What Marketers Need to Know About the Changes Coming to Facebook and YouTube. In the past week, Facebook and YouTube have both announced some changes to their video advertising formats. As video marketers know, videos in the News Feed have played silently up to now — unless a user tapped on a video to hear the sound. So, Facebook has decided – after testing sound on in its News Feed and “hearing positive feedback” – to carefully follow in Snapchat’s footsteps and slowly bring sound to more people, as well. And 85% of these Facebook users currently watch videos with the sound off. But, video marketers should still watch this particular change like a hawk, because sound may not be welcomed by as many Facebook users as advertisers would like. A Google spokesman added that YouTube will “focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers.” Now, the 30-second unskippable ads were popular with advertisers. So, apparently this format didn’t work for YouTube users, who have apparently come to expect the ability to choose which video ads they want to watch – which is what TrueView video ads gave them seven years ago. But, video marketers should recognize that YouTube appears to be giving its users want while Facebook is testing the limits of what its advertisers would like to have. That makes the changes to Facebook and YouTube’s video advertising formats well worth watching – even if we won’t know the outcome until next year.
In the past week, Facebook and YouTube have both announced some changes to their video advertising formats. Now, a couple of years ago, I would have channeled Star Trek’s Commander Leonard “Bones” McCoy, M.D. and started this column by ranting, “I know engineers, they LOVE to change things.” But, it’s hard to get worked up when both video platforms announced that the changes they were talking about won’t take place until later this year or next year. Hey, I know video marketers, too. They HATE to change things. But, with that kind of advanced warning, who can really complain?
So, what are these changes? And why did Facebook, whose mantra for developers has long been “move fast and break things,” and YouTube, which changes at a rate of 33% a year, decide to alert us to these alterations in their video advertising formats several months in advance?
New Ways to Watch Facebook Video
On Feb. 14, 2017, Facebook announced four news ways to watch Facebook video. The biggest change involves bringing sound to videos in the News Feed between now and the end of the year. As video marketers know, videos in the News Feed have played silently up to now — unless a user tapped on a video to hear the sound. But, as younger people have been watching more Snapchat videos on their smartphones, they’ve apparently come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. Who knew?
So, Facebook has decided – after testing sound on in its News Feed and “hearing positive feedback” – to carefully follow in Snapchat’s footsteps and slowly bring sound to more people, as well. When this update rolls out, sound will fade in and out as Facebook users scroll through videos in their News Feed.
Now, if your smartphone is set to silent, then Facebook videos won’t play with sound. And, if you never want videos to play with sound, then you can disable this feature by switching off “Videos in News Feed Start with Sound” in Settings. Facebook also says it will be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.
In other news, Facebook also announced changes to make vertical videos look better on mobile devices. It made it possible to minimize the video you’re watching to a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of your screen while you browse other stories in News Feed. And it announced a new Facebook video app for TV. But, these changes are less likely to ruffle anyone’s feathers.
Now, I had lunch in New York City last week…