I know. I was torn between this and “Who watches the Facebook Watchmen” and well, rock n’ roll wins out.
Puns aside, what's the point of this blog post?
Facebook announced yesterday that a year after launching in the US, Facebook Watch is being rolled out globally.
What is Facebook Watch?
Despite the name, this is not Facebook’s attempt to get into the wearable device business - you know, the ones that act like your phone, track your heartbeat and occasionally tell the time.
Facebook watch is, in fact, a video streaming service.
Yes, the social media giant is taking on YouTube, Netflix et. al
Users can watch videos across entertainment, sport, news and more in their personalised Watch Feed.
At the top of their feed, users will be presented with their own personal Watchlist, containing the most recent videos from the Facebook pages they follow.
They can also save videos to watch later from their news feed and attend Watch Parties, Premieres and even participate in interactive videos, such as Facebook’s answer to HQ Trivia - ‘Confetti’.
Where can I access Facebook Watch?
Facebook watch can be accessed here: https://www.facebook.com/watch
N.B. The rollout announcement was brought forward due to a news leak, so you may not yet have access to the page.
How much does Facebook Watch cost?
For users? Nothing.
The platform is free to use and is monetised by adverts.
What does Facebook Watch mean for businesses?
In terms of organic content, this is great news for organisations that create and share videos on Facebook.
We all know the stats about organic Facebook page content reaching just 2% of your audience. For your video posts, things might just get a lot better.
Anyone that follows your page will receive your latest content directly to their Watchlist, without the need for you to pay for it.
This is of course, unless they decide to remove your page videos from their list, which they have the option to do…
So the takeaway here is:
If you want a great way to get your organic content delivered to your Facebook page followers - focus on your video content.
If you need a hand, you’ll find the link to Facebook’s Video Best Practices at the bottom of this page.
Facebook have also launched Creator Studio, which is not at all unlike YouTube’s own…er…. Creator Studio….
Facebook's Creator Studio is essentially a new way to view insights for your videos and page content in general, manage your content and even get free music and sound effects, just like YouTube’s offering.
How can I make money on my videos with Facebook Watch Ad Breaks?
As we’ve mentioned, Facebook Watch is being funded by advertising, with Facebook taking 45% of all ad revenue and creators taking 55%.
Only select publishers have previously been allowed monetise their video content with Facebook Watch Ad Breaks, however with the global rollout, Facebook are opening up this advertising opportunity to all creators.
Or at least, all creators who fit specific criteria and hail from a growing list of countries.
Here’s what you need to be able to monetise your videos with Facebook Ad Breaks:
You must have:
- A Facebook Page with 10,000 followers
- Been creating 3-minute videos that have generated more than 30,000 1-minute views in total over the last two months.
- Content that complies with Facebook’s Monetisation Eligibility Standards
You must currently be located in one of the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- New Zealand
Although from September, Facebook Ad Breaks will be rolled out to:
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
Facebook have also stated that they will be rolling out to further countries in due course.
There's a link to check your eligibility at the bottom of this page.
How long can Facebook Watch videos be?
Videos that you post to your page (and will appear in your follower's feeds) can be up to 240 minutes long, the current Facebook video limit.
Obviously unless you're a producer of French New Wave films, you'll probably not be posting content anywhere near this limit - and if you are then...good luck with that.
If you want to monetise your videos, then 3 minutes is the length you'll want considering the eligibility requirements above.
If you just want to better engage your page followers and take advantage of Facebook Watch's delivery system, then you'll probably want to post content of 1 minute or less, which is the optimal length Hubspot recommends.
How can I advertise during Facebook Watch Videos?
This one is a bit of an unknown at this stage.
According to Digiday, when Facebook Watch was launched in the US ‘Watch’ was added to the placement listing ticklist when creating Facebook ads, so advertisers could choose to focus their ads on, or remove them from Facebook Watch Videos.
A quick peak at the placement listing today in the UK shows no such option:
So whether ‘Watch’ will be rolled out as a separate placement listing for advertisers, not available to all advertisers or just included under ‘in-stream’ videos remains to be seen.
Watch this space!
Has Facebook Watch been successful in the United States?
This is where you might hear differing opinions.
Facebook states that more than 50 million people in the US watched a video on Facebook Watch for at least one minute per month in the last year.
With 1.8 billion people logging in to YouTube each month and Netflix users watching a combined 140 million hours of content per day in 2017, it’s unlikely that either platform will be shaking in their boots at Facebook’s figures.
Not only this, a recent survey by The Diffusion Group suggests that 50% of US adult Facebook users have never even heard of Facebook Watch.
This isn’t to say that Facebook Watch won’t be successful, or that Ad Breaks isn’t a good opportunity to expand your organic video reach or generate revenue.
With a global rollout underway, Facebook must be confident that Watch is an important part of their future, and if there’s anything we can learn from Facebook's past, it’s never to underestimate the power of big blue.
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Facebook Newsroom - Facebook Watch is going global
Facebook for Media - Launching Watch, ad breaks and creator studio globally
HubSpot - How long should social videos be?
Business Insider - YouTube now has over 1.8 billion users every month
Netflix Media Centre - 2017 on Netflix A Year in Bingeing