Will Interactive Video Right Facebook’s Ship?

With billions of dollars at stake, Facebook is betting its long-term success on content that consumers find more meaningful and engaging. In the short term, that has resulted in sagging consumption rates, slowing revenue growth, and soaring overhead costs.

Yet CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists that Facebook and its billions of users will ultimately be better off. “By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term,” he promised earlier this year.

Key to Zuckerberg’s grand plan is video that users find worthy of their time and attention.

Enter the seven-person team behind Vidpresso, an interactive video firm that Facebook just agreed to “aqui-hire” for an undisclosed sum.

Founded in 2012, Vidpresso helps publishers and brands soup up their videos with interactive graphics, comments, polls, and the like. As the company notes in a new blog post, the point was always “to make video more like HTML — easier to author, easier to change, and customized per person.”

Likely boding well for Facebook, Vidpresso’s client list is impressive. On the brand side, partners have included BMW, Burger King, and Nasdaq, while publishing partners include NBC News, TED, Fox Sports, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, MTV, Turner Sports, and Reuters.

Along with the Vidpresso deal, Facebook recently began giving content creators tools to turn their videos into game shows.

read more here: www.mediapost.com

Facebook Now Beats YouTube for Video Viewing

It’s time to shift those budgets from YouTube to Facebook, a report suggests. According to a study by Slidely, maker of the Promo video creation platform, 47 percent of viewers say they watch more videos on Facebook now while 41 percent watch more on YouTube (only 8 percent say they watch more on Instagram). It looks like Facebook’s efforts to become the leading video destination are a huge success.

But people don’t simply watch more videos on Facebook now; they also prefer the video ad experience there, as well. While YouTube is known for its easily skipped ads, 71 percent of those surveyed said they find the sponsored videos in their Facebook feed to be relevant or highly relevant to their interests.

“This is fantastic news for marketers because it confirms their paid social budgets are going to good use. Not only are consumers watching sponsored videos, but they’re also finding them relevant (which is, of course, critical to successful marketing),” the report says. “For marketers, this also points to the extreme importance of closely targeting the right users. Consumers have come to expect that sponsored social content be perfectly tailored to their lives and their interests.”

All that video ad viewing is turning into consumer action, as the report finds 70 percent say they sometimes or very often visit the company’s website after watching a video. Also, 60 percent say they sometimes or very often visit the company’s social page after watching a video.

The survey looks at the popular Stories format on Facebook and Instagram, and finds viewing high. While 68 percent say they watch Facebook or Instagram Stories either sometimes or all the time, that number zooms up to 81 percent for those under 34.

view the full report for free online (no registration required).

read more here: onlinevideo.net

The Frenemy Report: 15 Minutes of Attention

HBO’s new management is making a splash, with John Stankey, an AT&T exec who now oversees HBO in his new role as chief executive of Warner Media, telling the team, “We need hours a day,” referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.”

More and more publishers are heading OTT, with WIRED announcing a TV channel. It will be free and ad-supported … a model which could also apply to Amazon in the near future: UK job ad indicates Amazon wants to bring TV advertising and free TV channels to Prime. The living room increasingly makes sense for capturing the attention of elusive Millennials and Gen Zers– check out this VAB study which found on average, in any given minute, the ad-supported multi-screen TV 18-34 audience is six times larger than Facebook and over two times larger than YouTube in the summer months.

Why are we so concerned with the Frenemies, anyway? Maybe it’s because they (Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat) are feeding us “behavioral cocaine,” disguised as notifications, in a bid for our limited hours of attention.

Given all the trade-offs, I believe the most likely scenario in the near term is an increasing divergence of strategies between brands.

Brands and influencers are excited about the potential for longer-form videos that can tell stories to Instagram’s 1 billion users. But traditional Hollywood making content for IGTV? Don’t count on it, because there’s no way to monetize the pricey programming they might make for the new app, especially when so many other outlets are willing to pay.

