Over the past year Facebook video has skyrocketed in popularity and specific video formats have emerged as extremely shareable. Here are four key video trends that more good causes could be jumping on.

1. Text Based News Videos

Six of the twenty five most popular Facebook video pages are news pages and the majority of their videos use the same text based style. Here’s a video we produced in this style for 38 Degrees.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange/videos/10156459104290788/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”0 or 1″]  

Why they are popular

Relying on text to convey information means you reach the increasing number of people who watch videos without sound. These videos also benefit from the fact that people are motivated to share content that connects to a current conversation and contains useful information.

2. Real Life Videos

For years people have been sharing shaky mobile phone videos of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/asiantown/videos/1125413394153946/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”0 or 1″]  

Why they are popular

In The Viral Video Manifesto the authors argue that emotions are a key driver of sharing and that we are naturally moved by watching real life situations with real people or animals. Organisations are increasingly finding this content online and then repurposing it (usually with permission from the content creator). See an example from Upworthy here.

3. Video Essays

Video essays are short videos that explain a specific topic in depth. They can take the format of a narration over the top of footage, hand drawn animations or a presenter speaking to camera.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/theguardian/videos/10153870551066323/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”0 or 1″]  

Why they are popular

A New York Times Study showed that “94% [of people] carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient”. Therefore, if you can provide useful insight into a relevant topic then people will be motivated to share it. Often campaigners try to simplify subjects to appeal to a wider audience but the popularity of these videos show that there is a real demand for more in depth content.

4. Stories of Personal Triumph

Humans have long been drawn to stories of individuals who have succeeded against the odds.

[fbvideo link=”https://www.facebook.com/theTruth365film/videos/1242319279129112/” width=”500″ height=”400″ onlyvideo=”0 or 1″]  

Why they are popular

Research by viral video academic Dr Karen Nelson-Field found that “Of all possible creative devices, videos that display personal triumph appear most likely to deliver sharing success”. This is because “Stories of personal triumph are linked with exhilaration and inspiration”. Despite this she found that content creators use personal triumph as a creative device just 3% of the time.

Learn More

One of the reasons more campaigners aren’t using these extremely shareable video formats is because they aren’t aware of how popular they are or how they could be used for their work.

To help tackle this Richard Roaf of Alter Eco is delivering a one day training on Strategies for social video success on 12th April in Oxford.

If you have any questions get in touch.


Tubular Labs – Most Watched Facebook Creators: January 2016
Unruly Media – The Science of Sharing
Dr Karen Nelson-Field – Viral Marketing: The Science of Sharing
The Viral Video Manifesto
New York Times – The Psychology of Sharing

About the Author

0c34d9fRichard Roaf is Director of Alter Eco where he produces videos for organisations including Greenpeace, 38 Degrees, 350.org and The World Bank. Richard has been producing videos for seven years during which time he has developed an expertise in why people share videos online. He applied this knowledge during the recent Paris climate talks to create videos that were shared over 200,000 times on Facebook and overtook Obama by creating the most watched Facebook video on the first day of the talks.