Newly-released figures from Facebook say that over 1.25 billion people use the platform’s video streaming platform Facebook Watch each month.
- Despite launching globally just two years ago, almost half of Facebook’s total of 2.7 billion active accounts visit Facebook Watch monthly.
- In June 2019, Facebook said that 720 million people were watching at least one minute of Watch content every month. This signifies that the total minutes watched has increased by two thirds year-on-year
- It claims its original programming is driving “cultural moments,” with big talents such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Justin and Hailey Bieber being engineered to “gather communities around a common interest on a large scale,” according to Matthew Henick, Facebook’s VP of content strategy and planning
But what counts as watching on Watch? Given the work Facebook has done to unify their video viewing experience, video watched anywhere on Facebook (in the News Feed, in Messenger, or on Pages) will likely count as being a Watch watch, without a user having to have navigated specifically to the Watch tab.
Facing the music:
- Facebook wants to take on YouTube’s music video dominance and has introduced music videos in Watch to users in the US, India, and Thailand.
- The videos will be “wrapped in new social experiences” around the artists and their pages. These features are aimed at getting people to spend more time on Facebook
- Katy Perry exclusively launched the music video for her new single “Smile” on Facebook Watch in August
What this means for publishers: At the moment, Facebook is encouraging longer videos on the platform, rewarding those over 3 minutes with algorithm boosts. But publishers should be aware of investing too much time into longer videos; the tech giant can easily change its mind.
- Buzzfeed said it has increased revenue from Facebook Watch by focusing on longer videos, with ad revenue up 20% in the first half of 2020
Other areas to Watch: Facebook is not just swinging at YouTube with its aim for worldwide video dominance. It’s also launching and expanding in several other related areas:
- Paid online events have just launched, which will allow businesses to broadcast live videos and events to paying attendees
- Facebook is also hoping to take on Twitch by expanding the availability of fan subscriptions and Stars; a virtual currency fans can use to reward creators
- The platform is in the early stages of rolling out a new testing tool to help video creators A/B test. Key testing variables include a post’s thumbnails, titles, descriptions, and even video content