Want higher engagement? Add text to your Facebook videos

August 27, 2015

Have you noticed that the videos in your Facebook Newsfeed are now soundlessly on auto-play? Yes, Facebook has tweaked the playbook yet again. This new auto-play feature for videos has nonprofits scrambling to adjust our strategies to continue to get the most out of the high online engagement that videos already generate. The answer, in this case, is to make your videos “readable.”


The new Facebook setup that automatically plays videos as a user scrolls through the newsfeed has eliminated the initial engagement barrier of getting people to click on our content to hit the “play” button. Videos now play silently until Facebook users click on them, however, this also means that if you want to get an important message across, you’ll need a new tactic other than the traditional manner of audio.

In order to avoid losing a messaging opportunity if the user doesn’t click “play” on the video, nonprofits are adding readable text on their videos with excellent results. Audio no longer becomes a necessity if the message can be conveyed through text, and a number of outlets are replacing narration entirely with on-screen text, or at least putting captions for the introduction portion of the video.


While Facebook’s auto-play feature is no substitute for a lack of interesting content, its ability to breach the engagement barrier, which can be greatly highlighted by using readable text, is a significant step forward in reaching your audience.

Also, remember to upload your videos directly to Facebook – the site’s algorithm will favor content posted on its own platform versus posting on YouTube or Vimeo.

What are your experiences with auto-play and on-screen text?

— Christopher Zeuthen, Summer Intern