Video Takes Over the Internet

The week of Christmas, while everyone was partying, Facebook released a slew of new features designed to make it the largest hosting platform in the world for video.  Facebook has been catching up to YouTube for a while, but the new features, which include a “Click for more” offering on the desktop, and live streaming by brands from their brand pages, should both drive more revenue and avoid making users furious at brands live streaming in their news feeds.

Here’s how the new features work, according to Digital Media Insider:

‘Click for More’ on desktop:

  • Facebook is testing a call-to-action button for its desktop users. Clicking anywhere on the video will take users to another window, which will show a larger version of the video as a part of a carousel of related videos.
  • Ads will be intermittently shown between videos, which will autoplay unless users select otherwise.
  • By taking users to a separate window, Facebook is ensuring that users who engage with the button aren’t distracted by the Newsfeed. This will likely increase the number of videos Facebook’s users view, which will have an effect on the click-through-rates and impression rates of its videos.
  • The feature is likely trying to act as a precursor to Facebook’s upcoming standalone video portal, which is expected to launch in 2016.

Live streaming for brands:

  • Facebook is allowing verified brands on its Pages site to live stream to their pages. Page users tap a “Publish” button and select “Live Video” at which point the video will begin after a brief opportunity for an introduction.
  • Facebook Pages will offer metrics so brands can follow how many viewers are tuned in. For the moment live streaming will only be available on Facebook for iOS.

Earlier this year, Facebook said that they expects video to effectively take over the social network in the next couple of years. Considering the rapid increase in both the number of videos published to the site and the daily views that the site experiences, this is a plausible statement.

What surprises us is the playing of intermittent ads, and the autoplay of video. both of which have been shown by industry group surveys to anger users. However, someone who actually goes to a brand page intending to watch a live stream is probably a far better targeted lead than somebody reading her news feed interrupted by a live stream ad.

Streaming video, permitted (for now) only on verified brand pages, will also give an advantage to advertisers with large enough budgets to warrant being verified, Small businesses on Facebook are still out of luck.