Facebook Watch was released in August 2017 to select U.S. based users on mobile, desktop and TV apps. It has now rolled out progressively with testing by the Facebook team, and has hit Australia. Facebook Watch is basically Facebook’s episodic streaming video cannel. The videos can range from mini documentaries to live sporting events, in which Facebook hopes to have partnerships with major sporting leagues around the world.
How will Facebook make money off this?
Facebook Watch is monetized through ad breaks. The producing partners earn 55% of the ad break revenue while Facebook keeps 45%.
What makes Facebook Watch different?
There will be three main ways Facebook Watch is going to be different in this intensely competitive space.
- Video content that is Original. It will be viewed through a new tab called ‘Watch’, which is exclusive to Facebook Watch.
- It’s Free! The audience will just have to do is be logged in to their Facebook account.
- Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook Watch will do what Facebook does best and that is hyper-personalise. This is done in a way that no competitor can come close to doing.
This will beef up Facebook’s longevity and stay power as it remains the dominant player in the social media market space.
Video and streaming have become the new social trend that invariably has led to greater features and resources by social media platforms. Facebook Watch is a way for Facebook to leverage off this trend and create a platform for these videos.
Personalisation of Facebook Watch
Facebook Watch will utlise what is already a popular feature of Facebook, which is video, and create a dynamic personalised channel where:
- Personalised recommendations will appear in its Discover tab, using fun categories like “Most Talked About,” “What’s Making People Laugh,” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching.”
- Subscribing to a show instantly connects Facebook users with fellow fans through show-linked Groups.
- During a show, Facebook users get access to a live comment section where they can chat with other viewers and friends in real-time.
This will lead down the path of more engagement between users and the Facebook platform, which is what Facebook is fundamentally after.
What Facebook Watch means for businesses
Here are four ways Facebook Watch will change the game for marketers and businesses.
1. Ad break ads will present greater opportunity for advertisers
There’s a lot of noise and activity in a Facebook user’s News Feed, so it’s not always easy for your ad to grab attention. But with video, you have a captive audience who is stuck watching your ad. They can’t simply scroll down their feed to get away from it.
Longer videos will only increase the effectiveness of ad break mid roll ads. And if Facebook adds social engagement functionality within the ads themselves, such as reactions and sharing, they’ll perform even better.
Traditional television has been on a downward trend for years. Facebook Watch will only accelerate the ongoing shift of ad dollars from TV to digital and mobile.
2. Facebook Watch gives businesses and influencers a powerul new medium
As promising as the ad breaks are, it’s notable that Facebook Watch publishers can opt out of them entirely. Instead, they can make money through product placement, as long as they tag the sponsor for transparency. One can imagine the implications this has for budding videographers, actors, singers, and documentarians who hope to fund their growth via influencer partnerships.
The rise of the video influencer owes much of its success in large part to YouTube. But Facebook Watch could prove to be even more fruitful for influencers.
For instance, Facebook Watch will open up new viewing patterns that are less search-oriented than YouTube. Users who watch or subscribe to programs will see those appear in their News Feed along with the other daily updates from friends, rather than having to go to YouTube to check for the latest uploads. This gives influencers a huge opportunity to increase engagement through video, as fan affinity with influencers will become even more important.
3. Facebook Live will become even more important for brands.
Just with Instagram Live, Facebook Live, has been gaining popularity with brands ever since it came out two years ago.
Allowing brands to humanise themselves and connect with fans in real-time. The live shows and events on Facebook Watch will do the same.
It’s inevitable that one day Facebook will let brands join in on the fun as Facebook opens up Facebook Watch to more publishers. 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 goldmine for brands. The frequency keeps users coming back, ensuring a lucrative return for product placement or ad breaks. That consistent association with their favorite show could make consumers fall in love with your brand.
4. Ultimately, Facebook Watch changes the game for video content marketers
Facebook heavily emphasized the community aspect of Facebook Watch in its announcement of the platform.
“Watching video on Facebook has the incredible power to connect people, spark conversation and foster community,” said Daniel Danker, Facebook’s product director. “On Facebook, videos are discovered through friends and bring communities together.”
Three of the four bullet points in the release mentioned connection and bringing people together. Even the few seed shows Facebook funded are touted as “community-oriented” video series.
It makes sense: The sense of community is what led people to fall in love with the platform in the first place.
Because of this, Facebook Watch will likely see much higher 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 heavy dramas and comedies of other streaming networks. But while YouTube optimised for how-to and short-form content, Facebook Watch will likely expand opportunities to longer-form videos as well as pure entertainment and more passively consumed content.
Video content marketers should start planning now for how they can create content that fits into those categories and fosters real-time community discussion. Perhaps for the first time, content should be created with the platform in mind first and foremost. Successful videos on Facebook Watch will encourage and facilitate real-time conversations.
Facebook Watch: An Exciting Moment for Marketers
So far, everything about Facebook Watch looks good for marketers. The people on the paid team will enjoy seeing more eyeballs on their ads, and the organic folks will get more “authentic” opportunities to align themselves with influencers. More and more, brands are trying to be seen as friends, not corporations. Facebook Watch will let them do just that.
If you’ve read to this point, you’re likely very interested in the above and should give us a call for a strategy session. Our number is (02) 8095 9342 (+61 2 8095 9342 if outside Australia), or message us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/attentionexperts. You can also book a meeting with us via our website at www.attentionexperts.com – I would be very happy to run through some of the above strategies with you in more detail