Videos are viewed 8 billion times a day on Facebook, up from 1 billion video views per day in 2015, according to Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Fortune reported an average of 100 million hours of Facebook videos being watched on mobile devices. This begs the question, is your Facebook truly a ‘newsfeed’ or is it a social feed and soon-to-be ‘visual feed’ or ‘video feed”?
Facebook is using video as a way to increase revenue through emphasizing the medium and allowing publishers to monetize videos. In allowing users and publishers to post branded content, Facebook is opening itself up for more marketing opportunities.
Industry trends are showing a decrease in text each year while there is an increase in visual content like photos and videos. If all things continue, Facebook officials believe that your newsfeed may be almost entirely comprised of videos within five years. Although I disagree that it will be entirely video, I do believe that our newsfeeds will be largely filled with visual content of both images and videos. This is because there are costs associated with video production in both financial and skillset aspects. Videos also take more time to produce and require editing to be short enough in length and of good enough quality that users will engage with them. Users who are interested in content can then click on the video or image source links to find out more information. However, videos will become increasingly popular as they serve to provide news in easy-to-digest portions with essential information.
Not all videos in our newsfeeds will be news. In fact, much of our newsfeed content is fun, adorable, funny, or just plain interesting. This video of baby elephants acting like lapdogs received almost 2.98 million engagements when shared by the Huffington Post. A New York Magazine video entitled “Body Paint Animal Art” received an astounding 2.71 million engagements and was closely followed by another Huffington Post video, this one on cats getting brain freezes. These videos were the top performers provided by publishers on Facebook between March 1 and June 27, 2016.
Photo: Huffington Post
Did you notice that these were videos that are fun? Did you notice they are lighthearted? Would you say that they are comedic relied? A little laughter and a little “awww” goes a long way in today’s stressful society, and in making social media “social” and fun.
This New York Magazine video on video game exercising received only 182k engagements during that same time. Was it fun? Yes. Did it make me laugh or say “aww”? No. Did I want to send it to my friends? Not particularly. Another video, this one from AJ+ on Australia returning land to its aboriginals, received 196k views. Although it is interesting and cool to know, it isn’t something I necessarily want to share with friends.
It seems to me, we as a society are becoming more social and more inclined to connect online. Therefore, the videos we engage with and love are those that we want to share with our friends and family. These are the videos that are topics you might share over coffee or dinner, things you might take a photo of yourself. If I had a baby elephant in my lap you bet I would take a photo and send it to everyone I know. I can’t say I would say the same about video game exercise.