Facebook’s on a mission to dominate online video. Well really, to dominate the online sphere more broadly, but video, specifically, has become a key focus. But beating out YouTube and Netflix for digital viewing supremacy is going to be tough, and Facebook will likely need some new tricks, and maybe even a new angle, to truly compete.
Their latest video initiatives move in that direction, while also issuing a challenge to newer trendsetters in the space. This week, Facebook has announced a new set of interactive video features, designed to make video on Facebook more active – like engaging with a studio audience – as opposed to less psychologically beneficial passive consumption.
As explained by Facebook:
“Our vision is to make video on Facebook truly interactive. Watching video doesn't have to be a passive, one-way broadcast. We believe that many traditional formats — from game shows to reality TV and even scripted content — can be reinvented to be more participatory and community-centric.”
Pretty clear where they’re headed with this, right? The biggest announcement within their new interactive video features is a HQ Trivia-style interactive quiz option, which is now in testing for both Facebook Live and on-demand videos.
The option’s actually an extension of the Facebook Live polling tool that’s been in testing since last year (below), though this new process more closely follows the HQ Trivia model, which has proven hugely popular.
Incidentally, Facebook’s also rolling out Facebook Live polling to more users:
“Polling lets partners add questions with a set of answers, to quickly and easily get their fans' opinions - from asking them to vote on their favorite character in a show, getting their advice on what to do next in the video, or even bringing to life old favorites like “Two Truths and a Lie.”
In addition to Live, polling will also be utilized in some Facebook Watch programs to invite user interaction. But it’s the trivia feature that will likely spark the most interest.
“The partner creates a set of questions with each having one correct answer, and people get eliminated from the game when they answer incorrectly. This will help a range of formats come to life, like a live trivia show where fans compete to see who knows the most about a particular topic or perhaps a direct competition between creators and their superfans on a topic of choice.”
The compulsive, addictive gameplay of HQ Trivia has helped the app grow quickly – some HQ Trivia broadcasts have seen over 2 million players, and the prize pool for each game has continued to rise. By opening up a similar option to all users, Facebook’s essentially democratizing the format – individuals will be able to create games for their friends, while brands will be able to run competitions, all of which will generate further interest in the offering.
Facebook’s taking a different approach to the trivia trend than it did with Snapchat. When Facebook first sought to challenge Snap, it did so by introducing its own AR tools and features, which largely paled in comparison, given Snap’s audience nous. Facebook eventually opened up their AR tools to all creators, expanding the pool of potential features – and forcing Snap to do the same.
This time around, Facebook’s starting from that angle, opening up HQ Trivia-like tools to everyone, which may dilute the influence of the app.
And the research shows that video viewers are interested in interactive experiences – multi-participant, interactive video tools like those available in Houseparty, Instagram Live and Facebook Messenger video have all seen significant increases in usage over the past year.
The data also shows that 'second-screening' – viewing video content while also reacting online – has also become a key consumption trend. eMarketer found that nearly 85% of internet users surf the web while watching TV, a number they expect to see rise to more than 90% by the end of 2018.
These changes in TV consumption behavior point to the fact that users are looking for ways to engage while viewing - which, as noted, also points to Facebook’s larger mission to make social more interactive, and thus, more beneficial for psychological wellbeing than passive consumption.
If you’re interested in testing out Facebook’s new video features, you can apply for early access here.