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Close-up of a hand holding a smartphone: Facebook Watch

How Facebook Watch May Impact (and Improve) Your Media Plans

March 8th, 2018   ||    by Melanie Brown

Defining “television” has become more difficult over the years. It seems that as soon as we accept something as TV—and reckon with its impact on the media industry at large—something new crops up that we’ve never seen before.

The trend in TV, especially as it pertains to younger audiences, has been to move away from traditional linear and toward mobile and streaming.

Something New to “Like”

Facebook is just the latest in what will surely be a long history of platforms and content sources wading into the television waters. The new Facebook Watch platform launched in August 2017. The feature could have significant implications for multiple players in the industry, according to Business Insider.

Adding to the ranks of ad-supported streaming content, the platform could become a vibrant channel for engaged video audiences. Social media has proven itself to be integral to any media plan, especially with the rise of video content, and the widening of its scope to include long-form video is an exciting next step for TV and video planners.

The platform includes features that allow users to create watch lists, as well as see which videos are trending and which videos friends are watching—turning the conversation about TV into part of the viewing experience.

Trending for Sure

Facebook is not the first social media giant to dip its toes into the waters of streaming content. Snapchat introduced Snapchat Shows in 2017, according to Variety, pulling in content creators from the likes of Fox, A&E, and BBC, among others, to produce platform-specific short-form content. Twitter also launched its streaming content player last year, which spearheaded its first-ever profitable quarter, as Mashable reported.

What is part of the reason for social media’s success? It is customized for every individual user. When everything users see is tailored to their interests, it makes them highly engaged with the content they’re consuming—which in turn makes them the most valuable audience for advertisers who want to ensure their messages get across to the right people.

The new Facebook Watch tab allows TV buyers to leverage this engagement for their brand advertisers. In a video landscape that’s fragmented (to a degree that would be beyond recognition to the original pioneers of television), the fact that an audience is engaged with what it’s watching—and engaged with the platform itself—is crucial.

Finding the Hard-to-Find

For buyers who are now regularly being asked to purchase audiences rather than programs, Facebook Watch is a veritable gold mine of opportunity. With Facebook’s already data-rich targeting capabilities, the tab gives buyers a venue for finely tuned targeted TV advertising.

Additionally, the inclusion of live comment and conversation streams that gauge the level of engagement from the audience opens up a new opportunity for campaign measurement and attribution.

A game-changer in the TV and streaming space is the fact that Facebook Watch pulls in the YouTube crowd. According to Business Insider, 40 percent of Facebook Watch viewers are in the 16–34 age bracket. For TV advertisers, that age group has been increasingly difficult to reach in recent years. As opposed to the streaming offerings from Snapchat and Twitter, Facebook Watch focuses on long-form content that provides more exposure to younger audiences.

Facebook has substantially invested in the curation of exclusive rights to premium content from professional creators, so this new inventory stream could quickly become a must-have for media buyers and planners. As viewers flock to new video content on social, the TV industry should be sure to “watch” this space closely.

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