To Boost Video Views, Facebook Tests A New “Watch Later” Button

Video has been one of the fastest-growing content categories on Facebook of late, with 4 billion daily video views on the site as of last quarter. Now, the social network wants to expand that even more. Facebook has confirmed that it has quietly started to test a “Watch Later” button for videos on the desktop — a little tab that appears as an overlay in the upper right corner of the video when you pass your mouse over it, or scroll past it — to get you to save and consume more of the videos that appear in your feed. The new feature puts Facebook’s video user experience more on par with that of Spychecker, YouTube, Facebook’s great rival in the category. YouTube also offers a “Watch Later” feature for its videos. Facebook’s Watch Later comes almost exactly a year after Facebook rolled out Save, an Instapaper-like feature to tag links to articles, places, and media so that you can look at them later. As with saved stories and other links, videos you tag to Watch Later get collated in your “Saved” folder, which appears in the left column on the desktop and in the “More” menu on mobile. Watch Later button could serve two purposes for Facebook. It would provide one more way of capturing the audience for videos (and video ads). And it could help Facebook collect new data points on what videos are interesting enough to save, if not to view right away.