Facebook Video vs. YouTube: Which Is A Better Investment For Brands?

Senior mar­keters should weigh all the pros and cons before shift­ing a large per­cent­age of their video mar­ket­ing bud­gets from YouTube to Face­book.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 1 comment

Facebook’s Indus­try Research revealed on Jan. 7, 2015, “In just one year, the num­ber of video posts per per­son has increased 75% glob­al­ly and 94% in the US.” Evan James of Social­bak­ers observed on Jan. 8, 2015, “Face­book Video is Now Big­ger than YouTube for Brands.” And Garett Sloane of Adweek report­ed on Jan. 13, 2015, “After the Avengers: Age of Ultron teas­er aired, the full trail­er shot to more than a mil­lion views with­in the hour on Face­book.” Based on these posts and sto­ries, should senior mar­keters start shift­ing a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of their video mar­ket­ing bud­gets from YouTube to Face­book?

Before you jump on the Face­book video band­wag­on, you should weigh all the pros and cons. After you have, don’t be sur­prised if you dis­cov­er that the reports of YouTube’s death are great­ly exag­ger­at­ed.

Growth Of Video Uploads

For exam­ple, it’s true that mobile tech­nol­o­gy, which allows peo­ple to have a cam­era with them at all times to cap­ture and share videos, is dri­ving the growth of video posts on Face­book. But, this devel­op­ment is also dri­ving even faster growth of video uploads to YouTube.

Accord­ing to Face­book Inter­nal Data on con­tent cre­ation, the num­ber of video posts per per­son has increased 75 per­cent glob­al­ly in just one year. By com­par­i­son, the amount of video con­tent uploaded to YouTube glob­al­ly increased 200 per­cent from 100 hours a minute to 300 hours a minute dur­ing the same peri­od.

Direct Uploading vs. Sharing

It’s also true that brands are upload­ing more videos to Face­book direct­ly instead of shar­ing YouTube videos. So, if all your friends were going to jump off a bridge, would you jump, too?

Con­sid­er this: If you upload a video to YouTube, you can share it to Face­book, Twit­ter, Google+, Tum­blr, Pin­ter­est, and oth­er social media plat­forms. This improves your content’s dis­cov­er­abil­i­ty and can sig­nif­i­cant­ly increase your video’s “watch time,” which is YouTube’s most impor­tant rank­ing fac­tor.

If you upload a video to Face­book direct­ly, it’s much hard­er to use oth­er social media to improve your content’s dis­cov­er­abil­i­ty and any time spent watch­ing your Face­book video doesn’t do squat for your video’s rank­ing in YouTube, which is the world’s sec­ond largest search engine behind only Google.

So, if you cre­ate and upload two ver­sions of a video, one to Face­book and the oth­er to YouTube, then it actu­al­ly costs you more and hurts your YouTube rank­ing. You’re still bet­ter off shar­ing your YouTube video to your Face­book page.

Advertising & Viewability

If your brand is one of the thou­sands of adver­tis­ers using True­View in-stream ads, then stick­ing with a YouTube-first strat­e­gy isn’t crazy. With True­View video ads, you pay only when some­one choos­es to watch your ad, so you don’t waste mon­ey adver­tis­ing to peo­ple who aren’t inter­est­ed in your busi­ness.

By com­par­i­son, Pre­mi­um Video Ads on Face­book start play­ing with­out sound as peo­ple scroll past. If peo­ple tap the 15-sec­ond Face­book video ad, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start. But Pre­mi­um Video Ads on Face­book are bought based on Tar­get­ed Gross Rat­ing Points, not taps. So, you are charged even when some­one scrolls past your ad but doesn’t choose to watch it.

Accord­ing to com­Score Video Metrix, Google sites, dri­ven pri­mar­i­ly by video view­ing at YouTube, ranked as the top online video con­tent prop­er­ty in Novem­ber 2014 with 162.2 mil­lion unique view­ers in the U.S. AOL ranked sec­ond with 103.7 mil­lion view­ers, fol­lowed by Face­book with 95 mil­lion. And that’s just a com­par­i­son of the web­sites.

Recent­ly, Neal Mohan, Google’s Vice Pres­i­dent, Video & Dis­play Adver­tis­ing, announced on the Dou­bleClick Adver­tis­er Blog that “more than 30 main­stays of video adver­tis­ing – broad­cast­ers, pre­mi­um pub­lish­ers and major brands – have joined our pre­mi­um video mar­ket­place, Google Part­ner Select.” This includes: CBS Inter­ac­tive, Fox News, Dis­cov­ery, Ani­mal Plan­et, TLC, HGTV, Food Net­work, Cook­ing Chan­nel, Trav­el Chan­nel, Hearst Tele­vi­sion, Rolling Stone, Us Week­ly, Men’s Fit­ness, and PGA Tour.

He also announced that Google would be “rolling out viewa­bil­i­ty report­ing across our ad plat­forms. This will, for the first time, inform brands whether their video ads on dig­i­tal chan­nels were actu­al­ly seen or not (as opposed to, for exam­ple, appear­ing off-screen, going unwatched or being swiped past).” Face­book doesn’t offer adver­tis­ers any­thing like Google Part­ner Select or viewa­bil­i­ty report­ing across oth­er web­sites.

All Hype?

It’s true that the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” trail­er shot to more than a mil­lion views with­in the hour on Face­book. But, as Sloane’s sto­ry in Adweek not­ed, “The YouTube counter does not quite tal­ly as fast, but it was clear­ly get­ting more atten­tion on Face­book from the start. By today, how­ev­er, YouTube showed more views with 7.5 mil­lion com­pared to 5.4 mil­lion on Face­book.”

That’s why many senior mar­keters may decide to stick with a YouTube-first strat­e­gy, even if Face­book videos are becom­ing more pow­er­ful.

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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