In 2015, Facebook became a video heavyweight.
The number of video posts per person increased by 75% globally, 8 billion Facebook video views now happen every day, and videos posted natively to that platform receive high enough engagement to basically wipe out any other form of video sharing on the network.
So what does this mean? Should you grab hold of Facebook’s hand and ditch YouTube altogether? We don’t think so – but you can use your knowledge of the two platforms to get the best performance from your video content.
You might notice that a lot of videos pop up in your newsfeed. This is because Facebook favours native video uploads over other content, and every video is set to autoplay by default. Facebook and YouTube are not friends, which means that links to YouTube videos appear like annoying adverts on timelines, with a tiny thumbnail and a thick accompanying title. Meanwhile, Facebook gives its own video content a delicious, imposing, full-post-width display.
QUALITY OR QUANTITY?
A Facebook video may receive more views than its YouTube counterpart, but this could be because it automatically counts 3 seconds of play as a ‘view’, even though it knows full well that videos are set to autoplay. As this could be seen as slightly cheating, it’s worth checking the average view duration in your video stats on both platforms – you’ll probably find that people have watched for longer on YouTube. Social engagement is higher on Facebook than YouTube, so it is a great way to get noticed and shared (especially if you’ve nailed the potent, irresistible intro), however, YouTubers are probably paying more attention. In the words of Zuckerberg himself, the platform helps people “discover content that they hadn’t really asked for”.
If you’re sharing within the world of Facebook, uploading your video seems to be the best way to get your audience watching. Native videos last year averaged an organic reach of 13.2 percent of total page likes, whilst YouTube links received 7.9 percent and Instagram 6.8 percent. A native Facebook video will receive 7 times more comments and gets shared twice as much – so for the Facebook part of your online strategy, native is the way to go.
Elsewhere, there are many reasons why YouTube should most definitely not be ignored. Thanks to its relationship with Google (Google owns it), YouTube can help your website rank in Google searches, and can provide SEO help. Embedding video content into your website also keeps visitors on the page for two minutes longer – and Google wants to know if people are enjoying their time with you, so it takes into account audience retention when deciding who gets top search result.
SO WHAT NOW?
It’s clear that a Facebook video will look its very best when posted natively rather than as a shared link from elsewhere, but please don’t think that this makes YouTube any less credible. YouTube links can still be embedded into your blog, your website and other websites; and YouTube videos are very easily integrated into Twitter. You’d hope that the big guys know what they’re doing, so keep an eye on them for guidance – Nike is uploading videos natively to Facebook, but it also has a regularly updated YouTube channel. Don’t limit your potential – nobody’s stopping you from using both.
If you’re interested in creating an online video strategy for your business, get in touch – we’d love to help.