At its F8 developers forum this week, Facebook rolled out plenty of whiz-bang, from drone satellites that will connect billions of the unconnected to virtual reality games that will make the daily drone of reality pale in comparison.
Still, its most significant announcement among all the tech wonders was the launch of an embeddable video player -- a true game-changer. Facebook made $12.47 billion in ad revenues last year. With this native video platform, it’s likely to make many billions more.
Facebook Video is not only a direct assault on YouTube, but television as well, luring marketers with extremely efficient targeting of its 1. 4 billion users.
“This is huge for advertisers,” says Ash Greyson. He’s the CEO and president of Ribbow Media, which uses Facebook and other social networks extensively to market films and television shows for a variety of major studios. “This can put your video in the newsfeed,” says Greyson. “With Facebook's native video platform, we will be able to get a kind of enriched engagement that's simply not possible on YouTube or anywhere else.”
Facebook is likely to get a healthy premium from content marketers, drawn by Facebook Video's ability to offer a unique combination of measurable engagement. Facebook is already a place where videos get 1 billion views a day.
Too often content marketers are focused on raising awareness instead of going after positive interaction. The creative in video in the Facebook ecosystem needs to feel “authentic” and “can't be too slick,” says Greyson.
“Creative that works is something you want to share with everyone from your grandma to your best friend,” he adds. “Too often there's too much focus put on measuring awareness. You might pay a penny a CPM for someone who views a video. But I'd pay 15 times that for someone who shares it with their friends. The average person on Facebook has 300 friends.”
The inevitable rise of Facebook Video is not without its challenges. Facebook will be storing invaluable data from the communities that advertisers create on the platform. Imagine you're Toyota, targeting soccer moms and dads on Facebook with hip home movies to sell Highlanders. What's to stop Honda from scraping that data for its own sponsored content to pitch Pilots?
Social media marketing savants like Greyson know the promise of Facebook Video is “a double-edged sword.” But content marketers who don't go native with video on Facebook, do it at their own peril.