Since April 2015 the number of daily video views on Facebook has doubled to 8 billion. The sharp increase in viewership is indicative of the overall rise in video consumption and Facebook’s own internal push to sell it’s users on video.
Direct comparison with YouTube is difficult because of the way that video views are counted. On YouTube a view occurs when a video is watched past thirty seconds. On Facebook a view is recorded if someone watches the video for more than three seconds. Also, Facebook videos auto-play as users scroll through their news feed.
Facebook Adds New Video Features
While direct comparison might not be possible Facebook has done an excellent job of bringing native video to it’s 1.55 billion monthly users. In order to maintain it’s current trajectory Facebook is working hard to get it’s users to consume more video content. It is currently testing a Suggested Video feature based on the data that they collect about it’s users. Another feature currently being tested is picture-in-picture viewing which allows users to continue to watch a video as they look through their news feed.
Facebook Video Ads Command Highest Rates
The shift in focus towards video makes financial sense for Facebook. Video ads command the highest rates of Facebook’s advertising options. Facebook will need to be careful though to balance advertising revenue against upsetting it’s user base. Social networks are notorious for dying as quickly as they grow if users become dissatisfied (See MySpace). To achieve that Facebook will need to encourage organic video growth and not rely on “Force-feeding” auto-play videos through their news feed.
Video To Dominate The Internet By 2019
The trend towards a video dominated internet goes beyond Facebook. A recent Cisco study predicts that consumer consumption of video will constitute 80% of all global internet traffic by 2019. If Facebook keeps growing it’s video viewership at it’s current pace that appears to be very likely future reality.