In its latest earnings call Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network is now serving more than 4 billion video views a day . That’s up a cool billion from January and quadruple the daily views reported in September. Earlier Facebook had announced that on average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily and 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.
With the increasing shift towards visual content, Facebook has been aggressively locking horns with YouTube. However, Facebook might be jumping the guns for its humongous video view counts but it is an amateur heavy or user-generated video platform. The problem is also that most advertisers don’t know how to make compelling video for social media. Not everyone can create a Dear Kitten video that breaks the internet.
But this is all going to change now with the introduction of a new video ad program called Anthology. To produce short-form videos for the social network, Facebook is going to create better Facebook video ads by teaming up advertisers and publishers. For example tomorrow Buzzfeed will create a branded video for a dog food brand to be uploaded on Facebook. Post that Facebook will run video ads based on its data insights for the maximum reach. The brand presumably will pay the creator, and then pay Facebook to run the video ads.
Advertisers will also have the ability to run these video as ads on other video properties like YouTube, Hulu, etc. Even publishers have the liberty to make more revenues by getting the advertiser to run the videos as sponsored content on publisher’s site. This is bit unlikely at a time when users are consuming more content on social networking sites.
According to Facebook - “Anthology is equal parts art and science, pairing publisher creativity with Facebook advertising insights to create custom campaigns that meet brands’ business goals. The program gathers a number of leading publishers to lend brands their creativity, storytelling expertise and video production know-how.”
To begin with Facebook has tied up with publishers such as Electus Digital, Funny Or Die, Oh My Disney, The Onion, Tastemade, Vice Media, and Vox Media. All of these partners are also Facebook Marketing Partners. “This means that in addition to offering creative and production services, each is trained on how to get the most out of the Facebook platform to drive business results.”
At this point Facebook hasn’t included pricing details, but last month The Information had reported that the minimum buy-in for Anthology will be $2 million.
Anthology’s launch gives a formalized structure to the branded video work that Facebook has been running for quite some time now. Budweiser’s 2013 Made in America partnership with Vice was one such initiative. Facebook also had deals like this in place with the NFL and Verizon. During the live event, the league started posting short exciting videos from the game. These clips immediately followed ads from Verizon Wireless, which paid to promote them within NFL fans’ Facebook news feeds.
Till now YouTube has been the only player thriving high on a market worth $200-$400 billion. Facebook’s aggressive focus on videos and YouTube’s dictate on large content creators could generate early signs of worry for YouTube.
Brands are interested in working with content creators like Vice, Vox, Funny or Die and others for their expertise in creating high-quality content for all the different kinds of consumers they want to reach. Additionally, Facebook’s finely tuned targeting capabilities around Facebook video are grabbing the attention of marketers. Facebook targeting by age, gender and location boasts up to 94 percent accuracy while its video player can derive deeper insights and metrics than other competitors, including YouTube, per Universal McCann. “This is content made for specific audiences based on science learned from Facebook,” said Mike Hadgis, Vox Media’s VP of global revenue and partnerships.
Apparently, Facebook has crashed YouTube’s 10th anniversary party.