Facebook’s gearing up to show more video

You may have noticed a lot of videos showing up in your Facebook news feed lately. And you’re likely to start seeing even more.

Facebook is making a big push to make video more prevalent on the social network, both in the form of paid advertising and clips uploaded by individual users or commercial publishers, such as news outlets and entertainment companies.

And while it’s a long way from becoming a video platform to rival Google’s YouTube service, Facebook released some new statistics on Monday, and a new feature that shows how often a video has been viewed, to underscore its ambitions.

“Video uploaded directly to Facebook is an increasingly important part of News Feed,” said Fidji Simo, a Facebook product management director for video, in a company blog post.

Facebook users watched videos on the social network more than 1 billion times a day, and the number of views grew by more than 50 percent from May through July, Simo wrote. “And we’re just getting started,” she added. The New York Times also reports that Facebook users are uploading more than 100 million videos a month.

More than 65 percent of videos viewed on the social network are played on mobile screens, according to Simo.

We’ve reported before that the advertising world is excited about the potential power of video commercials on Facebook, which the social network has been introducing gradually. Google doesn’t provide revenue figures for YouTube, but some analysts estimate it brings in more than $1 billion a year. Google says more than 6 billion hours of video are watched every month on YouTube.

But video is such a compelling medium that Facebook also sees a benefit in showing more user-generated videos, even without ads. Unlike YouTube, Facebook doesn’t currently sell ads that would appear before user-generated video ads. That’s always a possibility in the future, of course.

Meanwhile, Facebook has been refining its “Auto-Play” feature, in which a video starts playing automatically as a user scrolls past, even if the user doesn’t click on the video. It’s also tweaking its algorithms to show more videos based on a user’s previous likes and whether the user has tended to watch other videos. And it’s starting to recommend related videos that a user might find interesting.

So if you watched a lot of those Ice Bucket Challenge videos, or you played your favorite singer’s new music video more than once, you’re likely to see more of those in the future.

(Image courtesy of Facebook)


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  • Michael Beatty

    Its also eating up mobile data. I checked my data use and Facebook was using on average 0.22 GB of data per week in the month of July and August. I turned the auto play feature off on Aug 24th and in the two weeks since I used 0.09 and 0,08 GB of data.

    While that isn’t enough to put me over on data, and cost me more, that is a pretty significant jump.