Facebook Watch: Facebook Video's new weapon against Youtube

Facebook Video User Interface - The Good 

Facebook had a paradigm shift since its inception back in 2003. While social, and the ability to interact with others has always been at the core of the platform, the type of content that you go to Facebook to consume has shifted drastically. 

What was once a college social network, where relationship status was one of the most relevant pieces of information you could get; has now become more of a news feed powered by your friends and what they are interested, with the occasional personal rant and even more rare photo album. 

Facebook-Watch-UI.png

As Facebook evolved so did the content people consumed. Facebook's extremely advanced content algorithm determined at some point that we were no longer interested in text posts, so it started serving us more and more images and photos. And then pictures weren't enough, and they turned into (autoplay) videos. 

All Facebook wants is for you to stay on the site longer and consume more content, and therefore, more of their ads. Video is simply their latest strategy for you to do that, but they are doing an amazing job at it. 

Popular Facebook video channels (Nas, from NAS Daily, is a good friend of mine and shared some of his data) show a whopping 94% auto-played videos, with ~60% of videos watched with the Sound Off. 

On our own fan page, the average completion rate for a good video is about 30%, which means that people really are willing to spend one minute of their time consuming a single piece of content, as long as the first 3-5 seconds are engaging enough. 

Facebook has also updated their app to switch to a 'Video News Feed' after you click on a video, which pre-loads the next piece of content so there isn't a second's delay between videos. 

The company is pouring all they've got into more video, and the new Watch Tab is simply their latest effort. They've partnered with some Facebook-first content creators and offered them a platform where they can have their own 'TV Series', episode number and all. The series that make it to Facebook Watch are curated and high-quality, unlike a lot of the content we get to see. 

 

Crappy Facebook Videos - The Bad

But it's not all happy news. The push for Facebook Video has also brought video spam. A lot of shady Facebook pages have built an audience on stealing content from other video creators (including Youtube), or taking advantage of the Facebook Newsfeed in any way they can. 

They figured out, for example, that square videos take up much more space on your desktop or mobile Facebook experience, and artificially expand their videos with those hideous black bars. 

 

Jump on the train before it's too late - The Tip 

The Facebook video 'revolution' is another opportunity for video creators to shine. If you missed the Youtube train in the early 2000's, this is your next opportunity to shine. 

Mentioning NAS Daily again, this is a video channel that wouldn't be as successful on Youtube, as Nas puts it, 'because the whole point of NAS Daily is connecting with real people'. 

The content that works on Facebook is very different, though; shorter 'snack' videos, quick editing, subtitles,... Facebook Video doesn't transcend as much as Youtube- there is no discoverability after the initial boost of social/viral views. 

Apps like iMovie and Google Photos now offer some fantastic and intuitive editing capabilities, and camera manufacturers like GoPro and DJI have started implementing Machine Learning-powered auto-editing capabilities on their respective apps.