YouTube vs Facebook and The Future of Online Video

by | Nov 28, 2017 | Strategy, Tools, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Video is the future of content marketing!

Those have been the words of many mainstream media companies[1] and new age entrepreneurs[2] for the past couple of years. In a world where visual representation keeps growing these words have increasingly become reality. With teenagers viewing billions of Snapchat videos everyday[3] and tweens using their mother’s phone to send their friends a, this trend is not very likely to stop anytime soon. A Dutch research recently revealed that the average 18 year old boy spends close to a full work day (7 hours, 42 minutes) using new media, including over 2 hours a day on YouTube[4]. In 2017, content creators upload more video content than major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years[5].

The battle for the Internet

For those who have been online for over a decade, the undeclared war between Facebook vs. Google over internet superiority is nothing new. Aside from the fact that Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandburg was a Google VP for 7 years, both companies have been eyeing to become ‘the internet’ from quite some time. Where Google’s quest to rival Facebook’s Social Media dominance never really was successful (Buzz, Wave, Google+, the latter even destroying Orkut, a Google cult platform that was ahead of Facebook in Brazil), Facebook never matched the success of Google’s search formula and while pushing for it, YouTube’s video based community.

The battle for video

While Facebook really has been focusing on making video more important and more prominent on their platform, they have never reached the video based status that YouTube has. In the past years Alexa has even ranked YouTube above Facebook in the US, Netherlands, Suriname and many other countries worldwide when it comes to browser traffic. With the death of Vine bringing a new wave of creators towards YouTube[6], Facebook needs to up its game even further. In the past years, Facebook has been doing exactly that. With Facebook ads, it seems they gone even further as video ads reach far out performs photos and text ads.

Push marketing ads for now seem one of the advantages Facebook currently has over YouTube, as Facebook requires you to sign in to actually browse properly, offering better ad segmentation. On the other hand, unlike Facebook, YouTube has always been a video based platform. It’s creator’s community is a dedicated one and through the years, they have developed a creator system with perks and opportunities for above the standards of any other Social Media platform. Reason enough for Facebook to finally launch its own creators platform.

Where Facebook can crush their newer Social Media rivals by duplicating or making similar options on their platform, they lack one advantage against YouTube, which is traffic. Facebook is not losing users to YouTube, most users just happen to already use both, and use YouTube specifically for video content. On the other side, YouTube has released a community feature in which some celebrities are already using to post Facebook like updates[7] and also introduced a messaging app. Their biggest challenge however is that to use YouTube, visitors don’t have to be logged in or even registered. With the failed Google+ – YouTube marriage[8], YouTube holds more freedom, but also has less control over user preferences and statistics in general.

Views and retention

In the Facebook – YouTube battle another interesting debate is which platform is best suited for your video marketing. The answer, it depends. YouTube has always put emphasis on the Watch Time of their videos whereas Facebook mainly puts the focus on Views. This makes Facebook an easy choice for those seeking for vanity statistics as Facebook actually also counts you scrolling over a video in your timeline as a person reached and in case of an auto-play ad as a view. Facebook also holds the edge when it comes to shareability, making it easier to go viral, especially with the crossposting option, making it possible to share a video natively on multiple Facebook pages[9].

While it harder to built a fanbase on YouTube than on Facebook, both organically and through advertising, making your fanbase return to your page is not. YouTube invests a lot in pushing newer content and has a better search option in addition to their push notifications for subscribers. The real advantage is that YouTube is less segmented and does not have to compete with endless notifications of friend requests, mentions, birthdays, events and political banter. As YouTube is also search engine based, videos will also continue to be viewed years later, especially when the topic stays relevant or keywords remain popular in search.

What’s next?

The next steps in video have already been made. YouTube brought 360 videos to the mainstream stage in 2015 and Facebook followed a half year later. Possibilities are still being figured out, but virtual reality is continuously being incorporated in video as well. While YouTube has had live public streaming for years dating back to the Hangouts on Air days, Facebook only added the feature after apps like Periscope and Meerkat showed the full potential of going live on your phone. The possibilities to go live, of course, are endless. Early 2017, YouTube added the Superchat option for live video, allowing people to pay during the broadcast[10] and Facebook has now added a feature that YouTube has had for years, making it possible to invite guests into your live video[11]. As more online platforms arise online, both Facebook and YouTube will continue to build on improving their features for users, creators and advertisers. With this growth online video and Television will continue to become more integrated making it easier to create content and harder to reach a larger audience.

So how can you be on top of your video marketing game? A couple of things to consider:

  1. Quality of content is important:

When talking about quality of the content, we are talking about both technical and social aspect. From a technical perspective, you need to shoot in the best quality possible. With the growing amount of viewer watching on multiple devices, it has also become important to create content suitable for bigger screens. With a growing amount of viewers watching online content on their TV[12], HD has become the minimum quality requirement and 4K videos are becoming more and more preferred. As YouTube and Facebook continue to invest in video and challenge traditional video programming with products as YouTube Red and Facebook Watch, the quality of online video continues to go up. This not only counts for the video quality, but also includes the storyline of the video. The importance of storylines has been proven by several Asian life insurances companies that went viral on Facebook and have afterwards received millions of views on YouTube as well[13].

  1. Know your audience

As the YouTube community continues to grow, many YouTubers have already reached the 1 Million subscriber mark. This is where the storyline becomes even more important. The average 40 year old could feel a little bit dizzy after watching their first David Dobrik or Lisa Koshy video, but the Vine generation loves nothing more than a string of short sketches. Casey Neistat is notorious for his Storytelling capabilities and cinemagraphic transition shots and no one give more in depth value in his videos then Gary Vaynerchuk.

Historically, YouTube is a gamers world, hence the size of PewDiePie’s fanbase, but YouTube is constantly attract more creators of different topics, including Travel, Dance and Comedy. The above mentioned accounts created their audiences and have reverse engineered their content to fit their target audience, while attracting even more new subscribers to their channel. Whether you are TV Show that knows how to leverage online video[14] or a company that has a creative way to sell your products[15], being able to create a format that attracts your target audience is key.

  1. Distribution

As the amount of online content continues to grow, getting your videos seen becomes more and more important. The right story at the right time can go viral and good quality videos always have a longer shelf life. Unfortunately, a lot of content often does not reach it target audience due to the lack of understanding where and how they consume their content. Understanding how different Social Media platforms work and how they can drive content to your main video channel. As some might say, you are your own TV show and in some cases, your own TV network. So revisit your Content Marketing schedule and up your Google Adwords and Facebook Advertising game. Online video is here to stay.


Author: Jean-luc van Charante MSc. MA.

Jean-luc van Charante MSc. MA. is an entrepreneur, Rotarian and Suriname ambassador. With INEFFABLE NV he helps companies to communicate in a relatable way through Social Media marketing and Online marketing. As FHR Lecturer and with his brand JEANLUC.SR he motivates and stimulates young professionals to develop themselves in the fields of entrepreneurship, leadership and marketing. With his vlogs, he tries to create awareness on the importance of content creation in Suriname.

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