Well, here we are again, hypothesising on what the
evil brilliant geniuses are up to next over at Facebook. The other week, we were wondering whether Facebook was trying to become the next WordPress – This week, we’re wondering just what the company will do next in terms of its apparent attempt to dominate the world of online video. Hint – it’s likely designed to help make the social network more moolah, and give brands yet another line item to add to their social media & content marketing strategies (not to mention advertising budgets).
Heed the signs – The decline of the humble photo post
Once the golden child of the social network, photos seemed to have had a rapid fall from the top of the scrap heap as of late, with photos now driving the lowest organic reach of all types of Facebook posts. Conversely, video has skyrocketed to the top, with an average organic reach of 8.71% per post (compared to just 3.73% for photo posts, and just over 5% for both text-only and link posts). All this has seemed to come about so quickly in the past few months that even Google search results can’t seem to keep up – A quick search will still yield plenty of outdated articles and blog posts claiming that photos are still king.
Videos on Facebook today
Today, estimates report that “70 percent of videos on Facebook are being uploaded directly compared to just 25 percent in early 2014.” Then, in a final nail in the coffin of the humble photograph, late last week Facebook announced it was going to soon be testing a “dedicated place” on Facebook where users can go “when they exclusively want to watch video — whether that’s videos they’ve saved for later, or videos from friends, Pages they follow, and other video publishers on Facebook.”
Hmm – an area of the site dedicated just to watching videos, saving them to lists, subscribing to other channels… Well, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what site they may be trying to emulate. All this comes after another announcement that Facebook would now support 360-degree video (hot on the heels of YouTube, who became 360-degree video compatible just a few months earlier).
But the question is – why? Facebook generally doesn’t make drastic changes to the site out of the goodness of their hearts. We predict that the new video-centric area of the site will have a specific commercial value for the social network, the specifics of which remain uncertain at this point in time, but here are a few guesses:
Here’s what they could be up to:
- Facebook Video Ads (2.0) – An advertising format similar to YouTube in which brands can pay to have their videos show either before another video, or in a sidebar section of “Suggested” videos.
- Interactive video stories – Choose-your-own-ending video stories for a fully immersive experience
- Facebook Movies – Will we soon be able to rent, buy and watch full length movies on Facebook (with the social giant taking a cut of course?)
So now, the question remaining is – Are you ready for the social video revolution? If your brand already creating great video content on the regular or will you be scrambling to keep up when video seemingly inevitably becomes the default way in which individuals and brands share and consume content?
Do you think Facebook now poses a serious threat to YouTube? Or will it simply add to the list of services and networks marketers have to keep up with, with YouTube remaining a mainstay?