The wait time may be over – for Facebook videos, that is.
The social media giant is testing Instant Videos, and we’ve gathered all the information you need below.
Following the release of its new Watch tab, which provides users with original video content, Facebook is now turning to Instant Videos.
Rather than taking up precious bandwidth, the new feature downloads and caches videos right to users’ phones.
The service works while connected to wifi, allowing the video to be seen later. A lightning bolt icon will signal a pre-loaded video.
Facebook’s Instant History
The new feature is similar to Instant Articles, Facebook’s hosted content format that loads much faster than mobile websites and saves users valuable time waiting for a separate web app to load.
TechCrunch points out that while Instant Articles “has mostly focused on the speed and convenience of reading news on Facebook, Instant Video focuses on cost and accessibility.”
It will be especially relevant in countries where not everyone has access to data plans, or plans are very slow or expensive.
Facebook’s Video Evolution
Facebook has focused heavily on video over the past few years, with its recent announcement of up to $1 billion dollar budget for original content and debut of the Watch tab.
The site’s video use has come a long way, from its first live streaming efforts to rival Periscope and Meerkat (remember them?) to its foray into original content and programming.
Reportedly, online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020, and over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook every day. (Buffer)
Not only that, but 51% of all plays are mobile, an increase of 15% from a year ago and 203% from 2014 (Ooyala 2016), making Facebook’s Instant Video format even more relevant.
Effects of Instant Videos
While still in its beginning phases and only available to a small percentage of Android users, Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that the goal is to “remove data costs as a barrier to watching its videos.”
It will likely benefit the new Watch tab, allowing users to watch videos while commuting or simply in a wifi-free zone.
But its effects could be more far-reaching than that.
More videos could present more opportunities for advertisers and would allow brands more freedom to advertise in the video format.
Eventually, Instant Videos could include short ad breaks (much like the ad breaks video creators are already allowed to insert into their videos).
Not only would this be beneficial to brands and advertisers, but Facebook itself would benefit from the additional ad revenue.
It remains to be seen when – or if – a broader rollout of Instant Video will occur. For now, it’s still limited to the select few.