Facebook today launched the Facebook Profile Expression Kit, which gives third-party developers a way to publish videos recorded on their apps as profile pictures on Facebook.
The service was announced at the company’s annual developer conference, f8, in San Francisco today. Videos that are recorded on third-party services can now be used as profile videos with the new tools. Details are a little sparse, but the company has a few partners already that are working with the service, including Instagram, Cinemagraph Pro and MSQRD. Boomerang by Instagram, Vine, lollicam and BeautyPlus are also included in the list.
Developers also get attribution within News Feed whenever a video from their service is posted as a profile picture, according to a blog post by the company.
Mobile video is becoming massive and is quickly taking over much of the internet. Facebook’s Chris Cox at f8 said around 70% of mobile internet is expected to be video in a few years. So it’s not surprising that Facebook would want to jump on the trend in any way it can — including giving users new ways to express themselves on Facebook through video.
Facebook allowed users to change their profile pictures to short looping videos in September last year. In theory, as mobile video continues to expand thanks to its engaging nature, it would make profile pictures even more engaging — encouraging users to interact with both profile pages and News Feed posts. That, in turn, increases overall engagement on Facebook, making it more sticky and getting people coming back to the service over and over.
That’ll be important to Facebook, which has to tackle increasing competition from other platforms that are more video-centric. Snapchat, with its focus on self-expression, is huge when it comes to video. Facebook needs tools like the Facebook Profile Expression Kit to convince users to continue to express themselves on Facebook instead of on other platforms.