Last year saw exceptional growth for video on Facebook. At the end of 2014 the site hosted approximately one billion video views per day. By the close of 2015, that figure had grown to over eight billion. While there's still some debate about what qualifies as a video view (3 sec vs. 10 sec. vs. 30 secs?), the overall trajectory of Facebook video consumption his undeniable.
Video is central to Facebook's vision for the future of the platform. In 2014 CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying "In five years most of Facebook will be video" . Facebook will be working hard in 2016 to cement that vision, especially in the areas of live video and VR. Below are five statistics which show the importance of video on Facebook in 2016.
1. People spend 3x longer watching video which is Live compared to video which is no longer Live
One of the most interesting new technologies has been the integration of live video streaming technology into social media platforms. The start of 2015 saw Twitter release what's since become the market leader in the field, in Periscope. Facebook's since introduced it's own live-streaming option, and the ability to watch and interact in real time video has proven popular with its user base. Latest figures show that people spend 3x longer watching live video compared to a video that's pre-recorded. As a consequence, Facebook's now looking to give greater prominence to live video - as noted by Facebook Product Manager Vibhi Kant in a recent blog post:
"We're making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live."
And in just the past week, Facebook's given yet another indication of how seriously they're taking live-streaming, announcing a change to the Facebook app to put more focus on live video.
2. Facebook users have watched more than one million hours with Samsung VR gear
Virtual Reality (VR) is another key area of focus for Facebook. Following Facebook's acquisition of VR company Oculus, Mark Zuckerberg offered a clear indication that VR would play an integral role in the the future of Facebook. Zuckerberg stated that VR would offer Facebook users the opportunity to:
"Share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures."
To help realize that vision, Facebook's set up a dedicated social media VR team. Part of that group's role is to collaborate with Oculus to integrate the technology into Facebook's platform. Already users have consumed over a million hours of VR video using the Samsung VR gear.
3. The number of videos posted per person increased by users increased by 75% in 2015
The amount of video being consumed on Facebook wasn't the only standout growth story of last year - that demand was largely matched in supply. Facebook users increased the number of videos posted per person by 75% globally in 2015. In the United States this growth was even more impressive, rising 94%. Whether the growth of video posts increases at a similar rate in 2016 remains to be seen.
4. Video posts have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts
Live is not the only type of video content getting a lot of exposure on Facebook - video posts in general reach a larger audience, on average. According to a study by Social Bakers, the average video post generates 135% greater organic reach, when compared to photo posts.
5. Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day
Facebook now serves a staggering 8 billion video views per day - that's double the amount the video content users were consuming in early 2015. However, that huge growth in Facebook video consumption is not without its detractors - critics point out that a view is counted after 3 seconds on Facebook compared to 30 seconds on YouTube. Also, Facebook videos autoplay, leading to views being counted where, in many cases, the viewers has necessarily indicated any interest in the content. But however you look at it, the fact is that overall video growth is on a big upswing on The Social Network, and that Zuckerberg's prediction of a Facebook dominated by video looks ever more likely in 2016.