Facebook’s video hub, a new one-stop shop for video viewing, carries big implications for digital marketers.
The social network’s native video platform has been around for a bit, but now Facebook will take its video hosting to a whole new level.
The new video hub will impact the way people view video on Facebook, which will open up new opportunities for marketers.
An Overview of Facebook’s Video Hub
While Facebook’s native video hosting service garners 4 billion video views per day, Facebook has decided that that’s not enough. Recently it has introduced a new video hub, which offers many of the same features and functions as YouTube.
The new portal, according to the social network, will allow people to “discover, watch and share videos on Facebook that are relevant to them.” This new platform is currently in a testing phase and only a few people will have access.
In its current version, the video hub is available via a small icon at the bottom of the mobile app, or through the Favorites section on the web app. The video hub is being filled with videos that users have followed and saved for later, as well as videos from friends’ accounts and Pages they have followed.
There are more similarities to YouTube, however. The Suggested Videos feature, for instance, will create a feed much like YouTube’s recommended feed. People will also be able to save videos to watch later, similar to YouTube’s “watch later” list.
Facebook is adding more enhancements that YouTube lacks, though. With a pop-out player, users will be able to watch video while still browsing the site and navigating their feed. Facebook uploaded a video that demonstrates the new look and feel of the video player.
This upgrade to the Facebook native video service makes it more robust and more useful to users, which means it could have a big impact on marketers.
What Facebook’s Video Hub Means for Marketers
There are a few big implications for digital marketers.
Until now, YouTube has been the primary video marketing solution. For years, it has dominated the web in terms of video viewing time. And even after the initial introduction of Facebook’s native video service, YouTube was still the go-to solution for marketers.
Because despite the sheer number of Facebook video views, YouTube was still the “video search engine” of the internet. In other words, Facebook videos were too transitory for most marketing purposes. While videos would spike shortly after upload, they would quickly disappear from news feeds and then bottom out.
While this works for social and sharing purposes, marketers who wanted longer-lasting content would still turn to YouTube.
Facebook’s video hub is set to change all that, however. With an in-app video archive, search engine, and hosting service, videos will gain a longer life span. This means that Facebook video marketing will become a more viable solution.
This also opens up new monetization potential for video publishers, who will earn a cut of the ads run in their video stream. Like YouTube, there could be a rise in “Facebook video” stars who earn substantial income from advertisements run in their feeds.
Facebook as an “Everything Hub”
Facebook’s video hub is just a part of Facebook’s strategy to become the one-stop content shop for the entire world. Earlier this year, they began testing an in-app search engine that looks like it could compete with Google directly.
The search engine, if effective, would allow Facebook users to find articles and post links without ever leaving the site. This, of course, would increase the amount of time people spent inside Facebook, pulling attention spans and market share away from Google.
For mobile users, this function would be very convenient, since they wouldn’t have to leave the app, browse the web, copy a link, then paste it back into Facebook. A couple taps is all it would take to share content with friends and family.
There are other developments that make Facebook’s strategy even more apparent: Facebook Instant Articles and its immersive ads.
Facebook Instant Articles allows third-party publishers, such as newspapers and media outlets, to publish directly inside of Facebook. The Washington Post has already agreed to publish every single one of its articles through this service. To read the latest news from the Washington Post, then, users will never even have to leave Facebook.
Facebook’s immersive ads are yet another strategy for keeping users from navigating away from the app. These ads, when clicked, open up a min-website within Facebook. Advertisers can create an interactive experience, replete with text, images, video, and interactive content, without pulling users to a separate website.
When we look at Facebook’s video hub in the context of these other initiatives, it becomes clear that Facebook intends to dominate as much of the online experience as possible. Already, users spend almost a third of their time on social networks. If Facebook’s strategy is successful, people may never need to leave the app at all.