In a move similar to that of "Instant Articles", Facebook is currently testing a new feature called "Instant Videos". Instant Videos work by downloading and caching Facebook videos from your newsfeed onto your device while the user is on WiFi, thereby allowing playback of the videos later when on the go, without the hassle of a network connection, speeds or data usage charges of mobile networks.
The feature seeks to boost user engagement with regard to videos on Facebook, and just like Instant Articles, publishers will be expected to distribute their video clips on the website so as to ensure increase in views and interaction occurring as a result of the feature.
A screenshot of it in action was first shared by Matt Navara of TheNextWeb, and Facebook further confirmed to TechCrunch that the Instant Video test is currently available to a small portion of its Android user base. From the screenshot provided, Facebook will mark the videos which can be played without mobile data with a lightning bolt icon.
That Facebook has grand ambitions for videos on its platform is no secret. A recent announcement of Facebook TV with a focus on original programs, a dedicated watch tab for users to find videos, and the Instant Video feature, all show that the social network is willing to play the long game in a heated battle for viewers of online videos.
According to TechCrunch, the social media site is beginning to allow for the insertion of video ad breaks into the clips by both publishers and creators alike. Moreover, the revenue generated from the advertisements will be split accordingly, with 55 percent going to the publisher/creator and 45 percent going to Facebook. Also, the adoption of Instant Videos en masse will mean more growth for the social network's ad platform by attracting more advertisers and offering a variety of advertising methods.
Furthermore, it appears that Facebook is taking steps to make its videos more accessible globally, especially in developing nations which have slow or non-existent mobile-internet. If this feature catches on, it just might secure Facebook a sizeable share of the online video service among rivals such as YouTube, Snapchat, and others.
Although Facebook has acknowledged the test, it is yet to announce a date for general availability of the feature to its mobile users on various platforms.