Any doubts about the power of Facebook, and its ultimate place in the online video constellation has to take in to account a new Pew Research study out this morning that reaffirms FB’s appeal, and points to its challenges, too.
Pew says 71% of Internet users use Facebook, the same percentage as last year. That still makes it the biggest elephant in the zoo, by far, but Pew shows heavy upticks for Pinterest and Instagram, two visually oriented social sites. (YouTube wasn’t in the survey.)
What’s more, more than half (52%) of online adults now use two or more social sites, but look how the use is starting to dividing:
More than half (53%) of young adult users use Instagram, and about half of them use it daily. And, on the other side of the birthday cake, for the first time, more than half (56%) of online adults 65 and over use Facebook-- and that, Pew tells us, means three out of ten of all 65+ adults are interacting with old friends.
But don’t misread that stat--87% of users 18-29 use Facebook, and 73% of users 30-49. (But in that middle-age demo, Facebook use declined six percentage points from the year before.) So Facebook is hardly a geriatric ward.
As Facebook ups the ante on its use of video, this research should hold special interest, because not only do people use Facebook, they use it over and over again during the day. Facebook, says Pew, is something like a “home base” for many users; 70% go to it daily and 45% go there several times a day.
That Facebook maintains that kind of hold is significant for its video ambitions too. In fact, Facebook just acquired QuickFire Networks, a San Diego-based tech firm that helps speed video load times and reduce file sizes. In a blog post, QuickFire explains that it “was founded on the premise that the current network infrastructure is not sufficient to support the massive consumption of video that’s happening online without compromising on video quality.”
Certainly, a lot of that consumption is going on at Facebook itself. For the last several months, it has more than one billion video views on an average day.
The QuickFire acquisition says it wants to be ready for more. It is Facebook’s second acquisition in the general video neighborhood. It purchased video distributor LiveRail last July, shortly after Facebook really began its video push.
Indeed, according to a Forbes story in mid-October, the next stop for Facebook may be YouTube itself. The biz site cites some data that suggests Facebook videos are nearing the point that it will overcome YouTube in its number of shares, a good measure of engagement. “For YouTube, this is clearly a bad thing,” Socialbakers CEO Jan Rezab told Forbes. “If I were them, I would be extremely worried.” And, I’m sure, YouTube is. As the Pew stats indicate, Facebook is no small challenge even for something as ubiquitous as YouTube email@example.com