Look out YouTube. Here comes Facebook. During its earnings call on Wednesday, Facebook revealed some incredible numbers on video content. Most notably, Facebook users now view more than four billion videos a day on the social network. Let that sink in for a moment.
That number by itself is staggering, but compared to recent months, it’s even more impressive. Just six months ago, in September, that number was one billion. In January, it was three billion.
Put that in the context of Facebook’s announcements at their F8 conference a few weeks ago and you’ve got a lot of reasons for YouTube – and marketers — to take notice. In case you missed it, Facebook now enables users to embed videos hosted on Facebook anywhere on the web using a simple embed code. Facebook also opened up its video API, giving brands more control over their video content, including deciding who can see it, setting an expiration date and customizing thumbnail images and subtitles. Facebook understands the importance of video as a content medium for both audiences and marketers, and you can bet this only the beginning.
So what are the practical implications for modern marketers, particularly those in the B2B space? Here’s what I’m thinking:
1. Video is ingrained in our digital culture and audiences now expect it
While a large percentage of these videos on Facebook are personal in nature, they are training your buyers every day to “press play” for a quick burst of engaging content. Data sheets, whitepapers and product pages full of feature specs will no longer cut it. Business buyers are people, people love to consume video content, and these days they simply expect it from any modern brand.
2. The channels to reach your audiences with video content just got broader
This presents both new opportunities and challenges for marketers. Sharing content via Facebook isn’t new for marketers, but using it as a premium channel for sharing your videos may be. As you go down this road of sharing video content across a myriad of distribution channels (your own landing pages, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vine, etc.), be sure to think about how to centrally manage those video assets and what your primary hosting platform is going to be. You know, the one place where you upload, manage and customize your videos and push them out to all the places they need to be. YouTube and Facebook are great distribution channels to reach your audiences, but not the best hosting platforms for B2B businesses that have different goals than just view counts.
3. Context + Content is a powerful combination
Facebook gets this, and it’s why they’re investing so much to make video a success on their platform. If they can crack the code on serving up the best content to the right user at the time it’s most relevant – well, the story writes itself. For B2B marketers, Facebook will emerge as a powerful channel for video marketing. It will also act as an inspiration for how to approach our own broader marketing efforts.
With Facebook getting serious about video as a pillar of its platform, Google should be worried. Meanwhile, B2B and B2C marketers should be chomping at the bit to take advantage of both platforms and embrace the video era. The play button is the most compelling call-to-action on the web, presenting significant new opportunities for marketers and content creators including those in the B2B world. If you haven’t yet made the case to invest in a video content strategy, you now have four billion more reasons to give it some serious thought.
For more perspective on Facebook’s recent foray into video, check out Michael Litt’s in-depth analysis of the Facebook video announcements at CMO.com.