How Facebook’s Video Streaming Innovations Made the Social Network Stand Out in 2017

If you’ve noticed that your Facebook news feed has been filled with more videos than ever, you aren’t the only one. In fact, video traffic has accounted for 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017, with no plans for that to subside anytime soon.

To keep up with these changes to the online market, Facebook has been integrating modifications into its algorithm to bring videos to the forefront of your news feed. In January, the social network even directly stated that longer, more authentic video content will rank higher on news feeds everywhere.

Continue reading to learn about what Facebook has brought to the table in regards to video marketing and production in 2017, and how it’s continuing to put its users first.

Enhancing Videos and Preventing Clickbait

As Facebook continues to study the patterns and priorities of its users, the social network has made significant efforts to improve its overall video-watching experience, as shown by its rollout of the following features back in February:

  • Videos will autoplay, with sound on
  • Optimization for vertical videos
  • Watch and scroll capabilities
  • Facebook Video app for smart TVs

Although these features have improved the way people are watching videos, the social network has also found itself in a battle to combat click-bait content, which they define as “fake video play buttons embedded in their imagery or videos of only a static image.”

Describing these methods as “intentionally deceptive practices,” Facebook has vowed that the distribution for these types of content on your news feed will decrease marginally.

This being said, Facebook isn’t just looking for any videos to fill up news feeds – they’re also fighting to improve the integrity of these videos and the information they feature.

Facebook’s Diverse Options for Video Content

In addition to improving user experience by looking for credible, high-quality videos, Facebook has also introduced or enhanced many new types of videos being seen on your news feed.

These new introductions to Facebook’s overall video experience has changed the way that users watch, produce, and share videos, both on their desktop and mobile devices. Some of these new video features which were rolled out (or fine-tuned) in 2017 include the following:

1. Facebook Live

With the goal of connecting users and marketers to others nearby and around the world, Facebook Live allows you to instantly share live video with your friends, family, and Facebook fans.

Although going live was first introduced to high-profile users in August of 2015, and later expanded to all users in April of 2016, 2017 was still a substantial year for the feature.

This year, users were able to enhance their live videos with the following new abilities:

  • Go Live from Your Desktop – In March of 2017, Facebook users were first given the ability to broadcast live from their laptop computer or desktop. (Users had previously only been able to go live from their mobile devices.)
  • Live Chat with Friends – This feature allows you to invite friends to a private chat about a public live video.
  • Live With – This feature allows you to go live on Facebook with another user, even if you’re not in the same place.
  • Closed Captions – Given the fact that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without noise, the social network introduced the option for closed captions on live videos in 2017.

2. Facebook 360

The ability to film videos at 360 degrees was first introduced to news feeds in 2015, but in 2017 the feature got a facelift in the form of the following new capabilities:

  • Live 360 – The idea of combining two of Facebook’s video features, Facebook Live and Facebook 360, was first introduced as Live 360 in December of 2016, however, this feature wasn’t spread to every user until March of 2017.
  • >Live 360 Ready – Live 360 Ready is an expansion of Live 360 which introduced an array of third-party 360 cameras and software solutions for marketers and general users to utilize. With 11 types of cameras and 7 software suites, each of these options are vetted by Facebook’s team.
  • Facebook 360 for Gear VR – To expand into the virtual reality market, Facebook partnered with Samsung in March of 2017. As a result, each Samsung Gear VR has a Facebook 360 app where you can browse millions of videos.

3. Facebook Watch

Aiming to compete with online video platforms that have seen success like YouTube and Amazon, the developers at Facebook introduced Facebook Watch in August of 2017. Watch is a platform for videos that is available on your desktop, mobile devices, and Facebook’s smart TV apps.

Watch gives users the ability to discover many types of videos with a home feed that’s split into categories such as Comedy, Food and Drink, Mind and Body, and more. It provides users with suggestions for videos based on what friends and family are watching, as well as “What People Are Talking About” and “Popular Now” options.

  • Episodes – A major functionality within Watch is Episodes, where creators and publishers can turn their videos into regular shows with new episodes that viewers can tune into daily, weekly, or at any frequency they desire. This feature has been utilized by popular media outlets such as:

4. Facebook Stories

Another way that Facebook users can produce and watch videos on the site is with their Stories feature. Like Snapchat, this capability allows users to generate their own photos and videos that will stay on news feeds for 24 hours before disappearing.

Although this was first introduced in March of 2017, Facebook had been testing the function on its Messenger app back in September of 2016 in Poland, with a feature they called Messenger Day.

Other key features within Facebook Stories to be utilized include:

  • Stories for Pages – As of October of 2017, both personal users and business Page admins can now use the Facebook Stories feature to interact with followers. Like Snapchat and Instagram, their Stories can include filters and face effects.
  • Share Instagram Story to Facebook – Given that Instagram’s Stories feature has received more traction than Facebook’s, it comes as no surprise that users on both networks can now share their Instagram Stories onto their Facebook pages.

5. Facebook Spaces

Facebook’s newest element of video production is in Facebook Spaces, a free app produced by Oculus, which is a division of Facebook that’s focused on virtual reality.

In Spaces, you can create and customize a virtual version of yourself, curated from your Facebook photos, as well as interact with friends and family, even if they aren’t on virtual reality.

Features include drawing in the air with a virtual hand marker, “transporting” to new places from 360 videos, and even sharing live video.

This new app only makes sense for the social network, since Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that he is “more committed than ever to the future of virtual reality” in April of this year.

As a result of this, Zuckerberg’s company Oculus produced various models of VR headsets in 2017, the Oculus Go and Rift. In October, a virtual reality version of the CEO visited hurricane-struck Puerto Rico, which he broadcasted via Facebook Live.

Which of Facebook’s New Video Features Is Your Favorite?

Facebook has integrated many different types of video content onto its site – from short, disappearing Stories to live videos, these have encouraged many of its users to go the extra mile with their posts.

Which of these new video features is your favorite, and where do you see the social network going in 2018?

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