Facebook vs. YouTube: The Dominant Video Platform of 2017

Our graphic for this post says it all. It’s a new year, and given the fact that we’re less than a year away from visual communications becoming 84% of all marketing communications where we distribute our videos is fundamental. Before the holidays we broke down what are the Top Video Marketing Trends of 2017 and chief among our trends were phenomena dealing with Facebook and YouTube.
Now, you’re probably wondering: what does this battle mean for me? While we’ve said that it’s important to not exclusively rely on one video platform to distribute all your video marketing content, to make sure you get the best results out of your content for the specific purpose you’re looking at, then it’s key to get a side-by-side comparison of both these video platforms. And what better way to break it down than to watch this video from Tara Hunt, a principal at Canadian social media marketing consultancy Truly Social. She also happens to be an influencer on LinkedIn and has gone through an experiment to break down the quandary that choosing Facebook or YouTube for video domination this year:
If you’ve gone ahead and watched the whole video, we’re sure that it’s going to help you make it even clearer. If not, here’s a little diagnostic reminiscent of one of those magazine quizzes that can help you make it easier. All the questions only have two answers: Yes or No

  1. Are you looking for branding?
  2. Are you interested in building your new brand?
  3. Are you looking for a great revenue share?
  4. Are you seeking great SEO integration and full access to your audience?
  5. Do you want to build your audience over time?

If you’ve answered “yes” to 1 and 2: then Facebook can better satisfy your needs. When you upload videos directly onto Facebook, you’re rewarded because Facebook prefers videos that are directly uploaded onto Facebook rather than embeds from third-party sources. If content is natively (or directly uploaded) onto Facebook, this means more people will see it. The more people who see it translates into more likes, shares, and comments.
If you’ve answered “yes” to numbers 3, 4, and 5,  you may be more inclined to YouTube. The first reason for this has to do with the percentage of ad revenue that content creators receive when a YouTube ad is played when a viewer watches a video. In YouTube‘s case, content creators keep 55% of those revenues while Google (YouTube’s parent company) holds on to the other 45%. In response to YouTube’s ad revenue sharing model, Facebook followed suit and integrated revenue share schemes to encourage more creators to upload more original content on Facebook.  So while content creators do get the majority of the revenue, the percentage received could be higher. YouTube has very good SEO, which is advantageous for those who are already using SEO as the bread and butter of their content marketing or want to establish a greater correlation. And, YouTube, gives you more capabilities to build your audience over time. Even with the vast competition, you have the potential to develop a loyal audience.
Hunt has come to the same conclusion as we have: you have to segment your audience and content across both platforms to decide which content is best served on Facebook and the same for YouTube. To us, this got us thinking that at the end of the day this is really an Apples vs. Oranges type of battle. Wait, what? How could this be possible? Well, Moz pointed out that the playing field isn’t equal when it comes to how Facebook and YouTube measure views. Facebook counts a video after only 3 seconds while YouTube doesn’t count videos until 30 seconds. This leads us to a key conclusion:

  • Facebook is for quantity while YouTube is for quality

When Moz placed Facebook and YouTube head-to-head, it found that Facebook videos earned more impressions than YouTube. If you’re looking to undertake a Facebook advertising campaign with your videos, Facebook’s CPM is much cheaper than YouTube, letting your budget go much farther in that respect than on YouTube with you getting 3 times the impressions on Facebook than on YouTube. When it comes to the amount of video watched, Facebook will come out on top when the autoplay part of Facebook videos are taken into account. But, when you take out the autoplay and mainly focus on quality, you find out that YouTube outperforms Facebook. Even Hunt’s video experiments came to the same conclusion: the views on YouTube lasted for much longer than on Facebook. When you compare one of her videos that had a completion rate of around 13% on Facebook to around 75% for YouTube, there’s no contest in the quality department.
At the beginning of 2016, Facebook took YouTube’s lead by measuring video success by the number of hours viewed (YouTube started doing this in 2012). As developments like Facebook Live and the emergence of more and more on video on our news feeds may indicate, Facebook wants to vie for the advertising dollars and the centrality that YouTube’s been able to cultivate until now. But remember, Facebook tends to favor content that’s much shorter than YouTube, and as Business Insider pointed out, Facebook also had to contend with some copyright issues.
Are you unsettled after realizing that Facebook and YouTube are complementary platforms rather than head-to-head competitors as it might have seemed at the beginning of this post? This infographic from Natcom Global gives you the details you need to know as you map out your YouTube and Facebook video strategies because, you can’t live with one and not the other if you want to have effective  online video marketing this year!

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The Top Video Marketing Trends for 2017

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