YouTube said it provide funding in about 20 global markets to support news organizations in “building sustainable video operations.” The grants will let new orgs build out video capabilities, train staff on video best practices, and enhance production facilities. YouTube says it also will expands the team focused on supporting news publishers.

Philo will use funds raised from its Series C to invest in new product features and enhancements — including a “social media TV experience,” according to Deadline — as well as to expand its marketing efforts. Philo’s other existing investors include A+E Networks and Scripps Networks, who participated in a $25 million round last November. Per Crunchbase, Philo has raised roughly $107 million in venture funding to date.

Mr. Stankey described a future in which HBO would substantially increase its subscriber base and the number of hours that viewers spend watching its shows. To pull it off, the network will have to come up with more content, transforming itself from a boutique operation, with a focus on its signature Sunday night lineup, into something bigger and broader.

Brands are only a small portion of the entire universe of YouTube videos, according to analysis by Tubular Labs, which tracks 4 billion online videos. In part that’s because of the sheer overwhelming scale of YouTube, where around 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute. It’s easy to feel lost there if you don’t have a smart video strategy to get your content seen.

read more here: tvrev.com

Will IGTV And Digital Long-Form Bring Big TV Ad Budgets Online?

by Edward Kim

Facebook recently announced the launch of IGTV, a hub for long-form, vertical videos that’s accessible from both a new app and the existing Instagram app.

Facebook’s stock soared on the news – Wall Street believes Facebook may finally see a share of Madison Avenue’s TV advertising budgets. YouTube has recently been targeting the same prize. But is the timing right?

There’s no doubt we’ve hit a video engagement tipping point. GroupM forecasts that time spent with digital video will exceed that of TV in 2018, and it’s happening on increasingly more social platforms, apps and connected devices.

IGTV is just the latest wrinkle in video complexity for brands. It’s safe to presume that different watching behavior will emerge in paid and organic content on the platform, as it has already on Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook in-feed video and Facebook’s other premium content home, Watch. That list doesn’t include other massively growing and unique video hubs such as Amazon’s Twitch and Musical.ly.

But there are enormous challenges for shifting big-brand budgets from TV to video. Digital video is not a monolith – switching from Instagram to YouTube is not like changing the channel from ABC to NBC. Brands can’t just re-cut existing digital video content – whether it’s repurposed TV ads, digital-native ads or branded content – and plop it in new distribution channels and expect them to be successful.
So, what will make brands decide to shift investment? Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Why big budgets will move online:

Better targeting than TV: One of the core advantages of digital video is the specificity of targeting, both with first-party and third-party data. While targeting using third-party may be limited given privacy concerns, the use of first-party data for video targeting will only get more valuable as the reach across platforms and publishers continues to grow.

(Some) repurposing can help: The growth of long-form channels and over-the-top (OTT) video provide a natural home in the short term for brands to repurpose existing longer-form video content.

Branded content baby steps: Digital native publisher brands like BuzzFeed and Vox have demonstrated fluency in mastering new video formats, such as their recent moves into OTT video on Netflix. Integrated buyouts offer an opportunity for brands to capitalize on new video inventory without investing completely in production.

Why big budgets won’t move online:

Lack of standards: Outside of video completions, the different platforms have zero common standards. No one agrees on even what a video “view” is, and it’s only going to fragment more across the platforms. This makes both measuring top-of-funnel basics reach and frequency challenging, let alone trying to measure ROI.

Brand safety and viewability: Managing brand safety with digital video will get worse before it gets better – it’s still a top concern of CMOs, and agencies are so worried about it they’re teaming up to create consortiums to address it. On the viewability front, brands like Adidas are expressing concerns about Facebook in particular; Adidas recently announced it would suspend Facebook video ad buys because it worried that as much as 30% of its spend was wasted.

ROI: Brands such as P&G have pulled back significant amounts of awareness-oriented digital spend over a lack of efficacy, and recent research from Nielsen shows that among digital channels, all types of video are still perceived by CMOs as less important than social and search.

read more here: adexchanger.com

Facebook to stream live boxing

Golden Boy Promotions is launching a partnership with Facebook to bring live boxing and original programming to a global community of fans on the social media platform.

