What is Facebook Watch?
It’s Facebook’s way of incorporating the entertainment value of streaming TV with the power of social apps.
But is it useful for marketers? Find out int his article.
What You’ll Learn:
- What Facebook Watch is and how it works
- The difference between Watch and Newsfeed videos
- Watch’s benefit to marketers:
Facebook Watch plays on the well-established fact that video content can create better engagement with a brand or a product.
As Facebook mentions in its press release, Watch is a platform for shows within Facebook that follows a similar design to cable TV channels of old. It comes with a watchlist to help users figure out when their favorite episodes are going to be aired.
So, is it just a throwback to the past, or is Facebook Watch something new entirely?
What is Facebook Watch, and How Does It Work?.
It’s no secret that TV has seen a sharp decline in the last decade
Younger generations of users get their video content online, and the rise of short video social media sites such as TikTok and Vine has shown that users have a much shorter attention span than in the past.
At the same time, TV watching on mobile or handheld devices has become the new norm. More and more people are tuning in on-the-go, and big names like HBO and Starz have adapted by creating apps that cater to a less traditional approach to TV watching.
Facebook saw an opportunity to combine the popularity of social apps with the streaming nature of on-demand television, ushering in its answer to TV streaming: Facebook Watch.
Facebook Watch showcases lengthier, more structured videos circled around stories.
Watch intends to be the social media equivalent of cable TV, but with shows produced by users, for users, with a few established titles thrown in.
How is Facebook incentivizing the production and distribution of these videos? Through ad-revenue, of course.
So far, it seems to be working. Facebook reports that 50 million people in the US come to Facebook Watch to view videos each month, and the total time spent within the tab has increased 14-fold since the start of the year.
Established series like Joss Whedon’s old TV series like Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fun on the platform, and allow the platform to serve ads like a regular TV channel.
Watch is a built-in addition to the Facebook platform, and users can access it directly from the Facebook main page in both browsers and mobile or streaming devices.
The catch in Facebook Watch is that it’s all recorded media, so there won’t be any live streaming football matches to watch. The professionally produced content serves to get users interested in the platform while user-generated content introduces watchers to new, exploratory media that they might not have realized existed before.
It also democratizes video production, allowing small budget producers to get a taste of what their content is capable of doing.
The Difference Between Watch and Newsfeed Video
Watch is an entirely different experience to the newsfeed videos and intends to appeal to a more diverse audience.
Newsfeed videos are useful in spreading content, but are mostly unstructured made up short of clips taken from other established videos or directly recorded from a camera or phone.
Watch offers the Facebook community a way to watch organized, produced content. Rather than quick one-off tutorials, check-ins, or how-to’s, Watch mimics a TV experience and offers content including documentaries, reality shows, scripted dramas and comedies, talk shows, and more.
And the power of Watch goes beyond entertainment. For marketers, scheduled TV shows offer unique value, since it gives you a chance to tap into a relevant audience through sponsored content and ads.
For example, is there a sci-fi show running from a particular producer? That’s an excellent opportunity to target users who enjoy things like Star Trek/Star Wars merchandise!
The potential for relevant ad placement is immense through the use of Facebook Watch. Additionally, with users able to put together a “Watch Party,” you can tap into influencers to serve ads to a ready and willing audience of buyers.
What is Facebook Watch’s Benefit to Marketers?
Statista reports that Facebook has over 2.5 billion monthly active users, making the platform a treasure trove of marketing potential.
Watch establishes a platform that marketers can tap into to target their videos to the most relevant audiences. Once you manage to do that, monetizing those videos is as simple as showing the right ads at the right time.
There are several ways marketers can tap into the potential that Watch provides.
Strategically Placed Ads
Marketers—at least those without the means to create their own TV shows—will find the most value in Watch through ad placements.
Unlike your usual Facebook ads, ads placed in a Watch video won’t be competing with the myriad of stories, images, and videos found in the Newsfeed.
Instead, they’ll act similarly to commercials you would see on TV. Those watching a given Watch show will be shown ads throughout without the ability to skip ads, guaranteeing an audience for your ads.
Ads on Watch are available as in-stream ads that will show pre or mid-roll. Whenever an in-stream ad plays, the publisher or creator earns a share of the resulting revenue.
The format for the delivery of ads is similar to that used across the platform in other areas, on videos that have a running time longer than three minutes. Monetization on Watch was previously limited to a handful of publishers, but Facebook has since opened up the platform to a broader cross-section of users.
What’s even more exciting about Watch is the ability to monitor stats for engagement. Watch comes with its own metrics system, based on a tool that pages can use to discern loyalty insights.
The feature contains a wholly new metric called “audience retention,” which will become important as content producers look for the type of creative that will keep their audience engaged across multiple seasons.
When marketers hear the term influencers, you usually think about Instagram or Twitter.
But Facebook Watch has the potential to develop a new breed of star. As mentioned before, relevant ads will generate more interest from an audience. But partnering with an influencer that will promote your products allows you to bypass the traditional ad format.
Ads, no matter how short they are, sometimes turn an audience off completely. Watch publishers, being aware of that fact, might decide to opt-out of including ads in their content.
In such a case, they can instead offer product placement, ensuring that they tag their sponsor in the interest of remaining transparent to their audience.
As a marketing method, it’s a lot more organic than trying to fit an ad space into a video. Partnering with an influencer also helps them to grow as a channel, increasing the number of potential eyes on your sponsored content. it’s a win-win for both marketer and content creator.
Finding the right influencer that plays to the crowd you want to tap into is crucial to making the most out of Facebook Watch as a marketing medium.
This new pool of micro-influencers for sponsored content means more eyes on products or brands.
Watching With Friends and Social Viewing
Facebook has always been keen to keep the social part of social media viable.
The company changes its algorithms often to continue providing relevant content to users. These updates are meant to maintain the quality of connections between users and help them access the content and people they share interests with.
The Watch Party option that Facebook offers is unique in that it creates a viewing party for each user, allowing them to watch a video simultaneously, regardless of where they are. As far as uniqueness goes, no other video service offers something similar.
Not only does the Watch Party option share videos users care about to their friends, but subscribing to a show on Watch allows users to branch out and meet others who like the same type of content.
This feature is further supported by the live comment section that enables users to engage with other users that are viewing the same video. These communities are hyper-focused on a particular demographic or audience, making them perfect for serving sponsored content in bite-sized five to fifteen-second ads.
Thanks to its focus on social interaction, Watch is likely to see a lot more social engagement than its competitors. The importance of this engagement means that Watch fans may be more likely to take product suggestions seriously from influencers, meaning that sponsored content might get far more traction than on other video platforms.
Watch parties are a useful tool for marketers that want to utilize shared viewing to engage their audience. Facebook states that, at the start of their experimentation with Watch parties, the groups that used them saw eight times more comments than other video posts.
However, the thing to note about Watch parties is that it’s still a content delivery module. Your content needs to be worth the user’s time. You still need to target the right users and deliver a message that resonates with them.
Facebook Watch combines the best of Cable TV with the best of streaming content.
While it’s already secured deals allowing users to access professionally produced streaming content, the ultimate goal is to incorporate videos done produced by the Facebook community.
Though Watch hasn’t exploded in popularity just yet, it is growing and could be one of the sleeping giants for the coming year. Understanding its power and starting to use it before it ahead of the curve might be a wise move.