Facebook took one step closer towards its mission of bringing the world closer together on August 9, when it announced its new platform for shows on Facebook: Watch. With over 2 billion Facebook users, creating a space for members to gather and connect is unlike anything traditional TV has been able to do. In fact, traditional television has seen 18-24 year olds viewing time drop by more than 40 percent over the last five years, giving Facebook the opportunity to step in and define a new TV experience. No longer will you have to set your DVR to record or hope you’re not busy during show time, because these shows will be available whenever and wherever you are. “Watching a show doesn’t have to be passive, said Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. “It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things.” This 24/7 availability changes how content reaches viewers and makes way for consumption habits that match consumers’ busy lifestyles. Flexibility and convenience are hard to beat.
Facebook’s Advertising Advantage
Facebook has said that creators will be able to monetize their shows through Ad Breaks and the branded content tag, however, these are currently on a slow rollout. For years, Facebook has been able to collect data and build profiles based on its users’ habits, interests, demographics and locations (just to name a few). These detailed targeting options can refine your advertising to reach the people who matter most to your business. This gives advertisers the opportunity to show the most relevant ads to audiences and publishers and the opportunity to make the ads more enjoyable for consumers. The best of both worlds, right?
Show Pages and Groups
It’s important to mention that shows from Watch on Facebook are different than the videos you’re used to seeing in News Feed. While some episodes from Watch may appear in your News Feed (if a friend shares them or the Show Page you’ve liked posts them), Facebook has added a new shortcut where you can “Discover” new shows and episodes. Similar to liking Pages on Facebook, creators and publishers will have “Show Pages” that people can like and follow. These Pages are setup to make it easy for fans to find episodes and connect with each other in the comments. As Daniel Danker, the director of products for Facebook put it, “This is where you go when you want to catch up.” Taking it a step further, you can even join a group full of others discussing the latest episode. These groups are an easy and fun way to build community and loyalty around a show, and who doesn’t love geeking out over his or her favorite characters and moments? Or, discussing theories, plot twists and what the show means to them?
What is there to watch?
Now, you might be asking yourself, “What kind of shows would I even watch on Facebook?” I asked myself the very same question and then went to the Discover shortcut to explore. After spending some time browsing through categories like “Today’s Spotlight,” “New This Week,” “Popular Now” and “What Friends Are Watching,” I settled on seven shows that I can see myself and my family and friends enjoying with a bowl of popcorn or bottle of wine. So, in no particular order, here’s my list of interesting content on Watch:
“Humans of New York” is a photography project by Brandon Stanton that began in 2010. Over the years, the Facebook Page has gained over 18 million likes, and there’s now a spinoff “Show” that features individuals who share their stories through video interviews. Each episode focuses on a different topic and lasts around 20 minutes. There are currently five episodes with 13 planned.
Mike Rowe, famously known for “Dirty Jobs,” hosts this Facebook exclusive about giving back to the people in our communities that go above and beyond. Rowe surprises these individuals, nominated by his fans, and the encounters that could restore your faith in humanity.
This is a show by TEDEd that “answers questions that may keep you up at night.” It currently features 5-minute episodes that answer questions like What causes cavities? Is sitting bad for you? Why do we hiccup? and Why do we dream?
In these 6-minute episodes, children watch popular Facebook recipe videos and then, from memory, tell professional chefs what to do. The chefs are required to follow the children’s steps and the results are often comical.
As Nas puts it, his name means “people” in Arabic and he has an entire channel full of 1-minute videos about people. There are currently over 600 episodes covering a variety of topics and individuals, with one new episode posted daily.
Available only on Facebook, “Ball in the Family” is a reality series about LaVar Ball (founder and CEO of the sports apparel company Big Baller Brand) and his three sons who LaVar says are all born to “go pro.”
The BuzzFeed “Try Guys” host a show that features them “trying” a plethora of activities, including giving each other facials, wearing heels for a day, taking a lie detector test, skiing in speedos and wearing a labor pain simulator.
Facebook still has some work to do.
Facebook will be opening up shows to a limited group of creators and plan to roll out to all soon, which may lead to an overwhelming amount of low quality shows to sift through in your hunt for the ones you’re actually interested in. However, watching what you want, when you want, wherever you want has power. While there’s a variety of content to choose from, Facebook still needs to distinguish itself as a platform that high quality creators and producers will want to use. Having a user base as large as 2 billion, the opportunity to produce videos at a lower cost and the ability to reach a predictable and loyal audience may sound enticing to some, but will it be enough?
Let us know if you have any questions about navigating Watch on Facebook or how your brand can benefit from Facebook’s detailed targeting. We’re happy to help!
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