Facebook Unveils Tools, Metrics to Improve Video Production

Not long ago, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg predicted that video would be the dominant means of communication on the social platform. To give that goal a leg up, the company unveiled tools to help video creators improve the odds of engaging audiences. The video analytics include the ability to break down minutes of a video view by age, gender and geographic location. Facebook also introduced tools to help creators tell stories with 360 videos, by enabling a “guide” of story points that viewers can opt to follow.

ZDNet described the new tools that “should help publishers effectively tailor their content to their audience.”

“When people discover videos that are personally relevant to them, they tend to watch those videos longer,” said product manager Anaid Gomez-Ortigoza. New tools let video creators know “how aggregate audiences engaged during specific moments of a video,” including “when people were compelled to comment on, react to, or share the video.” About 48 percent of video watch time on Facebook, says ZDNet, comes from shares.

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TechCrunch focuses in on the tools provided for creators of 360 videos, which so far number 250,000 on Facebook. One new tool is Guide, a feature that lets creators “set a default path for the viewing window to move through in order to create a lean-back experience.” The video creator simply selects points in the video he or she wants viewers to see, and “the viewing window will default to automatically move around the 360 video sphere and focus on the selected spots.”

Viewers can opt out of the Guide to do their own exploring and then “tap the Guide button again to return to the director’s track.”

Another tool, Heatmap, gives more information about where viewers looked in a 360 video, via “a visual map” showing “the most viewed angles by measuring whenever viewers moves more than 30 degrees.” Facebook will make Heatmap available for all videos with over 50,000 unique viewers, beginning in late April. It can be found in the Video Library’s Publishing Tools.

The tools can help creators figure out what works and what doesn’t for 360 videos, still a nascent format. Although YouTube also offers 360 videos, TechCrunch believes that, by providing these tools, “Facebook is building a bigger and bigger lead in 360 social video.”