Facebook Debuts 'Say Thanks' Video Feature

Facebook would like nothing more than to facilitate stronger ties between its users and increase video usage in the process. Enter “Say Thanks” -- a new feature that helps users create “video cards” for friends and family.

“Share a Say Thanks video with a close friend, your significant other, a relative, a coworker, an old friend -- or anyone else in your life who you’d like to celebrate,” Cameron Ewing, a design manager at Facebook, and Nick Kwiatek, a Facebook engineering manager, explain in a co-authored blog post published Wednesday.

To create the cards, Facebook automatically combines content featuring users and the person they have chosen to commemorate. Users can then edit that content, and choose from different card themes before sharing them.

The videos are then posted to a user’s Timeline, and automatically tag subjects so they show up on their Timeline as well.

Desktop- and mobile-ready, the feature supports several languages, including English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

This is hardly Facebook’s first experiment with video. Most recently, it launched a Snapchat-like app, dubbed Slingshot, which allows users to share pictures and video along with texts to friends.

In the third quarter, Facebook said it averaged more than 1 billion video views a day. The company did not directly tie video to advertising performance or audience engagement, but year-over-year, revenue for the quarter increased 59% to $3.2 billion.

Facebook began testing auto-play video ads in users’ News Feeds last fall, but has so far stuck to a slow rollout to prevent a user backlash.

Digital video is expected to account for 15.9% of adults’ digital media time in 2014, but will get just 11.7% of digital ad dollars, per eMarketer. That said, ad spending on Facebook is outpacing the share of attention it commands daily in digital media, according to the research firm.

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