A battle royale may be brewing between two internet juggernauts over video. Facebook said it is introducing new YouTube-like features in an apparent effort to capture more of the video market.
Starting today, Facebook users can now see how many views a video has received on the site once it has been uploaded to the social networking site. This is something that’s been part of YouTube’s service for years. Facebook says its is to help users discover new, popular videos.
Facebook is also testing a feature on mobile that displays related videos after users finish watching a clip. This feature has also been on YouTube for a long time. In addition, Facebook also has future plans to allow users to embed Facebook videos on third-party sites.
Facebook vs YouTube – Which Gets More Views?
I did an experiment today to compare YouTube with Facebook videos.
I posted a still-shot from a YouTube video and included the link to the video this morning. After 5 hours, the post had only reached 9 people, and the video itself had been viewed by four people!
During the afternoon, I uploaded the same video to Facebook, and as you can see in the image below – the reach and engagement were noticeably higher.
The story is much the same on mobile too. As of 5 pm ET, the YouTube post had been viewed by 11 people, while the Facebook video post had been viewed by 70 people.
I’m not the only one to discover that Facebook videos get more engagement. SocialBakers did a study last year and found that Facebook videos got a 40% higher engagement rate than You Tube videos. It makes sense actually. Facebook wants people to use their service!
What does this mean for the average small business owner?
If you’re pursuing a video marketing strategy (an excellent idea!), I’m afraid it means a little more work. If you want to reach your followers on Facebook, and engage new prospects, upload your videos directly to Facebook. And then upload your videos to YouTube to share on Google+ and Twitter and embed on your website.
Facebook has been increasing its focus on videos over the past year, introducing auto-play videos (which drives some people crazy, since it can use up a lot of data on mobile phones), and a call-to-action button for videos. This feature allows viewers to go to an external website. This is handy for advertisers, since they use their videos to sell their products directly. Facebook has also altered how videos are treated in the news feed, serving up more videos to those who watch the videos, and less to those who skip over them.
Facebook Fans Share Video Love
It’s going to be interesting to see how this rivalry plays out. Facebook may turn out to be a better platform for video, depending on your audience. As an example, CNBC reported that last Friday, Beyoncé posted a video on Facebook and YouTube that took her fans behind the scenes to see the preparations for her live performance last month at the MTV Video Music Awards.
In the first four hours, Facebook users watched the video 2.4 million times. On YouTube, the four-minute clip garnered just a few thousand views during that time. Why the difference? The singer’s fans spotted the video in their newsfeed and shared it with their Facebook friends. Those who saw it on YouTube didn’t have an easy way to share.
Facebook has 1.3 billion monthly users worldwide, and is serving up a billion video views a day – mostly from mobile devices. Facebook users are uploading 100 million videos a month to the social networking site. That’s still only a fraction of YouTube’s traffic, but according to CNBC, it is still up significantly from a few months ago.
What platform will you use for video marketing? Facebook, YouTube or both? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you liked this article, please spread the word, using the social sharing buttons on your left.