Facebook’s Big Bet on Video



With 74% of all Internet traffic predicted to be video by 2017, according to Syndacast, Facebook is increasingly concentrating on video for both its users and advertisers.

Thanks to high levels of Smartphone penetration and the wide availability of high speed Internet, social networks are being increasingly used for distributing video.

With video the current darling of content marketers, 2016 looks set to be the year when both large corporations and small players will widely adopt video.

Why is video becoming a big thing?

  • Easy to watch and understand – Video attracts audience’s attention and is quick to watch and absorb.
  • Trusted and valued by consumers – 96% of consumers find watching videos helpful when deciding what products to purchase online, while 58% find companies that make videos more trustworthy.
  • Share-able and viral – Videos can be very easily shared compared to other content and therefore reach an interested audience with little effort by the creator.
  • Beneficial for SEO – Video is also very beneficial for search results, with rich media being favoured in search engine algorithms.

Facebook’s focus on video

Just like Facebook’s embrace of photos was crucial to its early success, the company is now focused on growing organic video viewing and sharing, with the aim of making the social network a one-stop shop for news and entertainment, as well as communication.

Featured prominently and playing automatically within feeds, Facebook increased video views from an already impressive 4 billion to 8 billion views a day in just seven months, on par with YouTube.

In a mark of their continued focus on video for users, Facebook is reportedly testing a number of new video features, including: a video only feed stream, a suggested video interface with personalized recommendations, and picture in picture viewing to allow users to continue watching a video while browsing their news feed.

In a recent blog post, Facebook has announced that it is adjusting its Newsfeed algorithm to prioritize Facebook Live videos. Facebook revealed that users engage with Facebook Live recordings three times more than they do with normal videos. This update just goes to show how much Facebook takes video seriously as it continuously focuses on optimizing the format.


Video for marketers

Two years ago, the company began rolling out expanded video and reach and buying capabilities for marketers. Advertisers can now choose video views as an objective when creating a campaign and Facebook will automatically optimize ads to be shown to users who are most likely to view videos.

Facebook also introduced features that made it easier for video adverts to target and engage with viewers. Video ads can be re-targeted specifically at those users who have watched previous videos and can now include call-to-actions that invite viewers to learn more, or visit a specific page after viewing.


Introducing new tools

In February this year, Facebook announced a number of new products to help further support video as a medium for advertisers.

A new caption tool automatically ads captions to videos. The tool will help deal with the issue of video adverts not communicating their message properly without sound (estimated at 40% by Facebook’s director of ads product marketing, Graham Mudd).

Additionally, Facebook has also extended in 100% in-view option so that it is available globally. The option allows companies to only pay when an entire ad has gone through the news feed.


In conclusion

As viewers watch less traditional TV, watching, engaging and sharing video online looks set to increase further.

Video adverts on social networks, with their ability to cost effectively target consumers look set to grow significantly, a trend that Facebook is actively seeking to develop and promote.