You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook Adds YouTube-Like Video Features, as It Tops 1 Billion Daily Views (Exclusive)

Facebook, already a huge distributor of Internet video, continues to roll out new ways to the social service an even more attractive outlet for video-content publishers — and, increasingly, it’s mimicking YouTube.

Since June, users have watched an average of more than 1 billion videos per day on Facebook, with video views climbing 50% from May through July of this year, according to the company. More than 65% of video views are on mobile devices.

Now, Facebook is adding a pair of YouTube-like features. In an update that will start rolling out this week, Facebook users will be able to see how many views a video on Facebook has received, something that’s been part of YouTube’s service for years. On Facebook, view counts will be shown on public videos to help people discover new, popular videos.

Another feature, which Facebook is currently testing on mobile, displays related videos after users finish watched a clip (also a longstanding YouTube capability). And Facebook also plans at some point to allow videos hosted on the service to be embeddable on more third-party sites.

The moves show that Facebook (and Twitter) are trying to evolve into more robust video platforms, even as YouTube is trying to become a more social platform.

Over all, Facebook’s goal with video is to build “a compelling offering around our partners’ content,” said Justin Osofsky, VP of media partnerships. “Things that drive engagement on Facebook are a win. Things that drive distribution to our partners’ sites are a win.”

The latest enhancements come after a series of other video upgrades by Facebook. Last year, it bowed auto-play videos (which Osofky called a “‘Harry Potter’-like experience) and this summer it improved video rankings in users’ newsfeeds aimed at displaying more videos that are relevant. In addition, Facebook added the ability to insert “call-to-action” buttons in native videos to let users click to launch an external website or app, or take another action.

SEE ALSO: NBC Is First TV Network to Buy Facebook Video Ads

The video-counts feature was requested by several partners, including Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, which wanted to track views of the “50 Shades of Grey” trailer featuring a remix of the singer’s “Crazy in Love.” “Partners want to be able to see the level of engagement and excitement in their video,” Osofsky said.

Video — specifically, short-form video — is a top priority at Facebook, according to chief Mark Zuckerberg. One of the company’s goals is to ramp up “organic” video shared by partners and users, to provide “unique types of content that you can’t get anywhere else,” he said on Facebook’s second-quarter 2014 earnings call. He cited Shakira’s thank-you video to fans when she topped 100 million “likes” on Facebook in July.

A big viral-video phenom on Facebook this summer was the ALS ice-bucket challenge meme. Between June 1 and Sept. 1, more than 17 million videos related to the ice-bucket challenge were shared to Facebook — which were viewed more than 10 billion times by more than 440 million people over that three-month period.

Media partners are also tapping in Facebook’s video to engage its billion-plus monthly users.

Discovery Channel has been using the auto-play and call-to-action features of Facebook native video for a few months, and has found that “hands down, almost in every instance the video posts outperform any other content types in terms of overall reach and engagement,” according to Derek Dodge, director of digital programming for the cable network.

For Discovery’s 2014 Shark Week programming franchise in August, the network launched the #SnuffyLives campaign (bringing back the seal that was swallowed by a shark in a promo last year). The “Snuffy Lives” video, in the seal pops out of the mouth a recently caught shark on a pier, on Discovery’s Facebook page was viewed by some 15 million people organically over the course the week.

“It changed the way we think about using Facebook,” Dodge said. “In the past we saw it as a marketing platform — now it’s more of a pure media platform. This is helping us extend our video strategy into social media.”

Showtime Networks is seeing higher engagement levels on Facebook for native video relative Twitter, according to Brian Swarth, VP and group director digital services at the premium cabler. When using Facebook’s video player, user engagement on the social service is two to three times higher than non-native video players (such as YouTube), he said.

Showtime has created a set of videos exclusively for Facebook to promote the Mayweather vs. Maidana pay-per-view fight on Sunday, Sept. 13. A few weeks ago, the cable network solicited questions from fans on its Facebook page (and via pages for both Maidana and Mayweather) — and received more than 30,000 questions. Producers then created a series of Q&A videos, with announcer Mauro Ranallo asking each boxer questions from their fans, set to hit Facebook this week. The videos will include links to the Showtime pay-per-view event page.

“Facebook continues to be interesting for us across digital marketing in general, and we’ve specifically seen a massive increase in engagement with our sports content on Facebook,” Swarth said.

SEE ALSO: Facebook to Acquire Video-Advertising Firm LiveRail

More Digital

  • Lauren Dolgen Exits as BuzzFeed Studios

    Lauren Dolgen Exits as BuzzFeed Studios Boss After a Year

    Veteran TV producer Lauren Dolgen has departed as head of BuzzFeed Studios after one year in the job. BuzzFeed had hired Dolgen, a longtime MTV producer who worked on shows including “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” as head of BuzzFeed Studios to oversee the company’s slate of original content. Based in L.A., she had [...]

  • Snap-Derek-Andersen-Lara-Sweet

    Snap Fills Out Senior Ranks With CFO, HR Chief Appointments

    Snap CEO and co-founder Evan Spiegel has turned in house to fill the company’s CFO and head of human resources positions, completing an overhaul of the Snapchat parent’s executive ranks after a series of high-level departures. The company announced the appointment of Derek Andersen, currently Snap’s VP of finance, as chief financial officer. Andersen will [...]

  • Oculus Quest Gets Netflix App, But

    Oculus Quest Will Have Netflix, but Not Plex or HBO

    Facebook’s new Oculus Quest headset is launching with a number of high-profile gaming titles this Tuesday. Media apps on the other hand will take a bit of backseat, with some key players sitting this latest headset out for the time being. First, the good news for anyone who has pre-ordered the headset: One of the [...]

  • Lester Holt

    Chris Berend Tapped to Oversee NBC News' Digital Efforts

    Chris Berend, an executive who has been overseeing digital video for CNN and helped launch Great Big Story, a streaming-video site aimed at younger audiences, will jump to NBC News to lead its digital efforts. Berend will replace Nick Ascheim, who will move into a new role that is described as “improving digital and product [...]

  • Vogue, Conde Nast Entertainment Make Robert

    Robert Semmer Joins Condé Nast Entertainment & Vogue as Vice President of Video

    Condé Nast Entertainment and Vogue have named former Vice and Fader video executive Robert Semmer as their new vice president of video. Semmer will be based in New York and report to Croi McNamara, senior vice president of programming for Condé Nast Entertainment. “Anna and I are thrilled to welcome Robert to our award-winning video [...]

  • CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L)

    FCC Chairman Backs T-Mobile, Sprint Merger With New Conditions

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai gave a thumbs-up to T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed $26 billion merger, after the companies committed to enhanced 5G buildout commitments and agreed to spin off Sprint’s Boost Mobile. T-Mobile and Sprint first announced their plans to merge in April 2018, looking to combine forces to take on industry leaders AT&T and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content