Watch out, YouTube—Mark Zuckerberg doubles down on video

Facebook shares soar on sales
Facebook shares soar on sales
Facebook crushes earnings
Facebook crushes earnings
Facebook trading at all-time high levels
Facebook trading at all-time high levels

With Alphabet's earnings report on the horizon, its dominant online-video platform YouTube has big shoes to fill.

Facebook just demonstrated "industry-leading growth" with a video-heavy strategy.

How people share on Facebook is evolving as the shift toward mobile continues, with more private messages, pictures and videos from smartphone cameras, and fewer words from hard-to-type-on touchscreens, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors on a Wednesday night conference call. Live video has been in the limelight of the company's strategy after its April developer conference.

"We're particularly pleased with our progress in video as we move towards a world where video is at the heart of all our services," Zuckerberg said in a statement on Wednesday night, as the company reported better-than-expected earnings.

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Given the video boost, John Blackledge, managing director and senior equity research analyst at Cowen and Company, thinks Facebook will continue to get a share of the global TV advertising market.

"We think it's pretty straightforward — 20 percent upside from here," Blackledge said of the stock on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "Facebook's beaten the last 12 quarters."

Shares of Facebook popped more than 1 percent on Thursday, even as the broader market slipped a quarter of a percent, after the company crushed Wall Street's financial estimates for the second fiscal quarter.

The social media behemoth posted earnings of 97 cents per share, adjusted, on revenues of $6.44 billion in revenue, blowing away the 82 cents per share on revenues of $6.02 billion predicted by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

"In a nutshell, we believe Facebook is the large cap company in the space that continues to demonstrate across-the-board operating beats," UBS analyst Eric Sheridan wrote, calling the growth "industry leading."

More videos could mean users spend more time, and see more ads, on the platform, Jason Helfstein, internet analyst at Oppenheimer & Co, told "Squawk on the Street."

"If you look at the revenue per time spent, or revenue per hour, that Facebook generates relative to Yahoo, AOL, you know, other companies out there, they're still under-monetizing," Helfstein said. "I know that sounds hard to believe on these types of numbers, but people are spending so much more time with Facebook, and arguably spending so much less time with these other platforms. And dollars lag time spent. So we think there's further to go."

To be sure, that requires a lot of work and some "big investments," Zuckerberg conceded during the earnings call. The company's capital expenditures grew "substantially" during the quarter as it beefed up infrastructure to support video, which is more taxing on the network, the executives said.

While the company has a "mobile monopoly" on display advertising, competition could edge in on the amount of time users spend on the platform, Rich Greenfield‎, media and tech analyst at BTIG, told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report."

"I think there is really a fear of decelerating growth in the back half of this year," Greenfield‎ said. "I think they were very clear on their call that ad load is basically hitting a wall. They really can't push that ad load any further. ... I think you have to worry that competition is going to pressure them on the engagement side as they move forward. Clearly Snapchat is having an effect."

But unlike Twitter's hail Mary push to stream live sports games, Facebook is focused on short-form content, chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said on the conference call.

"From a video perspective, they're not spending on content at this point," Blackledge said. "Their big initiative is the live streaming, which Zuckerberg talked about last night, and then of course friends and family content, and other news and sports clips."