Taking a page out of YouTube's book, Facebook will begin telling users how many times a video appearing in their news feed has been viewed. The number of times a video has been viewed will be shown on public videos from individual people and pages.
The announcement came as part of a blog post detailing the importance Facebook is placing on video. And it's not hard to see why. In addition to the sheer volume of people regularly viewing and sharing videos via Facebook, the impact of Facebook videos is well documented by this point.
In a notable example from the summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $100 million in 30 days for research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). That was mainly a result of individuals challenging friends on Facebook and sharing more than 17 million ALS challenge videos that were viewed by more than 440 million people more than 10 billion times.
Facebook says its video views grew 50 percent from May to June. It now has on average more than billion daily video views each day. That may only be one fourth of YouTube's 4 billion daily views, which it reported in 2012, but Facebook's video views are growing at a rapid rate. And, as Chris Gayomali writes in Fast Company, Facebook has an edge over the Google-owned video giant in that it can target viewers directly on their mobile devices, while YouTube tries to figure out how best to transfer its users from the Web to mobile.
"Video on Facebook was built to be mobile first, and now more than 65% of video views are on mobile," Facebook product management director Fidji Simo says in a statement.
Since December of last year Facebook has implemented "auto-play," a feature that plays videos automatically without sound as users scroll through their news feeds, though the feature can be turned off.
Now, once users finish watching a video, Facebook will also begin showing users related videos it thinks they will want to see.
As Facebook has become an essential platform for online publishers to push content to viewers, it has added new features and metrics to let publishers know how many people have viewed and engaged with their videos as well as link to external websites viewers can visit after watching a video.
In significant examples of how important a role Facebook videos play in industries that rely on getting content in front of viewers' eyes, such as media and entertainment, Buzzfeed's Facebook video shares went up by 160 percent between June and July and 200 percent between July and August. And a Beyoncé video posted to Facebook last Friday generated 2.4 million views within the first hours of being posted as opposed to several thousand views on YouTube within the same period, The New York Times reported.