It was only a matter of time.
Just like Amazon, YouTube and Netflix before, Facebook officially entered the video streaming game.
What is Facebook Watch, and what does it mean for you, your marketing strategy?
What is Facebook Watch?
Launched in August 2017 to select users in the United States via mobile, desktop and TV applications, Facebook Watch is the company's entry into episodic video broadcasting. The videos range from mini-documentaries to live sporting events through partnerships with Major League Baseball. There is a group of publishers at launch, but the company plans to open it soon to more creators.
How will Facebook Watch win money?
Facebook Watch is monetized thanks to advertising cuts. Producing partners earn 55% of advertising revenues, while Facebook retains 45%.
What differentiates Facebook Watch from other streaming services?
The streaming video space is undeniably crowded, so Facebook had to find a way to bring out Facebook Watch. Facebook Watch is different from three main ways, which bodes well for its endurance.
- The original video content, which can be viewed via a new tab called "Watch", is exclusive to on Facebook Watch and can not be seen anywhere else (with the exception of the content live). available through offers like the one with Major League Baseball).
- Because it's monetized through advertisements, Facebook Watch is totally free to the public. All they have to do is log in to their Facebook account.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook Watch is hyper-personalized in a way that no streaming platform has been before.
The new trend of "social observation"
Facebook Watch customization takes advantage of everything users already like about the platform: it's personal and social. People like to receive recommendations for things that they like, and they like to share these things with friends.
- Facebook Watch offers personalized recommendations in its Discover tab, using fun categories and Facebook like "The most talked about," "What makes people laugh" and "Watch your friends watch".
- Subscribing to a show instantly connects Facebook users to other fans through groups related to a show.
- During a show, Facebook users have access to a live comment section where they can chat in real time with other viewers and friends.
All of these characteristics indicate a strong emphasis on social viewing. While the trend of social listening is new, we have already seen it.
For example, in April of this year, Tumblr launched its Cabana video chat service. The app works like a hybrid Tumblr / FaceTime, where users can watch their friends' reactions in real time as they all watch a video together.
The veteran of the YouTube social visualization also made some changes. Also in August, YouTube added an integrated chat to its Android and iOS apps. Previously, users could only share videos to other applications, such as Twitter or a text message, but conversations can now also be native to YouTube. The interface is similar to Google Hangouts and seems to be YouTube's response to the messaging feature offered by Instagram and Snapchat.
When multiple social media platforms follow, it's a sure sign that a new trend is here to stay. Social listening does not go away, so how can marketers benefit?
What Facebook Means for Marketers
Facebook has 1.32 billion users who register daily. For those who wonder, their monthly active users just reach 2 billion.
One or the other figure means that Watch is a major initiative on Facebook that marketers should not ignore. Facebook plans to incorporate Watch episodes into the news feed, and the company has already proven itself using the news feed to propel new features towards success.
Here are four ways Facebook Watch will change the game for traders.
1. Advertising ads will likely become more important for Facebook advertisers
In a world increasingly focused on Internet marketing, people are starting to better show their ads. Last year, Google dropped its ads on the right sidebar and removed them.
Fortunately for advertisers, Facebook Watch promises beautiful things. There is a lot of noise in the news thread of a Facebook user, so it's not always easy to draw attention to your ad. But with video, you have a captive audience that is stuck watching your ad. They can not just scroll through their stream to get away from it.
Longer videos will only increase the effectiveness of mid-roll advertising ads. And if Facebook adds social engagement features in ads, such as feedback and sharing, they will be even more successful.
Traditional television has been on a downward trend for years. Facebook Watch will only accelerate the shift from TV advertising to digital and mobile.
2. Facebook Watch gives influencers and social creators a powerful new chain
As promising as the ads are, it should be noted that Facebook Watch publishers can totally exclude them. Instead, they can earn money through product placement, as long as they mark the sponsor for transparency. One can imagine the implications this has for aspiring videographers, actors, singers and documentary filmmakers hoping to finance their growth through influential partnerships.
The rise of the influencer owes much of its success largely to YouTube. But Facebook Watch could prove even more fruitful for influencers.
For example, Facebook Watch will open new, less search-based viewing modes than YouTube. Users who watch or subscribe to programs will see these appear in their news feed with other daily updates from their friends, rather than having to go to YouTube for check the latest uploads. This gives influencers a huge opportunity to increase engagement through video because the affinity of fans with influencers will become even more important.
3. Facebook Live can become even more important for brands.
Facebook Live, with Instagram Live, has been gaining popularity among brands since its release two years ago.
Facebook Live allows brands to humanize and connect to fans in real time. The shows and events on Facebook Watch will do the same.
It is inevitable that one day Facebook lets brands join the party while Facebook opens Facebook Watch to more publishers. (Those who are interested can apply via this page on Facebook's help.) Brands can start practicing now by focusing on Facebook Live.
What resonates with your fans? Do they prefer a structured video format, or something more casual? How often do they want to watch? Daily shows in particular could be a gold mine for brands. The frequency allows users to come back, which guarantees a lucrative return for product placement or advertising breaks. This consistent association with their favorite show could make consumers fall in love with your brand.
4. In the end, Facebook Watch changes the game for video content merchants
Facebook strongly emphasized the social aspect of Facebook Watch in its official announcement:
"Watching a video on Facebook has incredible power to connect people, spark conversation and encourage community," said Daniel Danker, director of Facebook products. "On Facebook, videos are discovered by friends and bring communities together."
Three of the four points in the release mentioned the connection and brought people together. Even the few seed programs funded by Facebook are presented as "community-based" video series.
That makes sense: the sense of community is what made people fall in love with the platform.
For this reason, Facebook Watch will likely see much greater sharing and social engagement than other platforms.
The current list of Facebook Watch programming focuses on reality shows, mini-documentaries, and sports coverage – aligning it more with YouTube than the drama and heavy comedy of other networks. streaming. However, while YouTube is optimized for hands-on, short-form content, Facebook Watch will likely expand the possibilities to longer-life videos, pure entertainment, and more passive content.
Video marketers should start planning now how they can create content that matches these categories and foster real-time discussion with the community. Maybe for the first time, the content should be created thinking about the platform in the first place. Successful videos on Facebook Watch will encourage and facilitate real-time conversations.
Facebook Watch: an exciting moment for traders
Up to now, everything about Facebook Watch seems good for marketers. Members of the paid team will love to see more looks on their ads, and organic people will have more "authentic" opportunities to align with influencers. Increasingly, brands are trying to be seen as friends, not as businesses. Facebook Watch will let them do that.
About the Author: Michael Quoc is the founder and CEO of Dealspotr, an open social platform connecting emerging brands, lifestyle influencers, and search buyers trends. He was previously Director of Product Management for Yahoo's Media Lab, where he led the launch of several innovative services in the areas of live video and mobile social networks. Michael has nine patents for mobile and social network applications and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc.