Facebook Watch: find out what it is and how to use it

Facebook Watch is still an illustrious unknown or almost unknown, in the United States, on the other hand, he is registering interested numbers. Let’s try to understand more.

Have you ever noticed the Facebook Watch icon in your Facebook app? Have you tried using it? Let’s find out what it is and how it works.

What is Facebook Watch

After IGTV, i.e. Instagram TV, Mark Zuckerberg continues to invest in the video market. Thus was born Facebook Watch, and Facebook’s new personalized and interactive TV.

Facebook Watch was launched in the USA in August 2017 and made available worldwide in August 2018.

Facebook Watch hosts a range of original content as well as TV formats, both live and recorded. The goal is to combine the personalization of an online streaming service with the experience of seeing together that streaming made possible by the Social Network.

The strengths of Facebook Watch are, therefore:

  • This particular interactivity between users, fans, and creators of the programs and/or videos;
  • being customizable.

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What Facebook Watch offers

Facebook Watch, as it says Fidji Simo, head of the Video section of the Social Network, offers:

  • A place to discover new videos in highly personalized feeds;
  • a way to interact with authors and publishers that they like. At the top of your Watch feed you can see your Watchlist, which is a collection of recent videos found on the pages you follow;
  • a “home” for the videos you save and that you can watch whenever you want;
  • videos you can take part in. Users will be given the opportunity to edit the content of some videos specially created for this.

watch offers in the platform

Where do you find it?

You can access Facebook Watch from iOS and Android, directly via the Watch icon on the top bar of the Facebook app or by opening the drop-down menu of the app, currently on mobile. You can find additionally watch inApple TV, Samsung Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, and Oculus TV.

Like the Facebook Watch feature

When you click on the Facebook Watch icon, the following appear sections and functions.

Your video watchlist

At the top of your Watch feed, you’ll see your watchlists, i.e. a collection of recent videos posted on the pages you follow. You can customize this list by following other pages or removing some just for using Facebook Watch.

watch feature in facebook

New videos

In your Watch feed, you can discover new, latest videos ranging from entertainment, TV series, sports, news, and more. Videos will be suggested based on your behavior and that of your friends.

The new videos recommended by the Facebook Watch feed, fall under3 the categories: “Most Popular Videos for You”, “What Makes People Laugh” and “Shows Your Friends Are Watching”

discover new watch feed

In the section “Most popular videos for you” the programs/videos that trigger more conversations relating to topics of your interest are highlighted. In the section “What Makes People Smile” are insert programs on which many people have used the “haha” reaction. Finally the section “What Friends Are Watching” helps connect with friends about shows they are also watching.

At the moment, you can see suggested videos for the pages you follow or for the most popular topics. The contents available, in English, in the United States are also visible, except those that have territorial restrictions. The videos range from mini-documentaries to live sporting events.

Videos saved

Facebook Watch gives you the ability to save a video so you can watch it again whenever you want.

Functionality for interaction and social sharing

The features for interaction and social sharing are those of the Facebook Watch Party.

Launched at the end of June 2018, Facebook Watch Party aims to recreate the experience of watching a video together with others, thus exchanging comments, and opinions, to merge behavior when watching TV with typical social media reactions and interactions.

watch party interaction

Watch Party is the tool for creating a collective vision, a sort of virtual social room. It is especially used during live events, premieres, or programs focused on audience participation.

Mark Zuckerberg reported that, during their tests, Watch Party generated hundreds or even thousands of comments among those who watched the programs together. In addition, some people who participated in the tests said that Watch Party can be used to “decrease” the distances between friends and family when they cannot be together because they are far away.

post composer at bottom menu

When selecting a program on Facebook Watch, you are instantly connected with other people following the program to be able to interact with them and with the creators of the videos. So there’s not just one interaction-peer with peers but also users and creators.

Facebook Watch is a new resource not just for marketers and creators

Facebook Watch is not only a valid resource for marketers and creators, but it is also and above all for Facebook itself. Indeed, for Facebook, the asset most important from sell is user attention. But it’s not enough to attract their attention, users have to stop and look at what has momentarily aroused their interest.

Facebook is painfully aware of the danger of oversaturation of newsfeeds with too many ads. Also has a need to remedy the lack of interaction between brands and users when they watch videos on Facebook.

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Will Facebook Watch be able to fix these problems? To do this, Facebook needs to offer something new and attractive in order to keep users on the platform longer and make them interact with friends and other fans.

Mark Zuckerberg said: “Time spent is not a result in itself. We want time spent on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions. So we’re focusing our products in all sorts of ways on building a community around the videos that people share and watch. This is something only Facebook can do.”

