Facebook needs to follow YouTube’s lead and run TV ads for Watch

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Houston AstrosTom Pennington/Getty Images

  • 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 behavior,” 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 behavior,”
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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