What It Means Now That Facebook (FB) Is Serious About Taking on YouTube - TheStreet

SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- Facebook (FB) - Get Report provided further proof Wednesday that it aims to be a real power-player in online video, an area dominated by Google's (GOOG) - Get Report (GOOGL) - Get Report YouTube.

At the company's F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Deborah Liu, director of Facebook Platform, announced the launch of an embedded video player, meaning that all of Facebook's 1.4 billion users can finally take the videos they upload to the social network and embed them elsewhere on the web.

By going after online video, this is a huge growth area for Facebook. Digital video advertising in the U.S. is expected to increase by 30.4% in 2015 to reach $7.77 billion, according to the latest projections from eMarketer. The firm estimates that YouTube will consume 20% of those advertising dollars, or $1.55 billion in net U.S. video ad revenue.

The new feature, available to all users Wednesday, works as expected and lets users copy embed code for any the social network's publicly shared videos. "If you're posting video content on Facebook, this dramatically increases the potential reach of your content," Liu said. 

In November, 95 million Americans watched videos on Facebook from desktop computers, according to digital analytics company comScore. In one year's time, Facebook has grown this audience by 44%, while Google, which had 162.2 million unique U.S. viewers in November, lost around a percent of its audience.

By offering the video embed option, Facebook is making its service more attractive to video creators who don't want their clips locked into the social network. It's just the latest push in an agenda that would see the social network rival YouTube in viewership -- and steal away ad dollars in the process. The company has already made a concerted effort to pump more videos in News Feed that, with auto-play, are impossible to ignore.  

As a result, people are viewing 3 billion videos per day on Facebook, and the company has noticed a massive uptick in the number videos shared on the social network, Liu said.

Additionally, Facebook used the developer conference to announce the addition of applications to its hit messaging app Facebook Messenger.