An established era may be coming to a close amongst marketers: the age of YouTube exclusivity is waning as Facebook’s video player begins to snap at its heels.
It’s nowhere near to supplanting the YouTube juggernaut just yet. But a glance at trends over the last year reveals that native Facebook videos have performed surprisingly well for brands while posts from Facebook pages that feature YouTube videos have shown declining engagement. Take November, for instance: native Facebook videos (which play automatically in the news feed) accounted for 80 per cent of total interactions on the network’s video posts. YouTube and assorted other video formats between them only mustered 20 per cent.
So says new data from media analytics startup Socialbakers. And marketers are already detecting the Facebook factor. Here is Alexander Debelov, CEO of the self-service video advertising form Virool, talking to Digiday journalist Eric Blattberg (Virool has just launched a new video distribution platform on Facebook):
“A lot of our clients, especially the Fortune 500 companies, started to see a lot more engagement when they uploaded their videos directly to Facebook. Now the performance in terms of views and shares is drastically different between native Facebook video and the YouTube player on Facebook, because Facebook is optimizing for its own ecosystem.”
Socialbakers analysed 20,000 Facebook pages and the results are plain to see: brands are uploading more of their videos straight onto the social network to such an extent that Facebook page owners uploaded more videos directly onto the social networking giant than they shared on YouTube. That’s the first time that’s ever happened.
As emerging media expert Greg Hounslow points out, the big advantage Facebook holds over YouTube is that everyone has an account, but not everyone is logged into their YouTube account. As Hounslow puts it: “That’s a key piece of where Facebook’s advantage is on engagement right now.”
There’s a downside, however. A huge percentage of people drop off after a very short few seconds while their scrolling through their news feed, whereas those arriving a YouTube video are more likely to be in a dedicated video-viewing area. That, according to Hounslow, predisposes them to continue viewing ads for longer.
YouTube still has a commanding presence amongst brands, but the native Facebook video player just can’t be ignored.