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Facebook's Watch: Just the Beginning of a Video-Revamp

Earlier today, Facebook launched Facebook Watch, a new destination within the platform where consumers can watch longer form content they’re calling “Shows”. According to Facebook, “Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”

This latest launch isn’t surprising when you think about their recent earning report. In Q2 2017, Facebook Inc. saw a 45% YoY increase in revenue to $9.32 Billion (an increase in revenue earnings for 9 quarters in a row) and it’s most recently being credited to video and Instagram. 87% of their revenue is from mobile, which is also being credited to Video and Instagram. Amongst our iProspect clients, we’ve seen a growth in Video spend on the platform YoY with an overwhelming majority being in News Feed Mobile as the most efficient and scalable video placement.

However, in order for this trend line to continue, Facebook will need to identify new inventory sources as the existing inventory reaches maximum capacity. We first saw this in the release of their Messenger ads, yet today marks the start of additional Video experience and opportunities with this release of Watch.

Other social platforms, including YouTube, are creating ways for consumers to view longer-form content and publishers/creators to host original content, so it’s no surprise Facebook is doing the same. Let’s not forget about Snap Inc’s Discover platform and Twitter’s latest In-Stream video products and partnership with LiveNation, too.

So why did Facebook launch Watch? “Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation, and foster community. On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together. As more and more people enjoy this experience, we’ve learned that people like the serendipity of discovering videos in News Feed, but they also want a dedicated place they can go to watch videos.”

From our perspective, Watch will only help improve their video UX. Nearly 1 million hours of video are consumed on Facebook per day – most of which is in News Feed, and very little is actually watched in their Video Tab – a tab many consumers don’t even realize exists. Not only is Watch an attempt at building a new inventory source for advertising dollars, but it’s also a way for Facebook to add lean-back video viewing to its ever-growing list of consumer use cases for the platform. Facebook continues to establish itself as a destination for more activities, increasing the time spent on their platform, and potentially even continuing to grow their massive user base.

Looking at Facebook Live, the latest Video ad products and their emphasis on video in their latest earnings report, iProspect is predicting that this is just the first of many releases. Ads are available within the experience today to a small group of advertisers, rolling out more widely through the rest of the year. We’ll be keeping a look out for future video updates coming soon in these new spaces over the next few months.

In the meantime, brands can take advantage of this new Watch experience through the in-stream video ad placement. Currently this can be used for campaigns leveraging brand objectives such as video views, brand awareness, Page post engagement, and reach. These ads are 5-15 second mid-roll videos that play within shows and other longer-format videos on Facebook. 

Brittany Richter, VP, Head of Social Media at iProspect US, originally wrote this article.