If you subscribe to the Facebook pages of SGAG, Tech In Asia and Coconuts Media, you might have noticed that they share something in common in the last few months. All of them have started offering short and viral “Social First” Videos in addition to their traditional content.

The results generated by this text video format would make any of their competitors jealous. The success of these videos are based on its simplicity in format – sometimes just a succession of pictures, on which clearly legible short texts have been added. Nothing revolutionary, but this format meets in all aspects – form and substance – the social networks mobility ecosystem and especially for Facebook.

More than 32M views for this video by Bored Panda

What is a “Social First” Media?

Similar to a “mobile first” strategy for websites, “Social First” means using Social Networks as a core strategy. To be even more precise, these kind of media are “Social First” for “Mobile First”.

Specifically, the content is first created and optimised for social networks on mobile. It is then optionally integrated on a website. The number of subscribers to its social network pages becomes the most important factor for its reach and success.

Whether on Facebook or Twitter, these brands are spreading to reach a global audience. Brands sometimes distinguish their publishing policy on individual platforms: SGAG does not publish the same content on Instagram (photo) and on Facebook (photo & video).

The Power of Native Content

The Text Video format is one of the key components of the success of these “social first” media. However, the real growth driver is the video content that is native on Facebook.

Native content is content that is directly hosted on the servers of a service/platform.

From a Facebook user’s perspective, it’s a fast and accessible content to be consumed within the application. There is no need to open another browser or application. The charging time for these items is nil and the ads are not intrusive. As for the videos, they are directly viewed on Facebook – in autoplay mode – when the user scrolls through his news feed: the native content is the easiest and fastest way to access content!

We can find these “Social First” media on Youtube, Snapchat, but also Twitter and Instagram (who have long limited their video duration). All offer native video services within their applications. But Facebook, is formidable with its much larger audience, subscription possibilities, sharing, engagement and virality. For Facebook, the native content is just another service that perfectly overlaps into the huge ecosystem already in place.

Native text video in the spotlight

The other important point is the highlighting of native video content by Facebook:

  • The native videos on Facebook are in autoplay mode unlike other services such as Youtube which requires a click. This promotes viewing (but also swelling of statistics from actual views).
  • Facebook’s “Edge Rank” algorithm favours native video. Therefore, they are more often displayed in the user’s news feed than a simple post.
Source: Quintly

In November 2015, 65% of the videos posted on Facebook were native videos. They included 4 times more interactions than other videos. Ultimately, the native content is powerful because it is viewed, shared and commented within the Facebook application, which is simple and clear to understand for the user.

The Winning Formula behind Native-Text Videos on Social Media


The emotional power of video is central to the success of this type of content. Beyond the subject, it is the strength of an image, the staging of its information and the content angle that will impact the user. He will then add a “like”, comment or share the experience.

5.4M views for this SGAG text video using Humor as a main driver

Format optimisation:

The other strength of native text videos is related to its optimisation based on the broadcast medium and analytics.

  • Facebook considers a video viewed only after 3 seconds when YouTube requires 30 seconds. This is another topic but If you want to dig more into this matter, have a look at this Theft, Lies and Facebook video article.
  • The video duration rarely exceeds 1 minute (or 30 seconds depending on the subject), or one takes the risk of severely increasing the churn.
Source: Medium
  • The text video starts with either a picture, a video segment or an impactful title as most views are defined by the attraction during the first seconds.
  • Videos and texts are kept short to retain the user’s attention and keep them in suspense.
  • Add title and subtitles to the video for it to be understood without sound, and sufficiently visible on a smartphone. Depending on the media, 50% to 90% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. So no sound is the norm.

Even without sound, one can easily guess what this video is about

  • The square format is the largest visible format on a phone in vertical mode except if you use Snapchat or Periscope that already offers vertical format. On the other hand, the 16/9 format video remains more natural to the human eye or for viewing on a conventional screen.


The Perfect Combination of News, Storytelling and Marketing

While a simple image can move one, information related to this same picture does not necessary have the same impact. The idea is to find an editorial angle from outstanding images or to find strong images to illustrate an exceptional subject.

The ability to move / touch the Internet is as important as the ability to inform.

If you are looking to create relevant content that engages your audience, contact Pixel Tie for a free consultation!

This post was inspired by this other post from my french colleague Sebastien Raynal, so please send him some kudos if you liked it.


Founder & Creative Director at Pixel Tie. Rémy has a particular enthusiasm for all things digital and interactive. He is also a Serial Bread & Cheese Eater, Mountain Biker & Proud Philatelist.

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