Making good on a promise made at May’s F8 Developer Conference, Facebook rolled out its Watch Party video tool to a general audience Wednesday.
Watch Party lets multiple users watch and comment on the same video simultaneously.
The tool has been in use by a small group of beta users until now. The initial rollout, announced by Facebook Product Manager Erin Connolly in a blog post Wednesday, is in Facebook Groups. The company is currently testing the ability to use it outside of groups as well as on Pages. The videos can be live or recorded.
Marketers can use the functionality to connect and engage with multiple customers at once — and capitalize on the group’s ability to communicate with one another and the hosts. The blog post cites a number of use cases, including Q&As, behind-the-scenes or b-roll content, tips and tricks and demonstrations.
“We’ve been focused on building new ways to bring people together around video, create connections, and ignite conversations; Watch Party is the next step in bringing this vision to life,” Connolly said in her post.
The launch comes with two new features: co-hosting that allows multiple people to add videos to a Watch Party; and crowdsourcing to enable anyone in a Watch Party to suggest videos for the host to add.
Beta tests show high engagement
Connolly says that groups that have tested Watch Party have seen high engagement with “hundreds or thousands of comments.”
“There were even groups that dedicated more than 10 hours to a single Watch Party, with different members coming in and out throughout the day,” Connolly said.
Facebook is promoting the tool through a Weekend of Watch Parties this weekend. Groups participating include BuzzFeed’s Tasty Group, Physician Moms Group, Outdoor Afro and Female Travel Bloggers. The company has set up a Facebook group for those who want to know more.
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