What's driving the change? The official story is that users are sharing more video, and hence consuming more video. But the truth may be more complicated. For instance, could it be that Facebook is deliberately pushing more video through its algorithm? After all, a big reason for the delay of auto-play video ads, originally planned for 2013, was concern by Mark Zuckerberg and others that users would revolt against a sudden incursion of commercial video messaging in the news feed. Tweaking the algorithm to favor video media would be one way around that.
But Facebook says this was not a case of warming the soup kettle slowly to keep the frog inside. "News Feed is unique to each person," a spokesperson tells AdExchanger. "So if you watch a lot of videos, we’ll show you more since it’s a signal that you like videos," the representative said.
But that signal may not be as clear as Facebook would like. Since videos uploaded to Facebook play automatically, it's fair to ask how the company can be sure its users really do love seeing videos and want to see more. Could it be that many users, scrolling idly downward, are arrested by a video that plays automatically – thereby creating a false signal that tells Facebook's algorithms to serve more video? The human brain is wired for motion after all.
Ultimately it's an academic question. Whatever the agent of the video increase, Facebook or its users, video has increased dramatically and will likely continue to do as the platform increases as a sharing nexus for moving pictures.