Facebook wants you watching videos. If you already do, it wants you watching more.
The social network is testing a new “related videos” feature that surfaces similar, popular videos after you finish watching one in your mobile News Feed.
Similar to what you might see on YouTube, once a video is done playing in News Feed, you will have the option to re-watch that video, or select a different, related video from a sampling provided by Facebook. The feature, which is only available to a small group of test users on iOS and Android devices, was first reported by TechCrunch.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the new feature, but didn’t elaborate on when it will be more widely available. “This is a new feature we are testing on mobile to help people find more videos they might be interested in,” the spokesperson told Mashable.
Video content has been a major focus for Facebook this summer. Late last month, the social network tweaked its News Feed algorithm to surface higher-quality videos by analyzing how long users actually watch each video, not just if they Like it or comment on the post. The goal is to better identify what videos perform well, and more importantly, which users are avid video consumers.
Earlier in the month, Facebook announced that users who regularly watch videos on the platform will see even more videos in their News Feed. Again, the strategy is to identify which users like videos, while simultaneously providing them more of what they enjoy.
This focus on videos is not coincidental. Facebook is in the beginning stages ofimplementing in-feed video advertisements, and this type of information will help the social network identify the portion of its user base most receptive to video content (i.e. video ads).
Finding the users who like video will be key in giving advertisers the results they want, while keeping users who don’t like videos from seeing content they aren’t interested in.
The recommended-video feature Facebook is testing may also be a way to surface sponsored video content. Once you finish watching a video uploaded by your friend, for example, Facebook could potentially recommend that you watch another video sponsored by a brand or advertiser.
From what we’ve seen and heard, the suggested videos appear to be user-generated. At least for now.