Facebook has apparently been holding back the growth of video on its platform, even as it builds out an original content strategy around Watch. But the company is ready to take off the training wheels.
During today’s earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Watch is still well behind competitors like YouTube but that the platform’s audience has grown about 3x in the past few months in the U.S. But based on his comments today, Watch could be due for faster growth in the future.
Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook’s “journey with video has been a little bit funny.” By that, he meant that watching videos remains an extremely popular pastime on the internet but Facebook purposefully tried to limit growth of that on Facebook so it could encourage more interaction and less passive activity.
“We needed to figure out a way so that video could grow but people could also keep on interacting and doing what they tell us they uniquely want from Facebook,” said Zuckerberg. “And now I think we’re starting to work through what the formula is going to be, so we can take some of those rate limits off and let video grow at the rate that it wants to.”
Of course, the idea around growing Facebook Watch is to have another avenue for continuing to grow advertising revenue and to take more advertising share away from the television market. Facebook recently made Watch available outside of the U.S. so that should lead to increased audiences and, in turn, higher ad revenue.
While Facebook didn’t break out what percentage of its advertising revenue is coming from video ads, it did reveal substantial year over year advertising growth. The company pulled in more than $13.5 billion in advertising revenue during the third quarter, up 33% annually. Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 92% of that total.