Facebook unveils new metrics, engagement tools for video

The tools should help publishers on Facebook move closer to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision of creating "a world where video is at the heart of all our services".

Facebook on Wednesday rolled out new tools to help content creators enhance and track engagement with its video audience. The tools should help publishers on Facebook move closer to CEO Mark Zuckerberg's vision of creating "a world where video is at the heart of all our services".

The new tools track video metrics like audience demographics and viewer engagement, while others help publishers improve and track engagement specifically for 360 videos.

The video metrics tools specifically allow publishers to break out the minutes of a video viewed by age, gender, and top geographic location. This should help publishers effectively tailor their content to their audience, Product Manager Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza explained: "When people discover videos that are personally relevant to them, they tend to watch those videos longer."

Additionally, the new metrics tools show publishers how aggregate audiences engaged during specific moments of a video. In other words, the tool shows when people were compelled to comment on, react to, or share the video. This is useful information, given that 48 percent of video watch time on Facebook comes from shares.

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Meanwhile, a new tool for 360 videos called Guide allows publishers to set "points of interest" within a video. Viewers who watch a "guided" video will be directed around the 360 video as it plays, bringing them to the points of interest. Another tool, Heatmap, uses a visual map to show which parts of a 360 video commanded the most attention. It's available for any 360 video posted after May 1 with more than 50,000 unique viewers.

Since Facebook rolled out 360 videos in the newsfeed in September, more than 250,000 of them have been uploaded to the social network.

During last month's earnings call, Facebook CFO David Wehner said that "video as a whole is making a significant contribution to time-spent growth".

Zuckerberg added, "The big theme and strategy that we're executing is we're going to become video first." He reiterated his company's prediction that video will dominate news feeds within five years.

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