The Claim That Facebook Is Beating YouTube In Video Views Is Misleading ?

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Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) had introduced a feature in the last quarter of 2006; sharing content (pics, video, news, blogs, etc.) from across the web. In the beginning, only a few websites partnered with Facebook in this campaign, including IDG Entertainment, The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), NBCSports.com, The New York Times, People.com, The Onion, Time.com, The Wall Street Journal Online and Washingtonpost.com. When the impact of this move began to appear almost the entire web was plagued with this feature – also by other platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Facebook is known to make such moves once in a while to change the face of the social networking and content sharing on internet. Internet.org, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook Lite are some of the examples.

Facebook Video: A Revolutionary Move

Today we are going to talk about one of the most dramatic moves of Facebook in the recent times; video upload on Facebook. As it is well known that YouTube had the monopoly over video market for quite a long time, it is time for some bad news. It has been reported by Socialbakers that in the last quarter of 2014, Facebook had overtaken YouTube in the number of video shares. It is evident that there has been no significant reduction in the share of YouTube, instead of Facebook has only risen over the months to minimize the gap. This is indicative of a shift in the marketer’s behavior from the standard procedure of uploading on YouTube and later sharing on Facebook to a direct upload on Facebook.

Share of video post

On analyzing the video interaction, it was found that Facebook was leading well ahead of YouTube. These numbers have increased over the years for Facebook and decreased for YouTube.

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share of interaction

Entry into Music Streaming

This might be only the tip of the iceberg. As per reports by The New York Times, the social network giant is all set to crack deals for music video licensing. Reportedly, talks are underway with major record agencies, to upload video content directly on Facebook. Although it was agreed upon that the same might be shared on YouTube as well. It goes without doubt that a video inserted in the news feed of several users at the same instant will have a greater impact than the same share on YouTube. On the other hand, it was officially confirmed by Facebook that it had no plans of invading the music streaming space.  A report by jeffbullas earlier this year also quoted Mark Zuckerberg having said “if you look in the future a lot of the content that people share will be video, and videos fit very well into Facebook’s newsfeed”. This leaves no doubt about the serious plans of Facebook to invade the video marketing domain.

No wonder, why Mark Zuckerberg recently claimed that Facebook could become a complete online video social network in the next five years.

Facebook Video Views Are Misleading

While all of these are in favor of Facebook apparently, there are few things that may itch Mark Zuckerberg. As mentioned by Marketing Pilgrim, there seems to be very less engagement on the video screened in the NewsFeed as the auto play feature starts the video (without sound) as soon as the user logs in. And this is counted as a view (which is ideally not correct). This led to the explosion in video views on Facebook and reportedly surpassed that of YouTube in August 2014. This might give an advantage on the reach of the video but definitely is not a marker of user engagement.

desktop views

With the stage set for Facebook to make a revolution in video marketing, few things are still not very clear. First among these is the model used for monetizing this video explosion is not very clear for the user. There is an option where a fair share of revenue from video views on YouTube can be grabbed by the user. There is no such provision on Facebook. As mentioned by a recent report in the Wall Street Journal Facebook has still not made its plans clear on the monetization policy for the 4 billion videos streamed on its platform every day. Visible Measures analyzed 82 video campaigns which had an aggregate viewership of 437.5 million. It was found that more than 50% of these used Facebook. When all the video campaigns launched since March 2015 were analyzed, it was found that Facebook had only 35% share while the remaining viewership came from YouTube.

Capturing the Mobile Market

The same scenario on mobile devices is almost similar. Video viewing is on a high across all platforms on mobile devices. Facebook seems to have already taken the top spot. Almost 65% of Facebook video views are from mobile. An analysis of most frequently used platforms for video (on mobile devices) indicated that Facebook has already taken the top spot in most of the markets (US, South Korea, and Spain were studied). There’s a close fight between Facebook and YouTube in the US with 16% and 15% market share respectively. In South Korea and Spain, YouTube seems to have already lost the race. Facebook has gained over twice the market share of YouTube in these regions.

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With the rising speculations about plans for embedding Facebook videos on other websites, the market is all set to experience a few turnarounds. There might be a scenario in which YouTube and Facebook carve out exclusive zones in video marketing (for mutual benefit). But, owing to the aggressive move to capture the music streaming and mobile market this seems quite unlikely. The only thing we are very sure about at this moment is that the social networking giant is aiming at something really big.

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