- Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Facebook just took a big leap in its ambitions to rival Google-owned YouTube as a central hub for people to watch digital videos (and to reap the lucrative advertising dollars that come with it).
Facebook says that it’s starting to test putting ads between some of the clips, although the company didn’t give any info about what the revenue break-down will be (Re/code’s Kurt Wagner reported a 55% / 45% split, with the larger share going to creators, back in July).
“While we’re still in the early days of testing, we’re pleased with initial results, which show that people who have suggested videos are discovering and watching more new videos,” the company writes.
Facebook’s also experimenting with a new designated video section, which will be noted by a little “play-button” icon wedged between “Requests” and “Notifications” on the bottom of the app (the “Messages” icon gets the boot).
In testing, this section contains a combination of videos the user has saved for later (another new feature is the ability to save clips), and videos from friends, Pages the user has subscribed to, or random suggested content from other video publishers.
Facebook’s also testing a new way to have videos “float” at the top right of the screen while users browse other stories on their feeds (other sites like Twitter already do this).
Here’s a look at the new features (suggested videos, saved videos, the new video experience, and the floating video for multi-tasking):
Facebook last reported that its videos get about 4 billion views per day. That’s a huge monetization opportunity for the social network, if it keeps rolling out more lucrative video ads, as well as another revenue stream for video creators who previously could only make money from YouTube.
To address creator concerns about stolen content (a huge problem on Facebook), the company also said that it’s working on new features to help publishers control and manage their content.
“The last few years have been exciting for video, and we look forward to seeing more people discover the videos that matter to them on Facebook,” the company writes.
With these new features, Facebook’s pitch to advertisers is now more attractive than ever:
Not only is it easy for its 1.4 billion monthly-active-users to randomly stumble onto new videos, but now they’re more like to binge on several consecutively. And that appeal – attracting users to clips (and ads) who might not otherwise visit a designated video destination – probably makes YouTube pretty nervous.
Here’s a video about the tests: