The Video Wars: YouTube vs. Facebook
In many ways, YouTube’s dominance in the online video space familiarly echoes Apple’s historic dominance in the downloads market – plenty wish to compete given such an obvious demand, but few companies are capable of taking on such a behemoth. Times have changed.
It’s been a long time coming, but YouTube finally faces its first direct competitor in the form of a big, blue lowercase “f”.
Tech companies have grown smarter and today realize the importance of owning their users and continually evolving their products to meet the modern demands and user expectations of today. In 2015, no one is better positioned to own a significant chunk of the online video space than Facebook.
Facebook began rolling out native videos to users’ news feeds allowing for videos to auto-play right in front of them without clicking a button (only for sound). The strategy was to have users rely on Facebook as their go-to video upload destination since they had already amassed an audience of friends and followers. Facebook was smart to build upon the social component first and the video component later, since after all, what good is video content if there’s no one there to witness it? While YouTube videos were only a click away on a news feed, why go through barriers to access when the content is most easily consumed right there?
Facebook’s strategy is proving to be working.
According to Facebook, the number of video posts per user has increased 75% year-over-year globally and 94% in the US. Total global growth in Facebook video is 360% when brands and advertisers are taken into account. Facebook also claims that more than 1 billion video views occur on its platform daily, and on average more than 50% of people who visit Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video.
In contrast, YouTube saw its unique desktop video views decline by 9% year-over-year in September. We’ve seen outstanding video views on Facebook compared to YouTube for many of our clients’ videos, but remember that Facebook’s auto-play function has a lot to do with this.
What are some ways to ensure your Facebook native videos perform well?
Here are a few suggestions direct from the company:
Be conscious that people will most likely discover your video in the News Feed adjacent to a photo from a friend or a status update from a relative. Your video needs to fit in, and it needs to be something that your audience will want to watch and share.
With the launch of auto-play and the surge in mobile use, it’s also important to focus on posting videos that grab people from the first frame of video.
Shorter, timely video content tends to do well in News Feed. Keep in mind that auto-play videos play silently in News Feed until someone taps to hear sound, so videos that catch people’s attention visually — even without sound — often find the most success.