Facebook Video Autoplay – Using Our Eyes Against Us

It seems as though 2013 was very much the year of short video. The successful launches of Instagram videos and Vine were some of the biggest web-video related news of 2013. These new platforms, while not a direct threat to Facebook’s social media hegemony, do encroach on its turf, especially insofar as sharing photos and videos are concerned, and with recent reports regarding Facebook’s flagging popularity with younger audiences, it’s no surprise the social giant is rolling out new features to hopefully stem, if not turn, the tide.

Facebook Videos Moving to Autoplay

facebook-video-autoplayAfter a few months of testing, including a launch of autoplay ads late last month, Facebook is scheduled to roll out autoplay for videos.

Facebook Autoplay Videos – How Does it Work

Facebook’s newsroom reveals the new autoplay feature will show videos from individuals (personal Facebook accounts or verified Pages) and videos from pages of musicians and bands already playing as they scroll into view. No need to worry about waking up your entire household at 3am just because you’re doing some late night trolling though. According to Facebook’s announcement the videos will be set to silent by default, and audio will come on when users click.

How is This Different and Why Does it Matter?

The change insofar as interaction is concerned is quite massive. Previously videos uploaded to Facebook or shared from Instagram would require an explicit click on a play button to start rolling. This is quite an interaction investment, and since people normally tend to accept default settings, it stands to reason a huge number of potential videos views was lost, especially if they happened to have less than stellar image thumbnails.

With the new autoplay setting Facebook will be benefiting directly from the way our eyes are engineered to follow movement, with the moving frames capturing our attention subliminally the moment they come into view on the screen.

What’s In It For Them?

It’s no secret video is the hottest content the web has to offer, so Facebook is understandably keen on ensuring it maintains a leading position insofar as where people chose to share, comment and interact with clips.

Direct revenue from video ads is estimated to mean big business too, with Morgan Stanley predicting Facebook could rake in approximately $1bn from new video ads in 2014, rising to as much as $6.5bn by 2020.

What’s In It For Us?

The good news for us marketers is that the engagement enhancements Facebook is releasing for videos benefit our videos too, increasing the value of every Share and Like we can score. We’ve repeated here time and again that social and video are very closely related thanks to the power of sharing. Facebook’s latest features just took that and put it on steroids…

To find out more about how video can help your business contact Treepodia and we’ll be glad to fill you in.