Most of you cannot go a day without being on social media. What keeps us hooked to social media varies individually, but there are common features. The most common reason why many Zimbabweans go on social media is to watch video content. There is now a whole universe of Zimbabwean video content online. It is in the form of skits, podcasts, dramas, films, and the like. While social media personalities have always been popular, almost anyone can now build huge online communities. This is actually a business idea worth exploring.

What Is Entertaining You Online Are Thriving Businesses

I have noticed a number of people do not fully understand how social media works. Many people go online daily to watch comedy skits and the like. In fact, the bulk of the engaging video content online in Zimbabwe is comedy-based. This is a global trend evident when you look at social media. We are living in an age where content is king. It is basically edutainment content that is most engaging online. That is why comedy, podcasts, and dramas, amongst others, are popular online.

What many seem to miss is that most content creators are making money. You go online and you check out, say, a comedy skit. In your mind, you are thrilled to be able to access engaging content for free. The cost is merely just you getting data; at times, you can even have access to free internet connectivity. You need to understand the dynamics at play. If it is free, then you are the product, and that is what is happening when it comes to most content you see online. Let me explain.

Monetization Of Online Video Content: A Focus On Facebook

I have realized in Zimbabwe that most of the online content in question is on Facebook. It does seem that building a large following is relatively easier on Facebook. This is also aided by the fact that most people have been familiar with Facebook for the longest. Plus, mobile network operators (MNOs) in Zimbabwe have dedicated Facebook bundles. Before I detail a little more, understand that there are two broad monetization options:

Influencer Marketing (Also Known As Branded Content)

This takes many different forms, but the most straightforward one involves an influencer working with an advertiser. Consider the online comedy skit makers you follow as an example; they are influencers. Suppose there is a company that wants to advertise its products. It can pick an influencer with a substantial following and good engagement as well. Then they agree on how the influencer will advertise their products or services. Either the influencer will make a skit centred on the ad, or they will simply feature the ad in an unrelated skit. The approaches are many and depend on what the parties agree.

Platform Monetization

Platform monetization is a function of the respective platform in question. In this case, I am using Facebook as an example. There are ways to monetize one’s video content on Facebook. This applies to pages, not basic accounts (i.e. profiles), so bear that in mind; you would have to open a page. First off, you should adhere to the Partner Monetization Policies. For example, you must have a significant presence on Facebook. You are also to share authentic content. Your content must be devoid of graphic violence, hate speech, and nudity.

To get monetized means you will allow ad placement by Facebook on your content. There are different types of ads, e.g. in-stream ads, overlay ads, and sticker ads. Overlay ads and sticker ads are usually used on Facebook Reels. Then there are fan subscriptions which entail your passionate followers choosing to pay regular subscriptions. If your page grows into a significantly big audience, you can explore fan subscriptions.

Some Noteworthy Eligibility Requirements (On-Demand And Live Videos)

Though there are a lot of aspects, I will touch on some that are pivotal in painting a picture for you. Your page must have at least 10 000 followers. The requirements pertain to the activity on your page during the last 3 months. Your total views must be at least 600 000 minutes (10 000 hours) in that period. (60 000 minutes (1000 hours) of those should be watch time from live videos). This combines on-demand and live videos, excluding paid watch time. Your page must have at least 5 active videos. Videos must be at least 1 minute long. For videos beyond 3 minutes, it is advised to deliberately have break points at the 1-minute mark. These are some of the requirements to show you the work you need to put in before qualifying for platform monetization.

The Prospects

The number of views your video gets and the respective advertisers behind the ads are placed to determine how much you get. In-stream ads are most suited for long videos and content that seamlessly aligns with advertisers’ expectations. Understand that it is not really about the views you get per se. It is about the ad impressions on your videos. People conflate views for ad impressions. It is understandable because a view usually translates to an ad impression.

An impression simply refers to when anything on your page appears onscreen, is viewed or is clicked on. Facebook then pays you a certain amount per impression; the figures vary depending on location, the advertiser in question, and the like. What you get is a result of multiplying the number of impressions by the amount per impression divided by 1000. That would give you payment per 1000 impressions. The average payment per 1000 impressions is US$8.75, but it varies. In essence, that is US$8.75 per 1000 views (as most people commonly refer to it, i.e. ‘views’). It can be more than that or even less than US$1.

Anyone can do it – you can do it! You just have to start a page, share engaging content, and build a large audience. Now you probably understand why more and more Zimbabweans are starting Facebook pages. Now you understand why they are always posting videos and holding live streams. There is money to be made and you, too, can do the same.