Evidence of Facebook’s potential was clear with the recent release of a video on Beyoncé’s Facebook feed that garnered some 2.4 million views in the first four hours, compared to just a few thousand on You Tube. This is largely due to the ability of fans to share instantly on Facebook, an advantage that YouTube just can’t compete with—at least for now.
Lauren Wirtzer Seawood, head of digital at Parkwood Entertainment, Beyoncé’s management company told the New York Times that, “For us, Facebook has become the primary platform that we use to communicate content to fans.”
So, what’s going on? What has changed with regard to video on Facebook and why is video quickly becoming an integral part of the behemoth social network’s offering? Video is powerful, attractive to many, quick and easy to consume, and as applicable to business as it is to fun. Although still in its infancy in terms of development compared to the giant that is YouTube, video definitely enhances the Facebook experience for its users. That’s why we have seen a few changes designed to make Facebook video more accessible to users and more attractive to publishers. Here are some of those changes:
- As mentioned earlier, videos play automatically in the feed, without a prompt from the user. The best part of this is that the sound is off, so it doesn’t disrupt you without warning. A brilliant move.
- Viewing counts are displayed so you can see what’s popular.
- Publishers can add a “call-to-action” link to the end of a video.
- Publishers can now access deeper analytics about how their video performs.
- Recommendations of what to watch next are included under the video you just watched.
It’s early. Facebook doesn’t always get things right out of the gate. For instance, the introduction of “autoplay” led to some users complaining that mobile data was being consumed when they scrolled down their feed, even if they didn’t watch the video. Facebook addressed these concerns fairly quickly by adding an option for automatic playing only activated when users are on a Wi-Fi connection.
The challenge for Facebook is to continue the development, both in terms of new features and presenting the right type of content to users. The “Ice Bucket Challenge” showed the potential for video with, according to Facebook, more than 17 million videos related to the challenge being viewed more than 10 billion times by 440 million people. The cool thing about the Ice Bucket Challenge is that it got so many people who have heretofore not shot and/or uploaded video to the platform to do it, thereby introducing a whole new group of people to Facebook video and how cool it is to share video content with friends and family. That was a huge win for Facebook.
If you’re not yet experimenting with video as part of your content marketing mix in general, it’s time to start. And if you’re using Facebook as part of your social media initiatives, you should definitely be including video as part of your content mix. Had luck with video in these early days? I’d love to hear about it.