On August 9, 2017, Facebook launched Facebook Watch. It is a streaming service for shows either live or recorded, which follow a theme or storyline.
As stated by the Facebook director of product, Daniel Danker, Watch is a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.
Facebook gradually rolled out the feature to a limited number of people in the United States, and a limited group of creators and publishers over the last couple of years. As of November 15, 2019, the viewership was up to 140 million, according to radiotimes.com.
What makes it different from Newsfeed videos?
Watch has a host of Facebook-familiar features designed to help users discover shows—personalized around what their friends, and the communities they are part of, are watching.
Tabs like “What Friends Are Watching,” “Most Talked About,” and “What’s Making People Laugh” (shows where a number of people used the “Haha” reaction) help foster the concept of community, allowing users to connect with friends and follow shows that they’re watching.
Speaking of community, the way Watch displays comments and reactions (similar to the Live feature) encourages people to join the conversation—something Facebook believes is as much a part of the experience as the broadcast itself.
What is Facebook’s goal?
According to Danker, Facebook aims for Watch to be a home to a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports.
Facebook vice president of media partnerships Nick Grudin stated that creators are able to monetize their shows through Ad Breaks. “We’ve been testing Ad Breaks over the past few months, and we will be slowly opening up availability to more creators to ensure we’re providing a good experience for the community.”
Grudin added that Facebook Watch can also be open to sponsored shows via the branded content tag.
What does Watch mean for marketers?
Marketers have put a close eye on how the current batch of selected creators are adopting the Watch platform, and how users are consuming and engaging the content produced.
With more than 2 billion active users, there's no doubt that marketers will have to shift ad spending (digital ad spend surpassed television for the first time in 2016, and has increased to $4 billion in the United States alone) to Watch.
And with Facebook Groups being used by over 1 billion users, not to mention having the most mature advertising platform than any other social network, the community-centered Watch platform makes it enticing for current Facebook users to adopt.
How marketers can utilize Facebook Watch
Now that Facebook has rolled out the Watch feature to all users, brands (and individual professionals) can produce serialized content, addressing identified customer pain points, and audience submitted inquiries. A regular show focused on addressing current and potential customers’ concerns have the potential to increase sales leads, and drive traffic to brands’ websites.
Even smaller brands can find empowerment in Watch—as a small restaurant could publish weekly videos, teaching their audience how to prepare a different version of their most popular dishes; or a Facebook online seller can publish regular videos showing their customers how to best use their products.
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Watch as an influencer marketing platform
Influencer marketing can take advantage of the many possibilities of Watch. Not only will those who consume influencers’ content already be targeted consumers, Watch makes driving conversations that much more seamless with its interactive features.
Naturally, Watch encourages a new breed of creators to build their following on this platform. This gives marketers a new pool of micro-influencers to approach for their sponsored posts, while also assuring themselves that the people seeing the content remain interested in it.
As previously mentioned, Facebook already has the most mature advertising platform of any social network. Over the years, Facebook continued to offer a unique value proposition that became vital for the growth of any business or organization. Their in-stream video ad placement (five- to 15-second mid-roll videos) continuously maintains viewer attention, as users are more inclined to see the content following the ads.
Depending on how the platform evolves, and how users embrace the evolution, Watch has the potential to tilt ad placement and become an attractive channel for both creators and marketers.
Podcasting and live streams
Watch has made the continually growing podcast and live video industry exponentially more interactive (with the aforementioned live comments/reactions feature, and community Watch pages)—this interactive nature alone introduces seemingly infinite potential for brands to take advantage of.
How to use Facebook Watch
If you already have a Facebook account, it's very easy to find Facebook Watch. Simply log in to Facebook and look in the menu on the left side of your feed. Click where it says Watch. Once you're there, you'll be introduced to a number of video options created by an algorithm of who and what you follow that you can view and save to your Watchlist.
When it comes to learning how to upload to Facebook Watch, you can only upload from a Page, not your profile, in which case, you would have to create a public Page account on Facebook. Pages are conducive for public figures, businesses, brands, organizations and other entities, which yields the perfect marketing tool. Once your Page is created, the upload video feature is self-explanatory. Just be aware that any videos you upload through Facebook will not be featured on Facebook Watch unless it's done through your public Page.
What Facebook Watch means to marketers currently depends on two things—how creators adapt the platform to their content, and how users consume and engage with that content.
Watch is established in the sights of marketers, studying its potential, and the many possibilities in which they can utilize it.
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Jolina Landicho is a marketing strategist working with various brands online, and the content marketing manager of Avenew Media. She is devoted to helping businesses bridge relationship gaps by providing in-depth, actionable advice on online marketing, business development, and growth hacking.