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Facebook: Increasing focus on video

November 3, 2016

By Chris Forrester

Social media site Facebook surprised market analysts with above expected results “on all fronts” for Q3 according to investment bank Exane/BNP-Paribas. However, Facebook’s management, in an analysts call on November 2 said it was cautious about the company’s ad-revenue prospects this coming year.

Facebook’s headline numbers were impressive, with revenues jumping 56 per cent, topping $7 billion (€6.3bn) – and 1.3 per cent higher than consensus expectations. Same period income last year was $4.5 billion.

Overall, advertising revenue grew 59 per cent to about $6.8 billion, although Q2 saw a 63 per cent rise. However, these meteoric rises could not be expected to be maintained.  US and Canada ad-revenues grew 59 per cent, while Europe saw 62 per cent growth. Asia saw the most robust ad-growth at a thumping 64 per cent.

Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts that video was now his first priority. “People are creating and sharing more video, and we think it’s pretty clear that video is only going to become more important. So that’s why we’re prioritising putting video first across our family of apps and taking steps to make it even easier for people to express themselves in richer ways.  One way we’re putting video first is through live video on Facebook. Since May, the number of people going live at any given moment has grown by four times. And people have gone live from all seven continents and also from outer space.”

“Another recent example is Instagram Stories, which we launched in August. Instagram Stories is a lightweight way for people to share moments of their day through photos and videos that appear in a slide show format and disappear after 24 hours. Stories now has more than 100 million daily actives. We also improved the Explore tab in Instagram to include more videos and stories, and it has 100 million daily actives now as well,” he added.

“In addition to making it easy to share video, we also want to make it easier to capture video. In most social apps today, a text box is still the default way we share. Soon, we believe a camera will be the main way that we share. We’re already testing this in our main Facebook app with a version that has a camera, directly just one swipe away from News Feed, with creative effects for your photos and videos. And in Messenger, we’re testing new camera and video features. We’ll be experimenting with even more visual messaging tools over the next few months as well.”

Zuckerberg said that live video was important. “Live video represents an example of something new, which is video which is a medium for doing something that’s really interacting with other people. Whether you’re a public figure that is using it to hold a town hall or interact with a lot of people at the same time, or you’re hanging out with your friends by going live and you have 10 people who are just there with you chatting with you while you’re doing something, going about throughout your day, it’s not the kind of traditional video experience; it’s actually a more social experience.”

“I think 360 videos in another way are another example of this kind of interactive video experience, and my guess will be that we will see more different kinds of video media as time goes on. I think Stories is another example of this. We’re seeing it with Instagram Stories and with Messenger and the initial test that we have with Messenger Day, where that is another interesting format for how you can put videos together. And I think that’s going to be more and more.”

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