In 2015, Facebook registered an average of 8 billion video views per day. An impressive figure, even more so when you consider that one year earlier it was only 1 billion.
Although there are questions about how Facebook measures a view (3 seconds vs 30 seconds on YouTube), Facebook has clearly shifted into video overdrive.
In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg said “In 5 years, most of Facebook will be video” and it only takes a quick look at your newsfeed to see that we are well on the way. Video is popping up everywhere and if Zuckerberg’s word is anything to go by (hint: it is) then we can expect video to dominate the Facebook landscape in years to come.
So with that being the case, let’s have a deeper look at Facebook video and what it means for users and brands.
According to a study by Social Bakers of 180,000 video posts across 20,000 Facebook pages, Facebook video eclipsed YouTube in November 2014. Since then, it has continued its dominant trajectory.
The same study shows that by the end of 2014, Facebook videos generated a massive 80% of the video interactions. A combination of more people sharing videos, autoplay and Facebook giving preference to Facebook hosted videos over any others made it clear for marketers – on Facebook, use Facebook video.
Where in the past you might upload your video to YouTube and share it on Facebook, Facebook’s video first strategy has changed this whole dynamic.
They have skilfully used their ability to regulate and shape what content arrives in the news feed to essentially make YouTube an unattractive option when it comes to video sharing on Facebook.
It makes good business sense. Why should Facebook give preference to YouTube videos when they can emerge as a video powerhouse in their own right? This exploration into video only seems to be beginning. And with this shift to video comes a number of other interesting patterns.
The rise of autoplay videos has changed the game. Videos that play automatically quite simply have a greater chance of being watched. This has played a key role in the rise of (and effectiveness) of Facebook video.
Not only does it give content creators and publishers an edge, but it is an attractive proposition for advertisers as well.
With the increased video focus in Facebook, we can also expect to see a rise in video ads. A sub-section of these ads are (and will increasingly be) autoplay. Though still a new development and emerging opportunity, a study from September 2015 indicated that 12% have already purchased autoplay Facebook ads and a further 23% said they intended to in the next 6 months.
But as the news feed heads to a video dominated landscape, one of the key components of video has had to take a back seat.
According to an article by Digiday a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played without sound. This is a phenomenal stat. Fortunately, instead of railing against it and pushing for autoplay sound, content creators and publishers have come to the party and adjusted to the new silent reality.
As a creative response to this reality, you will have noticed an emergence of subtitles on videos. These enable people to watch and enjoy the essence of the entire video without sound. Should the video arouse enough interest, users can turn the sound on. Likewise some videos are overlaid with static text that frames the content of the video. Though these overlays often embody a kind of clickbait curiosity grabber, they are undeniably effective.
Within the broader Facebook video ecosystem lies another kind of new video project. One that Facebook have joined far later than the rest of the world. But now they have, it’s hard to see others maintaining their stronghold in the market.
Though a bit late to the party, Facebook’s entry into the live streaming world is likely to slowly increase. Facebook have the power to determine what gets seen in your feed and made an announcement this year that they will prioritise live streaming content when it is live. Their figures indicate that we are 300% more likely to watch a live stream when it’s live vs when it’s just a video.
As this live streaming becomes more prominent within the news feed, it will likely attract more and more people to give it a go, which in turn will gain greater exposure for it as a service.
When you consider the level of data integration in the Facebook platform, the live streaming is likely to form a key part of the new Facebook video ecosystem. An ecosystem which at some point is going to get a bit… weird.
As we head hurtling towards the future, the reality of a world in which Virtual Reality is a fundamental aspect of life comes ever closer.
According to Zuckerberg, VR will enable us to “Share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”
With a company as influential as Facebook (worth around $350 billion with around 1.6 billion active users worldwide) investing heavily in VR, a social virtual world seems to be on the horizon.
When this will come into effect is anyone’s guess. What impact it will have on the world also remains to be seen. But for now one things is sure, Facebook is going to get a lot more videos! If you are a brand currently not taking advantage of video, it’s time for that to change!
About the author
Nicci Barnes has been working in strategic project management both online and offline for almost a 10 years. Specialising in her passion of internet marketing and making her mark on the digital world with her company Upside.Digital she manages the operational side of the business and one of the biggest network of publishers across Australia. She is passionate about ensuring if the business has the ability to succeed, then they should also have the opportunity to succeed. One word of advice from Nicci would be ‘Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods’ and ‘Just Do It’