Cinemagraphs are awesomely engaging content. They draw the attention of your viewer in a way that static images and standard video can’t.
While the process of creating them can be a challenge without the right software and know-how, creating them isn’t the only step that takes planning. Promoting your cinemagraphs on social needs thought too. Here’s how to get the most from your cinemagraphs on Facebook.
Getting The Most From Cinemagraphs On Facebook
Before posting your cinemagraphs to Facebook, there are a couple things you must consider. The most important is which format you’ll choose. Facebook supports both animated GIFs and MP4 video. But each has advantages and disadvantages.
Animated GIFs Cinemagraphs
GIFs can be a great way to share cinemagraphs on Facebook. They loop and continue to show your content over and over, as it should be displayed. Facebook supports animated GIFs natively, but you may also want to upload them to a service like Giphly and then share them to Facebook from there (the additional benefit is Giphly users can also share them on their own social accounts, furthering the audience they reach).
The drawbacks to GIFs is that they don’t look great like full HD video. The GIF format was never designed to display the large screen sizes and color ranges that today’s video utilize. Because of this, GIFs display using smaller color palettes than we’d like, which can lead to less than awesome looking images. They can also show less than smooth blending in the animation.
Facebook treats GIFs like any other image. This means that they see great reach when compared to other content types. But it also means that you can’t include a link with your GIF, as Facebook considers links in image posts to be click bait and will penalize you for it. So you’ll need to get your message across with just the cinemagraph and update text, should you choose to utilize the GIF format for your content.
Overall GIFs are a great option when you’re looking to share less detailed cinemagraphs and don’t need to include a web link with the update. But in most cases you’ll find MP4 videos are the much better option. Let’s look at why.
MP4 Video Cinemagraphs
Video content on Facebook has seen explosive growth in the past year. Facebook gives video the greatest reach of any post type and with good reason; it’s really engaging. But there are some additional considerations you should be aware of when posting cinemagraphs in video format.
Video begins to auto-play in the Facebook news feed, which is great, but it doesn’t loop like a GIF does. Watching a single loop of your cinemagraph isn’t going to have the desired result, so you’ll want your video to loop several times. But, you don’t want to simply extend your looped video to hour long lengths. A bit more thought is needed.
While you could upload a 10 minute version of your cinemagraph looping, you’d be hurting the reach of your post, because Facebook takes video completions (how many people watch the video to the very end) as an engagement signal. If people aren’t finishing the video (and most aren’t likely to watch your cinemagraph for 10 minutes straight), Facebook assumes your video isn’t that engaging and will lessen its reach. But, if you make your video loop very short, you’re less likely to engage people. You’ll want to find a balance that loops the cinemagraph enough to grab viewers attention, but short enough that they complete watching the video. 15-30 seconds should be a good spot, but you’ll want to test and see what works best for you. With the average online attention span at 8 seconds, if you can grab someone for more than double that, you’ve done pretty well.
Shorter videos serve another benefit too. If you engage your viewer, they may click the replay button. Someone interested enough to watch your video again will signal Facebook that your content is really engaging, which will increase the reach of your post.
Another way to increase reach is by getting people to click the ‘HD’ button on the video. Not only will this allow them to see your cinemagraph in its full glory, but it’s another signal to Facebook that your content is engaging and will help increase reach. You can even ask people to do so right in your update text. Make sure you tell them the benefit of doing so, such as, “Click the ‘HD’ button to see this all the awesome details.” Getting users to view your video in full-screen mode has the same benefit as an engagement signal, and also gives the viewer an even better cinemagraph viewing experience.
Given the choices between GIF and video, it seems clear that video is the winner, in most situations. By being aware of best ways to post your cinemagraphs, you’ll be able to get the most from your content and truly delight your audience.
Consider How It Will Be Viewed
Another consideration to keep in mind when posting cinemagraphs on Facebook is how they’ll be viewed.
You’ve spent a ton of time shooting and editing your cinemagraph and it looks awesome. It’s detailed and the animated aspects are perfect. There’s just one problem. Most people access Facebook from mobile. There are 1.442 billion monthly active users on Facebook and 823 million users are mobile-only, out of 1.591 billion monthly active users in total. So, while we’d love to have people view our cinemagraphs on the big screen of a desktop computer, most users will see your cinemagraphs on their small mobile screens instead (an example can be seen here).
All this doesn’t mean that your cinemagraphs are no good for Facebook. It just means you need to think about how people will see them. On a mobile screen, very small details will likely be lost. Very subtle animations may go unnoticed.
Before posting your cinemagraphs on Facebook, view them on your phone. See how they’ll look when displayed at full size on the mobile screen, but also shrink them down to see how they appear at the size people will see them in their News Feed. It may be helpful to post them to a test Facebook page first, in order to get a feel for the experience others will have when viewing them.
Cinemagraphs can still have the big impact you’d hoped for on mobile, it just takes a bit of forethought and planning ahead of time to make sure your viewers enjoy them as intended. Being aware of how people view your cinemagraphs will help you insure they look their best, no matter where they’re viewed.
The Best Cinemagraphs On Facebook
Awareness, planning, and picking the right options for your posts can all have a huge impact on the overall success of your cinemagraphs on Facebook. Knowing the ins and outs of posting format options and thinking how your cinemagraphs will appear to mobile users can help you get even better results from your efforts.
Keep these things in mind the next time you look to promote your cinemagraphs on Facebook. They can have a great impact (both positive or negative) on the success you see. With this knowledge, you’re prepared to get the best from your badass cinemagraphs. Save 10% on Flixel Cinemagraph Pro with coupon code here.