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How are Facebook’s video ambitions likely to impact digital video business?

Anybody who is watchful of Facebook’s transition in the last few years would agree that its enthusiasm for the digital video was always existent. Facebook had registered 6 billion video views in May 2016. So, in 2018, when the social media giant announced that it will now focus on “meaningful social interactions” with family and close friends in its News Feed section, instead of taking content from brands and publishers”, this is nothing but target marketing at its best and it’s only to grow by leaps and bounds. Research says Facebook’s user base grows by eight people per second and Facebook video posts have increased by 75% since 2017. Now as everything falls into place, Facebook is all set to disrupt the digital landscape with its reach, power, and expertise.

 

Facebook to dethrone YouTube?

Facebook videos, like YouTube, are uploaded by users and their popularity is analogous to that of the latter. According to a report from digital analytics company comScore (SCOR), 95 million Americans watched videos on Facebook from desktop computers in November 2017. The timing just adds to the frenzy as latest projections from eMarketer estimates that digital video advertising in US region is expected to increase by 30.4%, and will reach $7.77 billion.

eMarketer estimates that YouTube will consume 20% of those advertising dollars. It is not inconceivable where the rest of the ad dollars will go if users switch to watching more video on Facebook.
Facebook along with Google completely dominates the online advertising industry. The masterstroke from Facebook lies in its announcement itself. Despite agreeing that the visibility of publishers who have been reaching readers for free through newsfeed automated placement of their posts will be affected, the sponsored posts that businesses pay to show people content as they scroll will remain unaffected. This is in fact targeted advertising in disguise and Facebook mastered it like a pro.

“Watch” might eclipse YouTube

YouTube is still the world’s largest video streaming platform with users that amount to, almost one-third of all people on the Internet. YouTube is the undisputed winner in the number game as of now but with Facebook’s video streaming platform “Watch” gaining the momentum and OTT players such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu etc. chipping in, an apprehension is certainly conceivable.

“Watch” allows users to watch videos from outside their Newsfeed, create new watchlists and get an easy path to follow shows created by publishers, artists, and brands. Watch is an effort by Facebook to push more videos into Newsfeed and work with premium advertisers on broadcast-like spots.

Improvised Video experience

In the last one year, the amount of video in user’s News Feed has almost tripled in figures. Facebook also improvised its video efforts with auto-play video features that make the video come to life in feed without any click. Another report says that almost 9-in-10 Facebook videos are consumed without sound, a signal that brands should consider producing video content that can still be engaging, even when mute. To that point, Facebook found that adding captions to videos increases the watch time by 12%, on average.

Pushing the boundaries with original content

Facebook is betting on original content in a bid to get more people spend more time on its social network site. They have funded numerous original “community-oriented” shows to inspire content creators and encourage the VOD ecosystem. Partners with original content for Facebook will earn around 55% of revenue generated by ad breaks in the content, while Facebook gets the rest 45%.

According to forecasts from RBC analyst, autoplay video advertisements is expected to generate $700 million for the Facebook. And, the social site is poised to make $1.7 billion to $3.3 billion if it runs one premium video ad every day. Assuming Facebook’s growing video growth, it won’t be wrong to say that Facebook has become the new destination for video creators. Stay alert folks!

What this means for Marketers

By now, marketers are well aware of the new changes made on the Facebook’s news feed section where posts by user’s friends get prioritized over posts from businesses, media, and brands. Seen as a positive change for Facebook users, it brings a new beginning for brands to refocus on their marketing efforts on the social platform.
Facebook users will see less public content, including videos and posts from businesses, brands, and media. This will lead to decrease in video watch time and referral traffic. It is going to get harder for marketers to get any traction organically.

Pages with low-quality content will see a decrease in user engagement. Marketers will need to focus more on quality rather than quantity.  The posts with the capacity of hitting the Facebook sweet spot will be those that initiate meaningful interactions between people.

The above changes bode well for the brand influencers who usually enjoy a higher level of engagement on their Facebook posts. Brands can partner with influencers who enjoy a good fan following to extract engagement among their followers and post meaningful content for partner companies.

Final Thoughts

Facebook video ambition is slowly picking up the pace. The social media giant not only provides tools for live streaming and recording videos, it also provides a platform to creators to discuss on a forum, ask questions, post content and engage with other creators. Using analytics and community engagement tools, Facebook video ambitions has encouraged digital marketers to re-strategize video distribution on the social platform. With a dedicated video streaming platform, Facebook is certainly going to create a noise in the digital landscape. How louder, only time will tell.

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