Move over, Instagram vs. Snapchat. The fight is on between Facebook and YouTube.

Facebook announced Tuesday that it’s bringing new poll and game features to Live and on demand video for Facebook creators. With this new emphasis on interactivity, and with game tools that sound *a lot* like HQ, the gamification of video seems to be Facebook’s latest play in the battle for teen eyeballs — a competition that it has been steadily losing in recent years to YouTube.

Facebook launched its Facebook for Creators website and app in November 2017. Today’s tools mark an expansion of its offerings for fledgling Facebook *Stars*.

Facebook will make the new tools available to select creators and publishers. Polling will come to both Live and on demand video (which is just regular Facebook video). It will include a few question formats, like “either/or” or “two truths and a lie.” 

A “gameplay” tool that enables the creation of, say, a live trivia show with a cash prize, will only be available on Live. And at least three new game shows enabled by the gameplay tool are coming to Facebook Watch in the coming weeks.

When HQ launched in 2017, a lot of people lauded the app as the “future of entertainment.” Now, the HQ-mania has died down (as Mashable predicted). But with a Watch trivia show launching called ‘Confetti by INSIDER,’ as well as gaming capabilities debuting more broadly for Watch creators, Facebook seems to believe the trend has legs.

The game and poll features debuted along with new business tools, too. Facebook unveiled profile settings that allow creators to put their video content front and center, and more ways to monetize and grow their presence on Facebook. That includes a “Brands Collabs Manager” (yes, ‘collabs’), which will help brands discover Facebook creators in order to establish “partnerships” with them. It will roll out ad breaks and paid fan subscriptions more widely. And, it announced the creation of a program it’s calling the Facebook for Creators Launchpad. It’s an application only creator incubator, which sounds a lot like YouTube’s ‘NextUp’ and Snap’s ‘Yellow.’ 

Don't call it a "collaboration."

Don’t call it a “collaboration.”


YouTubers can also create polls in videos, using the cards tool. But typically, they don’t look as cute as Facebook’s new offerings. (Cuteness: also v. important to the teens).

Facebook may be playing catchup to YouTube in the video creator department, but polls and the ability to launch a fully-fledged game show make video production on Facebook more dynamic. That, along with the business tools, could give Facebook an edge when creators are choosing between investing in and growing communities on Facebook or YouTube. And that’s a consumer choice Facebook is very much invested in winning.

According to a 2018 Pew study, Facebook is losing shares of the teen market faster than ever. Today, 51 percent of teenagers say they use Facebook, down from 71 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, YouTube is the most popular platform among 13 – 17 year olds: 85 percent of teenagers say they use YouTube, and 32 percent say it is the platform they use the most often.

Facebook is losing teens' love to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Facebook is losing teens’ love to YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

With teens proving, through the attention they’re lavishing upon YouTube, that they love the personalized, quirky interactivity of YouTubers, it’s no surprise that Facebook is going after that share of the market. Copycating Snapchat worked to make Instagram the platform of choice for stories and direct messages. So perhaps a shift to more produced — but still personal — video on Facebook can help Facebook capture the other half of the teenage content equation. 

Maybe, YouTube creator-like video will be more insulated from Facebook’s mom demographic, too, since adults have less interest (and plainly, don’t really get) creator fandom. That could go a long way to bringing teens back to Facebook. 

Though we expect Facebook will have to do a lot more to bring the Cool Teens back into the fold.

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