Facebook announced in November 2015 that they now deliver 8 billion video views per day; reports online would suggest YouTube delivers between 4 and 5 billion.
There’s much said, and to be said, about the way video is consumed on Facebook, crucially the validity and impact of those 3-4 billion extra views, with the presence of mobile autoplay. However, the introduction of Facebook Video search, feels more of an expected tick box, than an aggressive play to further compete with YouTube.
YouTube are of course, a competitor for user attention in the video space, (and in turn for advertising spend) but it is Facebook’s wider video, augmented and virtual reality portfolio, both from a user and advertising perspective, that is fascinating to watch develop, as it begins to disrupt the ground for a range of competitive services and applications.
There are an ever increasing number of ways to interchange Facebook’s brands, services and products, (only a handful of which are listed below) to show how they are creating opportunities for users to replicate and improve their entertainment, communication, discovery and search experiences.
It’s beginning to come clear, in cynical circles at least, that their efforts are increasingly pointing towards owning and consolidating as many of the entry points to the mobile web and, dare I say, the internet of things as possible.
For example, Facebook video search, coupled with their still relatively recent foray into Trending Topics and Instant Articles, will look to rival Twitter, who, it is well documented, have struggled recently to tread a clear path.
Facebook Live will bring the most immediate, visual representation of these trending news stories as possible, directly into users’ Newsfeeds. The watch out, Trending, Live or otherwise, is the authenticity of the content that is returned via the search bar, when we consider Facebook’s paid for relationship with publishers and celebrities alike.
In addition, Live, considered alongside Instagram, MSQRD technology, (although a separate app for now) and Facebook Messenger/WhatsApp, will offer a comparable, yet arguably deeper experience to Snapchat. It is whether a seemingly more slick and commercial operation can attract and maintain the sought after millennial demographic at consistent scale.
Facebook’s approach to this space is as ever, bold, well-thought out and, if the users lean in, clearly designed to go toe-toe with their rivals’ products and services. Their suite of video products sees them continue to bridge the gap between a discovery and search engine and crucially keeps more of its users in app, rather directing them off around the web.
It leads to consumers having more choice, with the increased competition driving the innovation race. In addition, publishers and brands both fuel and benefit from increased reach, new data points and range of new native advertising formats.
Finally, it’s encouraging to see the word "Social", (that has held the platform back in some paid media areas), getting increasingly side-lined with Facebook now being recognised for all it has to offer, allowing the industry to discuss the good and bad that brings. No matter the outcome, Facebook will continue its efforts to cement themselves as the ubiquitous platform for consumers and businesses alike.
Jon King is the managing director of Performics UK (part of the ZenithOptimedia Group)