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Facebook 'is a video platform'

News, 09 January 2015

MENLO PARK, CA: The amount of video in the News feed of Facebook has more than tripled over the past year leading one executive to say it is no longer a social network but a video platform.

Facebook noted a shift away from text to visuals, reporting that the number of video posts per person had increased 75% globally in one year, a figure that rose to 94% in the US. And the amount of video in news feeds was up 3.6 times.

"We're just really at the beginning of understanding what video on Facebook is about," said Fidji Simo, director of product in charge of video, in remarks reported by Bloomberg. "We want to make sure that we're really communicating on how people are engaging with video so marketers can really understand."

The shift towards a "new universal language" made up of images – photos, emojis, stickers, videos – is being driven by mobile, as consumers with smartphones can easily record material and upload it.

Since June last year, Facebook globally has been averaging more than 1bn video views every day; and 76% of people in the US who use Facebook say they tend to discover the videos they watch on Facebook.

"People don't read their newsfeed, they watch it," according to Ellie Rogers, head of agency sales at Facebook Australia.

She told Mumbrella she now starts her pitches with the declaration "We're actually a video platform".

Her listeners "very quickly realise this is an incredible place to showcase your video at scale but to also have that personalised side and use the hyper-targeting we have within the Facebook world".

While online video sites still dominate consumer viewing in North America at around 70% of the total used, social networks account for around 30%.

But according to eMarketer, "Facebook in particular is coming on strong and has the potential to put pressure on YouTube", the Google-owned site which currently takes an estimated 20% of US advertising spending.

It highlighted the ease with which users could share and comment – exemplified in the buzz around last year's Ice Bucket Challenge – as a key differentiating factor for social.

Data sourced from Facebook, Bloomberg, Mumbrella, eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff