Facebook is one of the largest online platforms for video, arguably only second to YouTube, and it seems Mark Zuckerberg wants to make it even bigger.
Yesterday it was announced that Facebook was introducing a video app for TV so you can watch videos on the platform on a bigger screen, as well as have more Facebook apps in your life.
Using the new app, Facebook users will be able to watch videos shared by friends or Pages they follow, top Live videos from around the world and recommended videos.
Users can save videos to watch later and revisit videos they’ve uploaded or shared themselves. This is all part of the social network’s plans to ‘make watching video on Facebook richer, more engaging and more flexible’.
The new app will roll out to app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV soon. This could be the next step in the platform’s moves towards making original content like Netflix.
If you want to reach people on the platform, video is the way.
Of it’s most watched videos last year, the top three: Chewbacca Mom, a Soundscapes video of Tears for Fear’s song ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’, and Buzzfeed’s 2020 Election Countdown, have a total combined viewership of 311m.
As a result, Facebook is changing the way its videos are watched – by bringing sound to videos in the news feed.
Previously, videos in individual news feeds have always played silently, with users having to tap on the video to hear the sound. Around 85 percent of video on the platform was watched without sound, according to Digiday.
This was a reflection of the way people consume Facebook media, such as browsing the news feed on a commute for example or maybe in an office, when automatic sound would have been distracting or loud.
Now, this new update means sound will “fade in and out as you scroll through videos” in the news feed.
This is an interesting, albeit slightly frustrating move by the social platform. Not everyone using Facebook’s app will have their headphones plugged in or want the sound to come on automatically.
However, this might really be a marketing ploy by Facebook as a way for it to guarantee ads with sounds to advertisers, and therefore ad views. According to Advertising Age, the new criteria for ads on the platform could mean views only count when the volume is on.
By keeping your phone on silent, videos will not play automatically. And it is possible to disable this completely in settings on the app. Simply switch off “Videos in news feed start with sound”.
As well as sound autoplay, new changes mean users can watch videos and scroll through their news feed. When on Facebook, you can minimise the video you’re watching by dragging the video to any corner of the newsfeed and keep browsing on the rest of your news feed.
It’s evident that Facebook is putting video at the core of its strategy, from keeping video at the top of the news feed, to now giving users have the ability to watch video and keep scrolling at the same time. What else will it pull out of the bag? And will it put user experience first, or that of advertisers?