Facebook is testing a ‘continue watching’ feature to boost video views

16th Mar 2017
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Facebook is testing a feature that prompts users to continue watching the News Feed videos that they never finished. The feature, which is currently in a testing-only phase, appears at the top of the News Feed for some users. Moreover, it appears only in the web version of Facebook and not in its mobile app.

The ‘continue watching’ feature is in the earliest stages of testing, and there is a good chance that it won’t be released to all of Facebook’s one billion plus users.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

But this step does correlate with the social media giant's push to increasing video consumption. Mark Zuckerberg has frequently touted the importance of video content in the immediate future of social media; and it is reflected in the advent of features like Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Stories, and the newer WhatsApp Status makeover.

The tech-conglomerate is trying to make video consumption easier, and more popular, for its users, which ultimately corresponds to higher revenues for the company through advertising. With the expected launch of mid-roll ads and a transition for video publishers using Facebook Live onto a revenue-sharing model (from the direct payment model that existed for the last year), the company is looking to bolster its advertising revenue which hit a $6.8 billion mark in the third quarter of 2016.

Last month, Facebook announced the release of a new app for Amazon TV, Apple TV, and Samsung Smart TV which would allow users to watch videos on their televisions, Recode reported. Zuckerberg wants Facebook to become a media company where users can watch TV shows, sport games, and high-quality content from media publications.

“The goal that we have for the product experience is to make it so that when people want to watch videos or want to keep up to date with what’s going on with their favourite show, or what’s going on with a public figure that they want to follow, that they can come to Facebook and go to a place knowing that that’s going to show them all the content that they’re interested in. That’s a pretty different intent than why people come to Facebook today. ... The experience is designed to deliver on that promise — [that] you want to watch videos, you want to keep up with the content that you watch episodically week over week. This is going to be the place where you go to do that,” Zuckerberg said about his new vision of a video-only feed within Facebook.

But Facebook's efforts to galvanise video, and hence advertising, on its platform are undermined by the revelation that the company grossly overestimated key metrics regarding video consumption by the site's users for two years. The mistake, reported by Wall Street Journal, has irked numerous marketers and ad buyers who use Facebook as their key advertising tool. The company has apologised for the error and is attempting to rectify it.

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