Facebook Watch Videos Gaining (a Little) Traction

Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) launched its Watch feature for original video content about a month ago in the United States. The social media giant is attempting to get its 1.3 billion global users to think of Facebook as source for video content unavailable anywhere else.

According to social content and analytics firm Delmondo, Facebook Watch is catching on. In a recent analysis of 46 videos on different Watch pages, the firm found that users were spending an average of 23 seconds viewing a Watch video.

That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s more than a third more time spent that the June average of 16.7 seconds that Facebook reported for video viewing on its News Feed.

Media news site Digiday noted that time spent viewing Watch videos can easily be double or triple the amount of time spent viewing a News Feed video. That’s good news for content publishers:

Top publishers such as Attn and Condé Nast also said they’re seeing greater retention on their Watch videos, with Attn stating that their Facebook Watch episodes are getting double the retention rate of their “regular programming” on Facebook.

Facebook Watch is direct attack on Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube and, to a lesser extent, Snap Inc.’s (NYSE: SNAP) Snapchat, both of which have been experimenting with original content. YouTube Red even funds several original shows, while Snapchat is working on forging deals with TV studio partners. Facebook is trying to do both.

According to Digiday, Facebook Watch videos run between four and 20 minutes, so 23 seconds is hardly a reason to declare victory. The goal, according to one industry analyst, is to retain a viewer for at least 60% of the show’s length.

Delmondo noted that when Facebook Watch users manually choose (as with YouTube) to watch a video rather than being forced to watch an autoplay video, retention rates typically rise to 50% to 75% of the entire video. And the longer someone is glued to Facebook, the more ads the social media site can serve and the more money it makes for itself and its content publishers. A classic win-win.