Facebook videos were being watched more than 1bn times a day at the peak of the ice bucket challenge craze in the summer of 2014. Six months on, that figure has quadrupled to 4bn daily views.
“We’re very pleased with our growth here, and this quarter we reached a new milestone of more than 4bn daily videos views,” said Zuckerberg during the call.
Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg provided another statistic, explaining that more than 75% of global video views on Facebook happen on mobile devices, and outlining the company’s eagerness to persuade more brands and media companies to spend money on video ads.
“We believe mobile video will become more important to marketers over time,” said Sandberg, citing a campaign by film studio Lionsgate for its Age of Adaline movie that targeted young women on Instagram with video ads, before retargeting them on Facebook.
“We expect more marketers to put mobile video at the heart of their campaigns in the future and we’re well-positioned to drive this shift,” said Sandberg.
Facebook’s 4bn daily views milestone is likely to be scrutinised carefully by marketers, who are aware that with videos automatically playing within its news feed, this may bump up the figures.
However, Facebook defines a “view” as someone watching for three seconds or more, and provides partners with data on the average duration of their views, as well as how many times videos were watched to 95% of their length.
Sandberg was bullish on the potential. “Video is exploding on Facebook, as Mark talked about, and that gives us an opportunity to do a lot of work with marketers on video,” she said.
“It’s still early days and we’re very focused on quality and it’s worth noting that not all of the revenue from video is incremental, because the video ads take the place of other ads that we would have served into News Feed. That said, we’re really excited about the opportunity.”
She added that more than 1bn small and medium-sized businesses have “posted videos and done really small ad buys around them” alongside the larger brands and media companies. “That’s pretty cool because I don’t think there are probably 1 million advertisers who have bought TV ads in that same period of time.”
Zuckerberg deflected a question about whether Facebook is planning to get more involved in buying or commissioning professional, original video – TV shows, for example – which could see the company going head to head with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other players in that area.
“Right now, a lot of what people are sharing are their social videos and content. There are a lot of public figures who have pages, often with millions or tens of millions of followers, producing unique and really high-quality content that they’re pushing out to all their fans on the network today,” he said.
“So, yeah, we’ll continue looking at ways to grow that and it’s – the product experience that we have right now is growing quite well so we feel good about it.”
The prospect of Facebook getting into original TV production is being chattered about increasingly loudly within the television industry, though.
In an on-stage interview at the MIPTV conference earlier this month, production group Zodiak Media’s chief executive, Marc-Antoine d’Halluin, suggested that it is only a matter of time until Facebook (and other internet giants like Google) start to buy production companies.
“I can completely picture that happening, and sooner than everybody thinks,” said d’Halluin. “Ultimately these guys will have a fundamental need to not only get the type of videos that are user generated ... but they’ll need some proper scripted and unscripted shows.”
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 23rd April 2015 08.24 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010