If it’s starting to feel like every visit you make to Facebook these days is full of videos, you are not alone. Facebook today reported in a strong set of Q4 earnings that there are 3 billion videos viewed on its site each day. With the company also reporting daily active users of 890 million, this works out to more than 3 videos per day.
Facebook more specifically later noted that over 50% of people in the US who come to Facebook daily watch at least one video per day. It doesn’t break out how many of those are auto-played but did noted that over 65% of Facebook video views occur on mobile.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg pointed out in the call that while usage of Facebook has shifted over the last ten years, from primarily text through to “primarily photos with some text and video,” he may be understating things a bit.
As a point of comparison, he noted that there are 2 billion photos each day shared across Facebook sites — or, put another way, 1 billion less photos than videos posted to Facebook daily. And as a sign of just how much Facebook is pushing video growth, it was only in June 2014 that the company passed 1 billion video views per day.
“One of the big trends will be the growth of video content on our service,” Zuckerberg said in remarks about the how the service would look in three, five and 10 years.
Video is key to Facebook on more than one level.
On one hand, it’s a medium that helps keep people on the site for longer, by the very nature of the viewing experience. It’s something that Facebook has been doing well. By some estimates, it’s even driving video creators, and video views, away from YouTube, the online video leader.
Facebook said that in the last year, the number of video posts per person on Facebook increased 75% globally and 94% in the U.S. (My guess is that it will try to push more of this kind of “native” video in the future — that is, video hosted on Facebook rather than on third-party sites, either by offering more control and a better experience or better exposure in Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithm for what gets seen the most. Hosting the videos, of course, means that Facebook can monetise them better.)
On the other hand, with its close affinity with TV, online video is a honeypot for premium advertising and attracting premium brands. This is one of the big reasons why Facebook, and others like Yahoo and Aol and Twitter, have been pushing into the medium.
COO Sheryl Sandberg made the direct comparison between consumer video takeup on Facebook and how the social network is building out its video advertising business. “It’s exciting that we’ve gotten to 3 billion video views per day because it shows that consumers like video,” she noted. “That gives us an opportunity to grow our video advertising.”
“What really matters is that consumers are using videos on Facebook,” she said later, saying if they weren’t, “video ads would be very jarring.”
In the last quarter, Facebook rolled out autoplay video ads worldwide, and noted that “many clients told their stories creatively through video” but didn’t share any metrics on just how well this did.
Interestingly, while Facebook is pushing some premium content, including a new NFL feed that it announced today, it’s not putting all its eggs into the high-end basket.
“I don’t think it matters what that content is,” Sandberg said in response to a question about whether Facebook would be looking to do more deals to add more premium video content, similar to what YouTube has been doing. “We have an NFL test right now but we are already seeing explosive growth without it. We haven’t figured out what the mix needs to be.”
Facebook reported $3.6 billion in advertising sales on overall revenues of $3.85 billion but did not break out how much of that came from video advertising versus other formats.