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Inside Mark Zuckerberg's plan to make Facebook video-first

After mobile first, Mark Zuckerberg has his eyes set on making Facebook a video first platform.

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Facebook has been one of the rare companies that have successfully straddled the shift to mobile. While most companies and publishers struggle to monetize their ever increasing mobile users and declining desktop base, Facebook’s mobile ads now account for 84 percent of its total ad revenue — $5.7 billion in the latest quarter a staggering annual growth of 70 percent. For the first time Facebook had over a billion daily active users accessing the site from their mobile phones. But Mark Zuckerberg & Co. are already looking at the next big user behavior shift — videos. 

During last night’s quarterly earnings call, Zuckerberg laid out his plan to make Facebook a video-first platform. “People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important. So that’s why we’re prioritizing putting video first across our family of apps and taking steps to make it even easier for people to express themselves in richer ways,” he said.

Zuckerberg claims the shift to video is already happening on Facebook. At any given time, people going live on Facebook has grown four times since its launch in May. Similarly, Instagram Stories now has over 100 million daily active users. To get on to this shift to video, Facebook is now adding new features that will not only make it easier for users to quickly create and share videos but also access relevant video content.

The first big change coming to Facebook is a new video capture button that will be easily accessible directly from the News Feed with one swipe. “In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share. Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share. We’re already testing this in our main Facebook app with a version that has a camera, directly just one swipe away from News Feed, with creative effects for your photos and videos,” Zuckerberg said.

The main Facebook app and News Feed are not the only Facebook products that will go video first. Zuckerberg revealed that the team is also working on new camera features in Messenger and WhatsApp.

Getting the tools to enable people to shoot and share is just one side of the problem. The other is how easily people are able to view the content, which means having the delivery infrastructure. Facebook has already tackled a big part of that problem by investing in the underlying infrastructure while launching Facebook Live.

The third area is how well Facebook is able to understand the video content and rank it accordingly in the News Feed so that the video content the shows up in your Facebook feed is as relevant and customized as the current text content.  “But all of these things are going to be part of a cohesive experience to get behind our community. And when people are ready and want video to be the primary way that they’re sharing and consuming content, we’re going to be there ready,” Zuckerberg said.

Even as Facebook works on making sense of the content inside videos and how it is able to make the News Feed adapt to the user behavior shift, it plans a wider rollout of Facebook Videos, a destination where you can catch up on specific video content you might want to watch.

“There is a second experience called Video Home, which we started talking about earlier in the year. and we’ve rolled out again in a few markets, and those tests have gone well. So we’re also hoping to roll that out pretty soon widely. And that’s the new experience, which if you come to Facebook and you specifically want to watch some different kinds of videos or you want to see what videos a recent page that you follow has posted or the Presidential debate is on and you want to find a good place to go online to get that, you can go to Video Home and see that,” Zuckerberg announced.

  • Published Date: November 3, 2016 12:39 PM IST