Facebook has revealed an array of updates, which it hopes will make watching video on the social media network richer, more engaging and more flexible.
Up until now, videos in Facebook’s news feed had played silently with users having to tap on the video to hear the audio.
Facebook believe that with more and more users watching videos of their phones those users increasingly expect to hear the sound when the volume on their phone is turned on.
Dana Sittler, Facebook product manager, said: “After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.”
If a user’s phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound, though. And auto-play audio can be disabled altogether by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” in Settings.
Facebook has also made changes in an effort to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices.
“Last year we began testing a larger preview of vertical videos in News Feed on mobile,” said Sittler. “People responded positively, so that larger format is now available to everyone watching videos on iOS and Android.”
Watch while you scroll
We know that sometimes you want to watch a video and also want to keep scrolling through your News Feed. It’s now
Facebook has also made it possible to minimise the video a user is watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of their screen while browsing other stories in News Feed. The video can be dragged to any corner of the screen, and if an Android device is being used, the user can keep the video playing even when they exit the Facebook app to do something else on their phone.
Facebook Video App for TV
Facebook is also trying offer more options for how and where users can watch Facebook videos with the introduction of the Facebook video app for TV. This is due to roll out soon to app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with more platforms to come.
Sittler explained: “Our video app for TV is a new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen. Last year we rolled out the ability for you to stream videos from Facebook to your TV, and today’s announcement expands this capability. With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or Pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommended videos based on your interests. You can also catch up on videos you’ve saved to watch later, as well as revisit videos you’ve watched, shared or uploaded.”
Mick Entwisle, CEO and co-Founder of video production firm Genero, belives the latest updates are great news for brands.
He said that with four in five internet users (78%) now watching short video clips online, there has been a clear shift to mobile. There is, therefore, a need for brands to produce short and engaging video content if they are going to have any visibility at all on platforms like Facebook, which are moving to being almost all video, he explained.
He added: “Brands also then need to ensure the video they’re producing is fit for feed, fit for device and targeted to each specific audience, to achieve cut through in an ever-crowded news feed, with more and more video. It’s clear that this will require much larger volumes of bespoke, creative video content that audiences want to watch.
“To achieve this, brands need to adopt an agile creative and video production process or they’re going to miss out on the huge opportunity this shift to video offers, especially to brands that can adapt quickly and implement an innovative video strategy now.”