As more brands expand their use of video content in their digital marketing strategies, Facebook continues to dial in on YouTube’s position as the dominant platform for video uploads and sharing.
With its Facebook Video, the social media giant allows individuals and brands to upload video content directly to the site—rather than using a third-party platform like YouTube or Vimeo. Because Facebook’s search algorithm favors videos and is built for sharing, this has opened up new opportunities for brands aiming to get their video content in front of as many viewers as possible.
Why Facebook video?
Facebook’s 1.65 billion registered users outpaces YouTube’s roughly 1 billion, and Facebook also benefits from the fact that most of its users log into the site on a daily basis. That’s not necessarily true for YouTube users, who tend to primarily use the site when they want to watch specific videos.
Facebook users also tend to participate in groups and have friends who share similar interests and tastes, allowing for a wider—yet more targeted—distribution of content. Additionally, when users share their videos, the content is seen by people who were not necessarily looking for a video. The content comes to the user, and thus the distribution is nearly automated.
One common complaint against YouTube is that it has become too crowded with videos—and that its interface is not as conducive to sharing. Facebook also allows brands to pay very small fees to have their videos “suggested” to users.
In a recent effort to attract more video content, Facebook is sharing ad revenue with brands—and is even paying some directly to produce original content.
The long term
The number of Facebook Video users has been on the rise recently. Video posts get shared about four times more often than photos. And with Facebook Live, which allows users to share live footage, view counts are even higher.
It’s worth noting that generally, users do not seem to be viewing videos on Facebook the same way they do on YouTube. They tend not to seek out videos to watch—a majority of views are on videos that show up in their news feeds.
Facebook also counts views differently than YouTube, which some believe is leading to inflated numbers.
Will Facebook eventually replace YouTube as the primary source for video sharing on the web? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure: Facebook has opened up new opportunities for marketers wishing to share video content with a wider audience.