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Facebook adds video search to combat original content sharing decline

TechCrunch TechCrunch 7/04/2016 Josh Constine

Facebook is desperate to get you to watch original videos. They’re all over the feed, yesterday it launched a dedicated video browsing hub, and now it’s announcing a video search engine. It’s also baking Live videos into its Trends in search, and will show when there’s a Live video broadcasting related to one of its Trending Topics on the home page.

Over the past few months, Facebook has been subtly prompting Pages to tag their videos with keywords like “robotics” or “recipe”. Now when someone punches these keywords into the new video search, they’ll discover clips tagged with them. Video search could open up an advertising opportunity for Facebook if lets companies pay to show their clips at the top results.

Driving audience to videos, especially Live videos is critical for Facebook because The Information reports that its experiencing a decline in original, personal sharing. Apparently “original content broadcasting” was down 21% year over year as of mid-2015. Video and Live seem to have helped, but as of this year, original broadcast sharing was down 15% year over year.

While people are sharing plenty of news, they’re posting less photos and status updates about their own lives. Those posts are what make Facebook friendly and irreplaceable, rather than just another channel for discovering generic web content. But the rise of Snapchat may be stealing some of this more personal content. The decline was especially pronounced amongst users under 30.

If Facebook can prove original video content gets a big audience, people might be more likely to share on its social network. That creates more content it can use to drive eyeballs to ads, and deduce personal information from to target those ads.

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