The relationship between Facebook Native Video and YouTube has been framed several ways - an epic battle, a showdown, a duel between giants. It's also been portrayed as a mass exodus as if people were fleeing from YouTube and moving to the promised land of Facebook video. The analogies are a bit overdramatic, but they all allude to competition.
You don't have to wait for a winner to emerge before you decide where to post your video content. If you do wait, you might be the one who loses.
Facebook Video Features
The studies behind most of the hype first surfaced in late 2014. They show Facebook video views finally passed YouTube views. The fact that Facebook video is growing so quickly should be encouraging to new companies looking to expand their reach. So, how did Facebook accumulate so many views?
Studies show that Facebook videos are getting 2.5 times the amount of views as YouTube embedded videos on Facebook. It shouldn't shock anyone that Facebook is slightly biased towards showing their own videos in the news feed. Because these videos appear more in the news feed, they generate more views and provide immediate social interaction. This is one of the strong advantages that Facebook has. The closest thing YouTube.com has to a news feed is the "similar video" sidebar, which is far less interactive.
Other reasons for this increased reach is autoplay. When scrolling through a news feed, profile, or page, Facebook videos will play automatically with the sound muted. Moving images catch more attention than still images, so it's a major advantage for getting your video seen by many people. It eliminates the need to actually click play on the video - just one less step to someone will take to view your video.
Autoplay can also explain some of the inflated viewing numbers as well. People may not want to watch your video, but it will be counted as a view when it starts playing. This is just something to keep in mind while looking at these studies.
While viewing a Facebook page with both YouTube and Facebook videos, you'll immediately notice a difference. While the borders of the posts are the same size, the video window for YouTube video is much smaller. It not only has the post's text you wrote for your Facebook post, it also has the video title and description that are listed on YouTube. This takes up a lot of visual real estate.
Facebook videos will be much larger than the embedded YouTube video. It features the post's text (just like the YouTube embed) but doesn't have any links, titles, or other descriptions. It is simply video - as wide as the frame of the timeline or newsfeed. All in all, the Facebook videos appear about three times larger than YouTube embedded videos on Facebook.
Facebook now offers the ability to embed video into other sites. Previously, only YouTube offered embedding, but with this added integration, you can post your Facebook videos directly to your Wordpress site or other blog. There's not a big difference in appearance in the either embed, but if you're trying to drive traffic to your Facebook page, users can simply click on a Facebook embedded video and it will link there directly.
Better or Different?
These Facebook video features are powerful new tools. So, should you disregard uploading videos to YouTube and just stick with one channel?
Let's not forget about the strength of YouTube - it is still an incredibly powerful social tool, and you could be making a mistake by not utilizing it. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and the third most visited site on the web - and it's still growing at an astronomical rate!
As a search tool, it is still far superior to Facebook video. On Facebook, only your current networks may see your videos, but through optimizing your YouTube videos, they can be noticed by every YouTube user. It's still a great way to expand your reach.Over the next year, you'll continue to hear about new (and constantly improving) Facebook video features. It's a new platform that's still being developed, and content marketers should be excited about it. Many marketers, though, will make the mistake of completely transitioning to Facebook rather than integrating it into their current video strategy. By doing this, they'll be limiting their exposure, rather than expanding it. You don't want to make that same mistake!