The first of five live fight nights on Facebook will debut on August 11th and will feature Jesus Rojas defending his WBA World Featherweight Title against Joseph “JoJo “Diaz Jr at the Avalon Theater in Hollywood. The second live fight will feature light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera against a soon-to-be announced opponent on August 18th from the Sands Casino Resort in Pennsylvania.

“This game-changing deal for the sport of boxing places Golden Boy Promotions and its stable of fighters at the intersection of live sports mega-casting and ultimate fan engagement. Our team is now positioned to present world-class boxing from Silicon Valley, to Madison Avenue, to Hollywood and to the rest of the world. The reach of Facebook is just incredible, and our sponsorship conversations will truly resonate with brands across all categories,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.

Golden Boy Media and Entertainment will serve as the production entity producing the live fights and original programming. De La Hoya will serve as Executive Producer and will invoke his extremely high standards across the board and push for entirely new approaches to presenting the sport to the Facebook audience. For example, the live broadcasts will incorporate the real-time fan interaction and engagement made possible by Facebook’s social video platform.

“We’re thrilled to team with Golden Boy Promotions to make Facebook a home for championship-calibre boxing this year,” said Devi Mahadevia, North America Live Sports Programming Lead at Facebook. “Through this unique partnership, a global community of sports fans will have free access to some of boxing’s most exciting live bouts and be able to interact with the action like never before.”

read more here: advanced-television.com

Soon Every Social Media Platform Will Look Like Every Other One

– by David Bloom

If this year’s VidCon is any guide, its very busy organizers will soon have a much less difficult time deciding which of the many social-media platforms it should feature in coming editions of the conference. At the rate things are going, all the sites will look alike anyway.

As it was, this year’s online influencer gathering featured tens of thousands of fans, dozens of panels and performances, and all the usual big platforms alongside newcomers such as LinkedIn and Twitch. Many platforms had news to tout, but too often, their “news” sounded very familiar.

Video? Check. Long-form video? Check. Disappearing posts? Messaging? Live Video? Monetization tools? Check, check, check. And yes, check.

Call it the Big Schmear. The “cream cheese” of content and services on your favorite big bagel of a social-media platform will soon be festooned with pretty much every ingredient that everyone else has on theirs. And if anyone comes up with a new idea, everyone else will be quick to take a bite, by buying or copying it.

Everyone Wants To Be Everyone Else

That creeping, slightly creepy convergence was a constant source of conversation among those I talked with throughout the show. We were all discussing the implications of recent news like:

– Instagram announced IGTV, a standalone (though tightly integrated) mobile app for video posts of up to an hour. The goal: to be more like YouTube, and because it’s a mobile-friendly vertical format, Snapchat.
– YouTube announced more and more widely available monetization tools for its creators, including merchandising, subscription memberships, and event ticketing. The goal: to be more like Twitch. Musical.Ly and others with plentiful ways for creators to cash in on their audiences. .
– Twitch owner Amazon debuted its Merch merchandise fulfillment service, and spotlighted licensed goodies from veteran online stars Hannah Hart and Shane Dawson. Amazon also sponsored an “industry lounge” on the show’s top floor that fed and watered many brand and online-video executives. The lounge showed off even more Amazon offerings, like Handmade, a product service that seems a lot like Etsy.
– Snapchat extended its Shows, short-form episodic videos used heretofore by big publishers, to creators such as makeup guru Patrick Starrr. Snapchat also will begin sharing ad revenue with its influencers. The goal: to be more influencer friendly, like YouTube and Instagram.
– Facebook launched FB.GG, which gathers the site’s game-related creators and content in one place. The goal: to be more like Twitch and Gaming.YouTube.