While Facebook Watch’s first programs and videos average between 5 and 10 minutes, the platform allows videos from 2 to 240 minutes long. The first goal of Facebook is to host programs, and series, lasting from 20 to 30 minutes, solely owned by the platform itself. There will be commercial breaks during the videos which will obviously be an additional source of income for Facebook and its partners.

The data of Facebook Watch in the United States seems to bode well since every month more than 50 million people watch videos for at least one minute Watch the weather total spent watching videos in Watch has increased 14-fold since the beginning of 2018. There are also already very successful live programs such as Red Table Talk starring Jada Pinkett Smith

A new resource for marketers: ad breaks and sponsorships

In the Newsfeed there is so much “noise”, so many things that it is difficult to get users’ attention, but with “television” programs you have a captivated audience from what they’re looking at, so users can’t just scroll and skip ads. Furthermore, the strong association of a brand with your favorite program can make the user fall in love with the brand same.

Facebook is able to target users perfectly for brand ads and Facebook Watch also delivers the opportunity for brands to create and launch their own video content, or sponsor content created by others.

Currently, users cannot skip the advertising (ad breaks) in Facebook Watch videos. Thread breaks are mid-rolls and last 15 to 20 seconds. But Facebook Watch is testing all sorts of options for these ads, including where to show them. Occasionally you may also see non-skippable pre-roll ads or overlay ads.

The watch is also testing how long the ads last and whether or not to let creators choose where to show them. Since the context is new, everything is constantly changing, to be verified, to be reset; so Facebook Watch’s advertising options are constantly evolving.

The ad break system is not yet available but will probably be available early next year.

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A new resource for creators

While the difficulty of being admitted to Facebook Watch is frustrating for many creators, this exclusivity is part of its very strength. You can have a Facebook Watch page by invitation only, and getting one is incredibly difficult.

For authors interested in Facebook Watch, and based in the US, there’s a new LaunchPad program that can help. While a request to join LaunchPad is not a request to join Facebook Watch, there are several authors who have obtained a page on Facebook Watch because they have participated in this program.

Facebook uses LaunchPad to get in touch with creators and understand what they are preparing, and what content they are working on.

publishers of the programs

And even once you’re admitted as a publisher, “Pages are eligible for ad breaks if they’ve created 3-minute videos that have collectively generated more than 30,000 1-minute views in the last two months, with at least 10,000 people following them on Facebook ”.

Program publishers will also be able to give up having advertisements because they will be able to include sponsored products in the programs, having to indicate precisely who the sponsor is. This will be a very important opportunity for early career video professionals, actors, singers, and documentarians who hope to be able to grow through influential partnerships.

There are already numerous publishers on Facebook Watch, many of which create original content solely for the platform. But original videos are currently only produced by Facebook partners. The revenues deriving from Ad breaks or sponsorships are divided as follows:55% goes to publishers while 45% to social networks.

Facebook Watch and its competitors

But where do you want to place Facebook Watch compared to the already wide streaming offer on the market with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Youtube?

The strengths compared to the competition

Compared to the competition in the video world, the strengths of Facebook Watch are:

  • A growing number of people are tired of having to pay heavy fees for TV packages, to get the channels they want. Facebook Watch, on the other hand, monetizing through the ad breaks inserted within the program, is totally free. Just be logged into Facebook. So the programs you want are immediately available without having to fill out forms and/or make payments;
  • the high number of people who already watch TV and talk about related programs on social networks. Bringing everything to one platform seems to be quite an advance;
  • finally, and this is perhaps the greatest strength, Facebook Watch is hyper-personalized as no other streaming platform.

The Youtube competitor

The first and biggest competitor of Facebook Watch is YouTube. Google’s video streaming site has the advantage of a user base accustomed to watching long videos on the platform. But stillYoutube TV has not been able to offer programs with TV-friendly content and with exclusive content.

the youtube competitor

Furthermore, Facebook Watch has two more elements: the possibility of a group discussion in real-time and very accurate targeting and therefore personalization. While Youtube is optimized for tutorial videos and short content videos, Facebook Watch will expand the opportunities for long-form videos as well as pure entertainment ones.

The future scenario

Some questions: will users adapt their TV-watching behavior to a place where they are used to surfing? Will Facebook Watch be able to launch a channel and secure exclusive programs that create engagement? Will it be an open channel like Youtube or more selective?

Facebook Watch represents a challenge not only for traditional TV, but also for YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix. But it will take time to understand how much Facebook will want to invest in its new platform to have a series of competitive and exclusive programs. The fact that Facebook Watch is now available everywhere and not just in the United States, and therefore has a very large audience available, bodes well.

Stay tuned not to miss the opportunities that Facebook Watch will create. To learn about and use the opportunities that Facebook already offers you today, sign up for the Community Manager Course.

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