At the end of January 2016, Facebook reported its financial results for 2015. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, stated that “2015 was a great year for Facebook. Our community continued to grow and our business is thriving.” And it is. The results confirmed a year-on-year revenue increase of 44%, along with a 21% growth in mobile monthly active users.
But how about video? Is the focus paying off for the social networking site? Apparently so, with the company announcing Facebook viewers now watch an incredible 100 million hours of video every day.
500M People are Watching Facebook Videos Every Day
Zuckerberg confirmed that “Video is an important part of the Facebook experience", and the company will continue to pour investment into video. The site has been testing out new features and functionality like suggested videos, with the aim of promoting that content to users who want to watch more.
When Facebook reported its Q3 2015 results three months earlier, it disclosed that more than 500 million people watch videos on the social networking site daily. This number wasn’t updated when the Q4 2015 results were reported, so we have to assume that it remains the same. This means that the average viewer is watching about 12 minutes of video a day on Facebook. According to Tubular, 1.8 million videos were natively uploaded to the site in the last 7 days, generating 31.6 billion views. The most popular video was this upload from BuzzFeed's Tasty which generated 67.5 million views, and 2.5 million likes, comments, and shares:
Facebook also wants to ensure that users in developing countries don't miss out on the features. It already offers the less data-heavy 'Facebook Lite' which aims to offer a better user-experience in areas of low-bandwidth. The company stated that over 80M people have access to Facebook Lite and it's helping to improving load times of video content. So, video views may eventually increase in countries across Asia, and in parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe. But if had already happened, then I would have expected Facebook to have updated the number of people watching videos on the social networking site daily. So, I would categorize this as a “forward-looking statement.”
Instagram Community 'Continues to Grow'
Zuckerberg also confirmed that the Instagram “community continues to grow,” but he didn’t update the 400 million monthly active users that was announced back in September 2015. He did state that the new looping Boomerang app for the platform reached #1 in the App Store in more than 70 countries. Instagram also launched a new video channel so viewers can catch up on big tent-pole events like New Year's Eve, and College Football.
So, while we’ve known for more than a year-and-a-half that Facebook is competing with YouTube, it turns out that Instagram is competing with Vine, too. In other words, there are a lot of “Type A” personalities (more competitive, outgoing, ambitious, impatient and/or aggressive) at Instagram’s headquarters in San Francisco as well as Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park.
Zuckerberg confirmed that, “More than 800 million people now use Messenger monthly, and in 2015 we grew that number by almost a quarter of a billion, while also increasing engagement. We continued to give people new ways to communicate by introducing video calling, and new options for customizing conversations with fun things like colors and emoji, and by using apps through the Messenger Platform.” So, does this mean that Facebook Messenger competes with Snapchat? Is there any video platform that the Zuckerbergians haven’t declared war on … yet?
Mobile Video: How Viewers Watch Differently
During the announcement, Zuckerberg was followed by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO. She shared a recent case study that video marketers will want to analyze. Microsoft Xbox optimised video for Facebook and Instagram for the launch of Halo 5.The video marketing teams behind the campaign understood that viewers watch video differently on mobile than via other devices, like TV, so created content that captured the viewer's attention in the first 3 seconds, even if that viewer watched without sound. This tactic drove over 380 million impressions and 49 million video views, and "increased purchase intent by 10 points in the US.” Now, we can quibble all we want about how Facebook counts “views,” but a 10-point lift in purchase intent is nothing to sneeze at.
This was the good stuff that I discovered while picking the data dump made during Facebook’s recent earnings release. In my next post, I’ll pick through the data dump that was made on Feb. 1, 2016, when Alphabet Inc. (Google) announced its financial results for the quarter and fiscal year that ended on Dec. 31, 2015. In the meantime, if you feel so inclined, you can catch the full details of Facebook's earnings release call at investor.fb.com, along with the earnings press release and slide presentation.