These are only the latest lurches toward feature convergence. Most notoriously, of course, Facebook and its various holdings have been shamelessly copying every useful bit of Snapchat. In a minor moment of karmic justice, the copying hasn’t forestalled the flight of teens from Facebook.

In the past couple of years, Facebook also launched Watch (to be more like YouTube and Netflix) and Live (to keep up with Twitch, YouNow, LiveMe and similar players). More recently, Facebook commissioned CNN, ABC News, and other traditional media sites to create Watch-specific news shows. This may be another Facebook copycat move, given the notable, if uneven, success of news outlets on Snapchat Discover.

I’m dubious about all these #IAlso initiatives. It doesn’t take much innovation to straight copy Snapchat Stories, especially when your version even uses the same name, as on Instagram. Conversely, fans haven’t punished Instagram, which announced that it now has 1 billion users, up 200 million just since last fall.

Does More Make You Better?

The bigger question, of course, is whether adding everyone else’s features makes your favorite platform any better, or any more of a destination, or for that matter, any better a place for an influencer to ply her trade, or to cut a deal with a brand.

Every successful platform to date was built on its own unique DNA, the user interface and mechanics that made it work for the audience it created and the influencers who rose to prominence there. Doing a Jurassic Park on that DNA, extracting and bolting on the features of another platform to create some bellowing hybrid beast, doesn’t automatically translate to new fans or a better experience for anybody.

Now admittedly, not everyone at VidCon was as concerned as I am. One panel of industry notables was asked, “do all the platforms have to evolve to do everything?” Maybe not, some said.

Ivana Kirkbride, GM of OTT for Verizon’s Oath unit, insisted that “every platform serves a specific purpose.” Even look-alike functions manifest in different ways on different platforms, she said. “Facebook Watch is a very different experience” from YouTube, Netflix, Snapchat, traditional TV or even whatever IG TV becomes.

I’m certainly willing to accord Kirkbride some deference, given her run as a top executive at YouTube and Vessel before taking over Verizon’s Go90 unit and now all of its over-the-top video initiatives.

And long-time media critic and journalism professor Jeff Jarvis suggested that we’re only beginning to see what’s possible with online video, as it transforms nearly every corner of the media business, bringing lots of opportunity for more features and engagement in the future.

Things Are Looking Good For Influencers, But Diversification Still Key
I do expect, however, that the coming convergence means a lot more work for influencers themselves, and probably far less clarity about where they should devote their efforts.

Late on Day 2, I slipped into a standing-room-only workshop on branded content featuring influencer Brent Rivera and WhoSay Executive VP of Talent Harvey Schwartz. The workshop detailed the kinds of clever cross-platform posting and marketing strategies that influencers and advertisers must use in an era where, as Schwartz put it, “organic reach is dead.”

The highly technical conversation was not for neophytes. But it reminded me how far the industry has come in just a few years. In a conference room far above the milling crowds of pre-pubescent fans on the first floor of the Anaheim Convention Center, two of online video’s more prominent members talked about the science of online influence.

read more here: tubefilter.com

Facebook is Opening up its Video Platform to More Creators

Facebook Watch, which initially launched with a mix of short- and long-form TV show-like programming, will soon include content from regular creators.

“We are now bringing videos from Pages into Watch,” the company announced in a blog post this morning. “In our testing, we’ve found that people enjoy discovering and watching a combination of shows and videos in Watch — and for creators, this means their videos may be eligible to show up in Watch to be discovered by a broader audience.”

A Facebook page is a public profile specifically created for businesses, brands, celebrities, causes, and other organizations. Unlike personal profiles, pages do not gain “friends,” but” fans,” which are people who choose to “like” a page.

In addition to widening the content on its Watch platform, Facebook announced plans to open up Ad Breaks to more creators, starting with those who are creating longer, original content that “fosters a loyal community.” The company also plans to open up fan subscriptions to more creators in the coming months.

“We’ve been testing a way for fans to support creators they love by pledging $4.99 (USD) per month in exchange for perks like exclusive content and a special badge highlighting their status as a supporter, and we are now expanding to more creators,” the blog post read.

