an eye-catching visual (maybe something like an alligator on a golf course) that commands attention right away. Then complement that visual with an intriguing “hook” (who can resist “A company wants you to lick your cat?”)


2. Narrate the whole thing (sort of)

You’ll want to explain what’s happening in your video. This is easy! All you have to do is add text directly into your video.

If someone is speaking in your video, include captions that transcribe what they’re saying. If you’re announcing news, show bite-sized text that explains what’s happening and what’s exciting about your topic. Resist the urge to add tons of text — overloading your video with words galore is a big no-no. Instead, use just enough text to explain what’s happening.

When you’re done adding text, watch your video with no sound and check if someone would be able to understand it like that.

3. Watch your video length

Powerhouse publishers like NowThis, BuzzFeed and Mic are highly successful on Facebook partly because they create short, easily consumable videos. You might want to model them and create shorter videos yourself. (Keep in mind that almost 60 percent of consumers say they don’t want to watch really long videos.)

85%-fb-videos-viewed-in-silence-060716_image05On Facebook, short and sweet does the trick. If you tailor your video length accordingly, you’ll be more likely to hold your viewer’s attention all the way through.

Who is a great group to target on Facebook? Millennials. If you want to learn about how to precisely target millennials and create imagery that engages them, check out our guide Marketing to Millennials: Engaging a Generation of Visual Buyers.