WASHINGTON – Facebook has been busy of late. In addition to steadily gaining users and announcing plans to provided free Internet to Africa via satellite, the social media company is getting ready for a renewed push against Google-owned YouTube to stake its claim on the lucrative Internet video market.
Ian Maude of Enders Analysis told the press that Facebook, if it could make its free video service work, is well-positioned to gain ground.
“Facebook already accounts for about 20% of the time people spend online, and it has an unbelievable level of data about its users, which is very interesting for ad-funded content providers,” Maude said. “If it can marry high-quality content and more personalized targeting through the information it has on all of us, then that’s the holy grail for marketers.”
YouTube is an increasingly attractive platform for advertisers because it is seen as less expensive, more flexible and reaches a wider swath of people than traditional video advertising.
Big data analytics also allow ads to be targeted toward those who, based on their viewing history, will be most interested in the product. Video creators also are incentivized to make more content since they receive royalties that are a fraction of the number of ads viewed before their videos.
Facebook is looking to improve upon that model by launching a system where users will receive suggestions on video clips that may interest them. Facebook executive Will Cathcart explained the company wants to make the system as user-friendly as possible:
“We also know that sometimes people want to watch a video, but they don’t have time or aren’t in a place where they can turn on sound,” Cathcart said. “To make it easy to return to the videos you’re interested in, we’ve been testing a button that allows you to save a video to watch later, which can be accessed in your saved bookmark.”
The social networking site also plans to pay creators the same way YouTube does. Ted Zaget, Facebook’s head of advertising, said “A year or two from now, we think Facebook will be mostly video.”