On the interactive side of things, Facebook is launching a slate of new shows that utilize interactive features like polls and quizzes with the aim of fostering a greater sense of community between creators and users.

“We’re starting with polling for both Live and on demand videos, as well as gamification for Live,” the blog explained. “With these tools, our partners can add a range of new interactive features to videos such as: polls, quiz questions, challenges, and more. These can all be used within an individual video or to create a standalone game show.”

In the coming weeks, a range of creators will begin to incorporate polling and gamification into their shows and videos, including Brent Rivera and That Chick Angel. Facebook also announced several interactive game shows that will be launching in the coming weeks:

– “Confetti” by INSIDER: A live interactive game show made in partnership with INSIDER that will air daily. It will challenge people to answer pop culture trivia questions alongside — and with the help of — their friends. Players can see which friends are playing at the same time, and be able to see how friends answered questions. Players who answer all questions correctly will split a cash prize.

read more here: thevideoink.com

Teens leaving Facebook for YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat

Until recently, Facebook had dominated the social media landscape among America’s youth – but it is no longer the most popular online platform among teens, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Today, roughly half (51 per cent) of US teens ages 13 to 17 say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

This shift in teens’ social media use is just one example of how the technology landscape for young people has evolved since the Center’s last survey of teens and technology use in 2014-2015. Most notably, smartphone ownership has become a nearly ubiquitous element of teen life: 95 per cent of teens now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fuelling more-persistent online activities: 45 per cent of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31 per cent) or mostly negative (24 per cent), but the largest share (45 per cent) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.

These are some of the main findings from the Center’s survey of US teens conducted in March and April 2018. Throughout the report, “teens” refers to those ages 13 to 17.

Facebook is no longer the dominant online platform among teens

The social media landscape in which teens reside looks markedly different than it did as recently as three years ago. In the Center’s 2014-2015 survey of teen social media use, 71 per cent of teens reported being Facebook users. No other platform was used by a clear majority of teens at the time: Around half (52 per cent) of teens said they used Instagram, while 41 per cent reported using Snapchat.

In 2018, three online platforms other than Facebook – YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat – are used by sizable majorities of this age group. Meanwhile, 51 per cent of teens now say they use Facebook. The shares of teens who use Twitter and Tumblr are largely comparable to the shares who did so in the 2014-2015 survey.

For the most part, teens tend to use similar platforms regardless of their demographic characteristics, but there are exceptions. Notably, lower-income teens are more likely to gravitate toward Facebook than those from higher-income households – a trend consistent with previous Center surveys. Seven-in-ten teens living in households earning less than $30,000 a year say they use Facebook, compared with 36 per cent whose annual family income is $75,000 or more.

It is important to note there were some changes in question wording between Pew Research Center’s 2014-2015 and 2018 surveys of teen social media use. YouTube and Reddit were not included as options in the 2014-2015 survey but were included in the current survey. In addition, the 2014-2015 survey required respondents to provide an explicit response for whether or not they used each platform, while the 2018 survey presented respondents with a list of sites and allowed them to select the ones they use. Even so, it is clear the social media environment today revolves less around a single platform than it did three years ago.

When it comes to which one of these online platforms teens use the most, roughly one-third say they visit Snapchat (35 per cent) or YouTube (32 per cent) most often, while 15 per cent say the same of Instagram. By comparison, 10 per cent of teens say Facebook is their most-used online platform, and even fewer cite Twitter, Reddit or Tumblr as the site they visit most often.

read more here: advanced-television.com

IAB says revenues up 21% to $88B in 2017. What they don’t say: ‘not for you’

The IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) is out with its Q4 and 2017 year-end state of the digital advertising industry report. In a repeat of the past several years, digital advertising revenue is up. There was growth across formats and devices. And while the IAB doesn’t name names, Facebook and Google continue to suck up most of the oxygen in the room.

The data for the IAB report is collected from IAB member companies and publicly available corporate data by PwC.

