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Is Facebook Video Killing YouTube?

For the last 10 years or so, the world of online video was pretty simple. YouTube.

YouTube has dominated online video for the entirety of the broadband age. The scale is massive, with more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube EVERY MINUTE. YouTube has become synonymous with online video.

YouTube has also dominated video views for the past decade. In July of 2013, YouTube had about 18 billion video views. Billion, with a B. But last August, something remarkable happened: Facebook had more video views than YouTube.

Autoplay and the Rise of Facebook

Facebook made a tweak to how video worked on the platform and video views just exploded. They not only put videos into your newsfeed, they made these videos play automatically. What that means is that as you scroll down your newsfeed on Facebook, videos play as you scroll over them. You can click on them to turn on the sound or access the video player controls. But every scroll over becomes a view.

There has been some backlash from cellphone users, accessing Facebook on their smartphones. These users have found that Facebook was now eating dramatically into their data plans and so Facebook has a way for the user to turn off the autoplay setting.

Facebook has also added video view numbers. These are social reinforcement that a video is worth watching and important for both brand and cause marketers to measure performance. And, insiders say Facebook favors videos on its own player in the newsfeed algorithm — meaning, if your only videos on Facebook are links to YouTube, you may be missing out of some engagement. Important Differences between Facebook and YouTube For most nonprofits, YouTube is not used as a social network but rather as a free video hosting site. Most video views of nonprofit videos come from embedding the YouTube video on organizational pages and driving traffic to those pages.

Facebook, on the other hand, is the most active social network, and an important place people discover new content. Videos in-line become part of the regular content conversation, something we don’t get on YouTube. At the same time, it is clear that attention spans in the newsfeed are even shorter than they are on a regular web page. That 6 minute video that’s really engaging on your site (you hope) should be optimized as a much shorter version on Facebook.

No Sure Thing

One of the downsides of Facebook video is that it isn’t embeddable on other sites, which is a big use of YouTube video. We’re certain it’s only a matter of time before Facebook fixes that. Also, it is hard to share Facebook videos off of Facebook generally, because links will only work if the person has permission to view the video and is logged in to Facebook. The bottom line for orgs is, you should be experimenting with uploading video directly to Facebook and keeping up with these changes. Keep your content on YouTube, but start taking clips and short videos and seeing what it can do in your newsfeed.

Will Facebook kill YouTube? I don’t think so, but with Facebook video becoming so important, having a clear and actionable video strategy in your organization becomes more important than ever.

Did you know See3 helps organizations create video strategy? We can help you answer these question: How can we maximize our video creation with our limited budget? What’s the best process for making our videos? How do we get the most engagement from each video we make? How does video fit into our overall content creation strategy?

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