Early data suggests that Facebook’s Watch is getting viewers to spend more time watching videos. But Facebook still has a long way to go to achieve the levels of retention that top video creators and publishers can get on YouTube.
An analysis of 46 videos on 15 different Watch pages — including pages from top publishers and video creators Facebook is paying to make shows — found the videos averaged 23 seconds in time spent, according to social video analytics company Delmondo. This is greater than the 16.7 seconds Facebook said its users spend watching a video in the Facebook News Feed, on average, in June. It’s not uncommon for average watch times on Watch videos to be double or triple that of Facebook News Feed videos, according to other data tracked by Delmondo. A little more than a month old, Watch already offers hundreds of shows, each with its own page.
Top publishers such as Attn and Condé Nast also said they’re seeing greater retention on their Watch videos, with Attn stating that their Facebook Watch episodes are getting double the retention rate of their “regular programming” on Facebook.
“That’s because we have noticed our audience has developed an increasing appetite for longer-form content,” said Martha Pierce, head of audience for Attn, which has rolled out two shows on Watch — “Health Hacks” with Jessica Alba and “We Need to Talk” — so far.
Watch is Facebook’s biggest attempt yet to create a YouTube-like video experience on its platform. Facebook wants people to visit Facebook more often and spend a longer amount of time on the platform. So it’s incentivizing publishers, celebrities and top YouTube personalities by funding original episodic shows and algorithmically favoring longer videos within the News Feed.
“Many individual videos are being watched with an average watch time of one minute or one and a half minutes,” said Nick Cicero, CEO of Delmondo. “These are videos that are modeled after YouTube. Right from the get-go, [Watch is] trying to put people into a mentality for watching longer videos. There’s an intent by publishers and creators to make great stories that can last longer and capture attention spans for a longer period of time. So, there’s a natural growth in watch time.”