Overall, digital ad revenue grew 21.4 percent to $88 billion in 2017. To put that in perspective, PwC says the revenue change in digital seen last year is greater than in the newspaper industry as a whole.

Digital video increased overall share in 2017, chipping away at search, to $11.9 billion, up 33 percent from $8.9 billion in 2016. Search still continued to grow at 17.5 percent in 2017, to $40.6 billion. Banner revenues, which includes banners, sponsorships and rich media, totaled $27.5 billion in 2017, up 23 percent from 2016.

Mobile continues to gain share, accounting for 57 percent of the overall digital ad pie in 2017, to reach $49.9 billion. That’s more than all digital ad revenues in 2014. Mobile has seen a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 71.4 percent since 2010. Mobile share grew across all formats, as shown in the slide from the IAB webinar on the report.

Despite mobile’s ascendance, desktop revenues still grew in 2017, with a CAGR of 6 percent over 2016.

CPMs also increased in 2017, according to data from SQAD.com shared by the IAB. CPMs for in-stream video were up 3 percent 2017 year over year to $25.22, and CPMs for display rose 6 percent to $14.72 on average.

Social media isn’t broken out as a format, but its share of revenue topped 25.2 percent in 2017, reaching $22.2 billion. Facebook, of course, accounts for the bulk of social media advertising spend in the US.

Duopoly dominance
The IAB doesn’t release data on specific companies, but the top 10 companies commandeered 74 percent of total revenues. That share among the top 10 has remained relatively consistent, says the IAB. The elephant in the room is the fact that the top two — Facebook and Google — now make up the majority of that 74 percent.

During the webinar announcing the IAB report, Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research shared his analysis of Google and Facebook’s share of the market in the US. Acknowledging there are “a lot of assumptions” that go into these estimates and that his analysis is based on gross revenue, Wieser said, “It seems clear they are taking share. [Google and Facebook] probably accounted for 90 percent of the growth. The rest probably accounted for 10 percent or so.” Weiser pegs the duopoly’s share of US ad revenues at above 70 percent.

read more here: marketingland.com

Types of Videos Facebook Won’t Monetize

Facebook is expanding pre-roll video ads to more areas on the platform. The company is also clarifying its monetization policies giving additional detail on the kinds of videos that aren’t eligible for ads.

The company has announced that after testing pre-roll ads for shows in its video section, Facebook Watch, it will be expanding the test to other places where videos can be found, like in search results or on a Facebook Page timeline.

In addition to previous ad-eligibility guidelines released last fall that restricts ads from running on certain kinds of content — including videos that have sexual themes, depict violent or illegal activity, contain inappropriate language, or misappropriate children’s characters — Facebook will not monetize certain low-quality videos or publishers who engage in sharing and distribution schemes.

“We are focused on growing payouts for creators and publishers who develop engaged and loyal audiences and are working on growing payouts for partners who develop loyal, engaged viewing,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Other types of video content ineligible for monetization include:

Manufactured sharing and distribution schemes:

Content partners with paid arrangements for Pages to methodically and inorganically share videos can no longer monetize views originating on the third party Pages. According to Facebook, this behavior optimizes for distribution rather than quality and does not build deep relationships between people and content.

Formats unsuitable for an ad:

When content partners use video formats that aren’t actually video – like static or minimal movement videos or content that just loops – they are creating experiences not intended for ad break monetization, says Facebook. People do not expect to see ads in this type of content, and this is not the type of content advertisers want to run ads in.

Limited editorialization of content:

Facebook says that pages primarily distributing videos of repurposed clips from other sources with limited editorialization do not foster engaged, loyal communities in the way that Pages that produce and publish original, thematic or episodic videos do. “While we will not be taking immediate enforcement action on this issue, we want to signal to content producers that this is a programming style we will more deeply evaluate over the coming weeks and months to assess what level of distribution and monetization matches the value created for people,” the company wrote in the blog post.

read more here: thevideoink.com