As Facebook increasingly becomes a place for people to consumer video and editorial content, the company is placing a priority on public content, according to COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Sandberg said Facebook is not very focused on premium content. “We think of premium as long-form content that someone is paying a subscription or paying a fee to play,” she said. “That’s not what Facebook does. We’re very focused on public content.”
She pointed out that the Facebook News Feed has expanded from included relevant posts from friends and family into a place where people can also find editorial content. ‘It’s part of a big shift we all made from being observers to participants,” she said, noting that 65 million people discussed the Super Bowl on the social network, more than half the 114.5 million people who watched the game on NBC.
Sandberg also noted that Facebook is becoming a place where users make news. Jeb Bush, for example, announced that he was exploring a 2016 presidential run on Facebook. Sandberg said this showcases that public figures want to have a more direct relationship with their audience.
Video has also become key to Facebook’s strategy. The social network, which recently began emphasizing its native video player with publishers, has added a view counter to its video player and began auto playing all videos last year in an effort to drive increased viewership. And it’s working. The company announced in January that it sees 3 billion video views a day, up from 1 billion last summer.
“This is the power of mobile phones,” Sandberg explained, noting that as video capabilities on smart phones has improved, so has consumption of video content. She added that Facebook’s native video player has allowed the social network to place video ads in the NewsFeed that don’t feel out of place.
Facebook CFO Dave Wehner, who was on stage with Sandberg, spent some time explaining the company’s plans for Instagram, the photo-based social network that Facebook acquired in 2012. “I’m not sure Instagram gets its due for how big it is,” he said, noting that it has 300 million users. “We continue to evolve and invest in that product, both in terms of making it a better engaging experience, growing the user base and working on the monetization side.”
March 2, 12:54 p.m. Updated to clarify Facebook’s video strategy.