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Facebook Gets Eight Billion Video Views Per Day -- Now What?

Facebook is still working on turning its video machine into a video business.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Facebook is no stranger to big numbers. So when the company announced Wednesday that it gets eight billion video views per day, roughly double what it got just six months ago, it was impressive, but not surprising.

That’s because Facebook has been barreling into video for over a year, using things like autoplay and its News Feed algorithm to keep the video content flowing. It recently started a revenue-share program with certain content creators in hopes they’d share more high-quality video to the platform. It’s even trying to replicate video content with slideshows in emerging markets where connectivity issues can keep traditional video from loading.

That’s a long way of saying that Facebook has bet big on video, and that bet is paying off, at least in terms of user interest. So what happens next?

Well, a few things. For starters, the video push is an increasingly important signal to publishers fighting to remain successful on Facebook. The company’s News Feed algorithm can make or break a publisher’s traffic. If Facebook is signaling that video is important — and it is, loudly — you better believe publishers that want to remain relevant on Facebook will be creating more video content as a result.

Facebook will also need to entice some premium video creators, which is what it is starting to do by sharing revenue. “There’s a certain class of content which is only going to come onto Facebook if there’s a good way to compensate the content owners for that,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s earnings call Wednesday. For context, YouTube also compensates some creators.

Those steps involve getting more content onto Facebook, which is important for the third step: Serving more video ads. The company doesn’t break out video ad revenue, but it continues to argue that its video ads — which are typically more lucrative than other ad types — offer better targeting than anything else out there. It is trying to convince TV advertisers to spend on Facebook instead. Offering up premium content to advertise against is a pretty good way to do that.

Still, Facebook has more work to do if it truly wants TV advertisers to migrate. For example, it still can’t (or at least won’t publicly) demonstrate how well its video ads compare to TV ads. So while eight billion views is a big number, it’s a lot more bark than bite. At least right now.

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