Facebook just released new stats revealing that their shift to take over the video sphere is working. Since June 2014, Facebook video has averaged 1 billion views a day with over 65% of the views worldwide happening on mobile. In just one year the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.
Facebook is still behind YouTube in traffic – but is quickly catching up. The most recent daily view count YouTube has released (from 2 years ago) is 4 billion daily views. Have they not released new numbers because that number has fallen? YouTube currently boasts over 1 billion unique viewers each month. Contrast that, though, with Facebook’s 1.35 billion monthly users. Granted every YouTube user is viewing a video and every Facebook user may not be. But if Facebook has anything to say about that, they soon will be. Every single one of them.
Facebook now displays view counts as well. It’s unclear how long an auto-play video has to be viewed to count towards an official view or if it has to be manually clicked. But many users watch auto-play videos (unclicked, and therefore without sound) within their newsfeed until the end. Facebook encourages advertisers and brands to create videos that are just as informative and entertaining without sound.
What does this mean for musicians? Well, Facebook posted this advice on its blog today:
“The most important thing to remember when creating video for Facebook is that it will be a part of News Feed. As a creator, you should be conscious that people will discover your video in News Feed next to a photo from a friend or a status update from a relative. Your video needs to fit in, and it needs to be something that your audience will want to watch and share.
With the launch of auto-play and the surge in mobile use, it’s also important to focus on posting videos that grab people from the first frame of video. Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention even without sound often find success.”
Unfortunately, Facebook currently has no system in place for Pages (or copyright owners) to monetize their videos (or their music used in fan videos). But as soon as they do, you can bet Audiam, Ad Rev, INDmusic and the other digital rights management companies will jump on it. And so far no labels or publishers have gone after Facebook for users posting videos containing their artists’ music. They must have learned their lesson from their (flawed) YouTube takedown approach. Remember back in 2008 when music mysteriously disappeared from videos containing WMG songs? Or complete videos were removed altogether? Well, the labels learned pretty quickly that they could make more money off of the exposure (and monetization/iTunes links) they receive from fan videos than by forcing takedowns. You’d think the labels would have learned from their (similarly flawed) approach of suing music’s biggest fans for pirating music in the Napster/Limewire/Kazaa era. Finally, the labels understand that fighting progress isn’t the solution. If the laws can’t keep up with technology, then the music industry needs to work with tech to march on forward.
Facebook video is only going to get bigger. It’s much easier to share Facebook videos than YouTube videos. Sure, YouTube is still the #1 music streaming site in the world, but if you want to get your music video to catch, try posting to YouTube and Facebook simultaneously and see which spreads faster. It’s time to start coming up with ways to creatively use Facebook video to engage your fans and spread your content.
Photo is by Andrew Feinberg from Flickr and used with the Creative Commons license.