Facebook’s Latest Video Features Look a Lot Like YouTube

/ Sep 8, 2014

Facebook gaining on YouTube?

If you’ve doubted Facebook’s stance as a possible YouTube competitor, the latest video features on the social network may just change your mind.

First of all, more people are watching, posting, and sharing videos on Facebook. From May to the end of July 2014 alone, video views increased by over 50%, with an average of over 1 billion views taking place on the social network each day in the month of June.

Beginning this week, Facebook users (i.e. most everyone) will have the YouTube-like benefit of seeing how many times people have viewed a video. This will help spotlight trending videos, as well as bring on the attitude that more than just “friends” are going to watch any given video post.

Furthermore, Facebook tested a “related videos” feature back in July on mobile devices. Also like YouTube, the feature brings viewers from the end of one video to a group of suggested videos, encouraging longer overall watch time on the platform. The social network has also been toying with auto-play, so as users scroll through their news feeds, the videos they pass will begin playing before they press play.

Calls to action are also making Facebook more like YouTube. Annotations inviting viewers to visit a general website, another video, or a product site will help video publishers on Facebook gain more audience engagement. Metrics will also help such publishers determine the success of their videos on the platform.

The new features all lean towards making Facebook more of an entertainment experience than a social one. The company’s acquisition of LiveRail earlier this summer, a video advertising tech company, also shows a commitment towards a more commercial, video-centric approach to social media.

As Fidji Simo, Facebook’s project management director of video, explains, “The goal of News Feed is to deliver the right stories to the right people at the right time.” This statement backs up Facebook as an entertainment/news platform rather than a social site, which perhaps it’s moving further away from with every new YouTube-esque aspect.

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