Facebook's intentions with video are now crystal clear. Like everything else on the web, Mark Zuckerberg is shooting for complete dominance.
The social media giant recently rolled out their answer to YouTube and Netflix, Facebook Watch, to all U.S. Facebook users. This move wasn't too surprising: The Zuckerberg crew has been pushing video for a long time.
With their worldwide campaigning for Facebook Live, auto-play videos being prioritized in EdgeRank (Facebook's news feed algorithm), and more, it was only a matter of time before a fully-fledged product was created.
That said, even Facebook won't automatically be a key player in this space. For video, they're up against stiff and established competition: YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, to name a few.
In order for Facebook to truly compete with these other behemoths, they'll have to do a few things first.
1. Adequately compensate content creators. One of the many reasons YouTube's original content is second-to-none is because a simple, yet often overlooked, concept: they pay their creators.
By enabling top YouTubers to afford to buy houses as a result of their content, YouTube sets the precedent that they take care of their creators. By compensating their influencers, YouTube also increases the number of aspiring creators on their platform because they have something to shoot for. Competition and compensation create quality. Plain and simple.
Facebook has announced that creators will be receiving 55 percent of ad revenue generated on Facebook Watch videos, which is a generous sum. Yet, with the tight restrictions on which content can be monetized on Facebook, it might make some creators think twice before putting forth effort into the platform.
2. Put users in the driver's seat in terms of the videos they consume. Up to now, Facebook's approach to video has mirrored their approach to their news feed: putting content in front of you that EdgeRank feels you'll be most likely to engage with. Thus, your control is limited.
Sure, you have a choice when it comes to your 'interests' and the Pages and posts you like on Facebook, but your power essentially ends there. Videos on Facebook are automatically placed in front of you, and are automatically played.
Constant consumption may fit Facebook's model for maximizing video views and advertising dollars, but this model can cause the quality of content to quickly regress into a bunch of cat videos and wedding proposal videos.
On the other hand, what makes YouTube such a tremendous experience is the fact that you go on there knowing what to watch, giving you complete control. In order for personalized, unique content to thrive on Facebook, the user will need to be in the driver's seat... or at least not stuffed in the trunk.
3. Consider making an entirely separate app for Facebook Watch. To many younger folks, Facebook has become the platform where our uncles and grandparents are active on, so it isn't the sexiest platform out there right now. A standalone app may create 'artificial distance' from Facebook's primary app in the consumer's mind, which could increase engagement.
What this means for entrepreneurs.
1. There is a massive opportunity for creating video content on Facebook. Begin experimenting with video on Facebook to get a feel for it. See if it works for your brand. If you create original, valuable content that your audience actually wants to consume (as in, not only cat videos), you just might find yourself getting immense traction on Facebook.
2. You might not have to start that YouTube channel, after all. If Facebook continues to double-down on video, you may not need to use YouTube as the primary platform to host your brand's videos.
As of now, the only viable competitors to a giant like YouTube would be organizations with the financial resources and established audience to attack YouTube head on. Thus, Facebook is in an ideal position to shake things up a bit.
3. Facebook will continue to grow more indispensable. Surprise surprise, Facebook grows stronger by the day.
When it comes to social media marketing, the days of not investing heavily into Facebook are numbered, and video will make them end even quicker. With power moves like these, Facebook is firmly positioning itself as not only essential, but as absolutely necessary for companies of all sizes.
Because of this, be sure to completely fill out your Facebook business profile and stay active on Facebook. If you want to learn more about the key ingredients to succeeding on Facebook, check out this article I wrote back in July on the subject.