- The World Series was a coming out party for YouTube TV
- If Facebook is serious about making Facebook Watch a big deal, it needs to plan a similar big TV ad effort.
- “We need to build this behaviour,” said CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
If you watched any of the riveting World Series (and based on the ratings, lots of you did), you undoubtedly saw ads for YouTube TV.
The fledgling subscription service from the makers of Google was everywhere during the series, as Fox’s presenting sponsor. It’s famed play button was ever present right behind batters (Business Insider called it “brilliant” while SB Nation called it “terrible). Either way, if you watched, you saw it.
Speaking of watching, hopefully Facebook was. Because the YouTube TV Series campaign is exactly what the social network needs to do for Facebook Watch.
Facebook is betting big on making Facebook a destination for video content that will challenge YouTube and ideally TV, and it’s funding lots of shows.
But as CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Wednesday on the company’s earnings call, while people watch tons of videos on Facebook’s news feed, that’s not necessarily why people come to Facebook in the first place. They’re mostly there to check in on what friends are doing or saying and seeing who dressed up as what for Halloween. Most don’t come in ‘video mode.’
“We need to build this behaviour,” said Zuckerberg.
And to be sure, there are Facebook Watch shows that already seem to be taking off, like “Ball in the Family.” And there’s been some recent evidence that the Facebook algorithm is pretty good at showing people things they might like (see: Putin, Vladimir).
Still, how many people even know that Facebook has a “Watch” tab, let alone that it has video series? Well, someone probably needs to tell the world that Watch exists. Advertisers call that “awareness.”
A few weeks ago, how many people knew that YouTube was in the TV business? Now they surely do. They may not be able to articulate exactly what YouTube TV offers or doesn’t (is this the one with ESPN? Does it have Bravo or not?) but they know it’s a thing. And the messaging — “cable free live TV” — was direct. If you don’t like cable, or if you’re a cord-never person, YouTube TV might be worth a look.
That might not win YouTube TV millions of subscribers overnight. But advertising at least puts the new service in people’s “consideration set” (to use more marketing talk).
If Facebook truly wants Watch to take on TV, it should seriously consider going on TV to talk about it.
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