2015 so far has been dominated by videos, a digital marketing trend that has been clearly evident in H1 2015. While this is true, the year has also seen Facebook doing all it could do to dethrone Google’s YouTube. Facebook wants to end the monopoly of YouTube in the video social network space by offering competitive features with its video service to creators and brands.
From late last year Facebook’s PR machinery focused on highlighting how its video arm is growing and competing with YouTube. In fact Facebook made a News Feed adjustment a year ago — showing more video to people who interact with video, a move that has fueled the network’s growth into a 4-billion-daily-views video powerhouse. With the Q2 earnings to be revealed pretty soon, we can expect more revelations from Facebook in this video space.
To make Facebook video competitive, the networking giant over the period of last six months has introduced features to tempt publishers, advertisers and content creators. While Facebook launched Anthology – branded videos from publishers, it also has come up with a proposition that it is going to share revenues with video content creators like YouTube.
Meanwhile, Facebook has introduced some interesting product features to make videos a strong arm of the social network. Listed below are 5 such features that are strengthening the video arm of Facebook to compete with YouTube:
1. Auto-play videos
Auto-playing videos on Facebook isn’t new but reports are out that the network has been testing with continuous auto-play for video. The feature similar to the present YouTube video format, automatically plays another video after the one you are watching ends.
It’s a move beyond recommended video, which Facebook introduced last September, and different than auto-play in the News Feed which has been in place for well over a year.
The feature is similar to how Netflix queues up and plays the next suggested video and seems likely, if fully rolled out, to add further to Facebook’s surging video views.
2. Video embeds and comment syncing
During March, Facebook made it possible to embed videos on blog posts and sites. Facebook enabled YouTube-like video embedding with an intention to please publishers, journalists and the creators of videos who wanted greater distribution of their content. The feature also helped Facebook to increase video views.
3. News feed video rankings
Facebook added more signals to its ranking of video in the News Feed, adjusting the mix to make sure people see more of the videos they like on the social network. To do that, the company expanded on the traditional like, comment and share metrics and started taking into account whether people are activating audio, making video full screen and other actions that indicate interest.
Facebook made that News Feed adjustment a year ago — showing more video to people who interact with video, a move that has fueled the network’s growth in the video space.
4. Video insights
With more and more creators and publishers getting interested in Facebook videos, the network in the month of June, launched a new Videos tab in Page Insights, which will allow publishers to better track the performance of videos across data ranges, along with other data, in a more accessible fashion.
During this time Facebook informed that Page owners will be able to track views and 30-second views at a Page level, top videos within a certain date range, and metrics for videos shared from other Pages. In addition, Page owners will be able to toggle between breakdowns, like Organic vs. Paid, Auto-Played vs. Clicked-to-Play and Unique vs. Repeat, in order to better understand their own audience’s viewing behavior.
They can also drill down into a specific time period to see the views from just those dates, in order to understand views day-over-day.
Finally, Page owners will now be able to see views, reach, and other video metrics for the videos they’ve shared from other Pages, Facebook notes.
5. Watch later
Recently it was observed that Facebook is testing a new “Watch Later” button that allows users to flag a video so they can watch it at a later time. The new button was spotted for desktop viewers as a small overlay in the upper right corner. This feature appears to operate similarly to Facebook Save, the article-saving feature launched one year ago.
The feature may benefit Facebook by keeping users on the site longer, while allowing them to come back later at their own leisure.
According to a recent survey and market research by Ampere Analysis, Facebook is primed to rack up two thirds as many video views as Google’s network in 2015 — two trillion views compared to three trillion on YouTube. As recently as the third quarter of 2014, Facebook trailed YouTube in views by a factor of 9x.
With product features already similar to YouTube, Facebook has given a strong reason for creators, publishers and brands to try out its video platform. Moving ahead from here it is only going to be far more competitive for YouTube.