• Facebook Puts Video Center Stage

    Facebook reported record results for 2015 late yesterday and on the earnings call, video was the first thing Mark Zuckerberg highlighted when discussing the company’s product strategy for delivering more engaging experiences. He added that 100 million hours of video are now watched daily on Facebook by 500 million people (though “watch” can be an ambiguous term for Facebook given its autoplay, audio-off format).

    Video was also cited by Sheryl Sandberg as the first example of the company’s creativity in mobile advertising. She highlighted Microsoft Xbox’s launch of Halo 5 and the use of mobile video ads in Facebook feeds that were intended to grab attention within the first 3 seconds, with the sound off. Sandberg said the Halo 5 ads generated 380 million impressions and 49 million video views (again, Facebook’s bar for a video “view” is just 3 seconds).

    Sandberg later said that a key to Facebook’s ongoing success in video advertising is “persuading marketers to to experiment” with Facebook’s “unique canvas.” Sandberg sees one of Facebook’s key video advertising advantages as the flexibility to offer everything from short-form videos with sound off to more immersive, longer-form experiences.

    But she noted that Facebook still has a lot of work to do to validate for advertisers that Facebook campaigns drive results. And she positioned Facebook ads as complementing TV ads, backed by Nielsen research.

    Related to this, yesterday, Brian Shin, founder and CEO of Visible Measures shared his company’s tracking of top branded videos of 2015 and the significant role that Facebook played. Brian said that 56% of the viewership on the top 10 campaigns of 2015 occurred on Facebook, up from zero in 2014 and ahead of YouTube’s 42% share. The top branded campaign was actually Facebook’s own “What’s On Your Mind?” which generated 295 million views, of which 99% were on Facebook.

    No question, Facebook has become a force in video over the past year and based on what its executives are saying, the company has even bigger plans ahead.