Facebook has been trying hard to challenge YouTube for more than a year, but without much success. The social networking giant has made a fresh bid to attract original video content creators by expanding opportunities for them to make money from Facebook videos. It will allow both Facebook and content creators to make more ad revenues. Facebook also launched the Brand Collabs Manager platform to let brands to cultivate partnerships with creators.
Many advertisers have already tested the Brand Collabs Manager platform. It will allow creators to be discovered by brands for paid content collaborations. Facebook is now opening up the platform more broadly to advertisers.
Two ways to make money for creators
Until now, Facebook has offered creators limited opportunities to make money by turning viewership into revenues. Now the company will transform the Watch to include all videos and shows from creators. It means Facebook videos in the non-episode format from creators, publishers, and companies will appear along with the episodic shows in the Watch section. Facebook wants creators to gain a viewership large enough to help them sustain themselves from revenues generated on the platform.
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So, how can individual creators make money from their Facebook videos? There are two primary ways: advertising and subscriptions. Facebook’s VP of product Fidji Simo said in a statement that creators with longer content “can monetize effectively through ads.” And creators who have “super-fans or niche content” can make money directly from their loyal fans through subscriptions or digital goods.
The social networking giant has been testing a feature that will allow “super-fans” to support their favorite creators through a $4.99 per month subscription service. In exchange, the “super-fans” will get exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and a badge highlighting them as your supporter. It is expanding the feature to more creators. Facebook will not take a cut of subscriptions or brand partnerships during testing. The company hasn’t decided the fees it would charge after a broader rollout.
Of course, creators will have to adhere to certain community standards – including creating authentic content – to be eligible to monetize their videos. Facebook Watch was a hub for long-form episodic shows created mostly by traditional media and social media stars. Facebook would insert ad breaks in the episodes, and share part of the revenues with the creators. Now it will start accepting non-episodic content. A Facebook executive said the ad breaks work well in longer content.
Facebook is planning many more ways to let creators monetize their Facebook videos in the future. For instance, the company is testing how they can promote new videos as “live events,” which could become hot destinations for revenues. Content creators have also suggested that the company should add a tool to let them sell merchandise to fans. Fidji Simo said Facebook would test such a tool later this year to let creators sell third-party products featured in videos.
Will Facebook videos help it win back the teens?
Facebook has been losing its popularity among teens. According to a Pew study, only about 51% teens use Facebook, down from more than 70% in 2015. Videos could help the social network bring teens back to its platform, especially considering the smartphone video viewing is growing rapidly. According to eMarketer, an average American adult spends 24 minutes watching video content on their smartphone every day. Online videos are also attracting ad revenues from TV.
Facebook is doubling down on videos at a time YouTube has faced a backlash from advertisers. Many brands criticized YouTube after their ads appeared alongside violent and profane content. The Alphabet-owned brand has since tightened its content and revenue-sharing policies, which have hurt content creators’ income.