Video is key, Facebook says as Instagram Stories, WhatsApp post big growth

Facebook
Video will continue to be a focus for Facebook as the company’s various platforms continue to grow in numbers. According to Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, the video-focused Instagram Stories feature as well as WhatsApp now have 300 million users active on the platform every day, while Facebook has reached 2.1 billion monthly users and 1.4 billion daily users. Facebook video will be a focus for the next three years, while the company also plans on expanding business tools for Messenger and Marketplace options, while also adding new artificial intelligence tools.

Unlike publicly sharing a video on Instagram, Stories is designed to share visual moments from the day with friends and followers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that video can help foster a bigger sense of community on social media. He added that interaction with friends can be time well spent, compared to just passively watching a video.

“Over the next three years, the biggest trend in our products will be the growth of video,” Zuckerberg said in a statement. “When done well, video brings us closer together. We’ve found that communities formed around video like TV shows or sports create a greater sense of belonging than many other kinds of communities. We’ve found that Live videos generate 10 times the number of interactions and comments as other videos. But too often right now, watching video is just a passive consumption experience. Time spent is not a goal by itself. We want the time people spend on Facebook to encourage meaningful social interactions. So we’re going to focus our products on all the ways to build community around the video that people share and watch. That’s something Facebook can uniquely do.”

Besides just sharing a video, Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp all now have Stories or a similar tool. Snapchat was the first to launch a Stories feature, which strings together short video clips or images and automatically deletes them at the end of the day to start fresh. With the latest numbers, Instagram’s variation is now almost twice the size of Snapchat’s entire daily active user base of 173 million.

Along with Stories, Facebook’s new Watch Tab is designed to encourage the growth of video, along with recent expansions of options for recording live video. Facebook is also testing support for 4K videos.

The quarterly numbers show an increase of 50 million active daily users for both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp from the summer. Instagram has a total user base of more than 500 million that use the platform every day, and the latest numbers mean that more than half of those users are sharing inside Stories. Facebook didn’t share user numbers for the Stories feature on Facebook, but cross-posting Stories from Instagram is now possible.

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