Facebook beats YouTube in video engagement, marketers take note

by: Lucinda Southern on 17 December 2014

On social media photos are the most popular post format, next year video will overtake this

  • “There was a time when companies spent so much on content, now they need to focus on the seeding.”
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  • Jan Razab, CEO, Socialbakers

We are consuming more online video than ever, and 2015 is set for further growth in spend and consumption. This year saw YouTube fall from being the sole host for this type of content. Jan Rezab, CEO at Socialbakers, talks to 12ahead about this shift.

“We were stunned and shocked that it’s gotten to where it has,” he admits, “Facebook went way over the YouTube numbers back in October.” Further research from Socialbakers (pictured) shows that the most shared video on the platform no longer comes from YouTube. 

Rezab explains that while a brand like McDonald’s would have originally hosted all videos on YouTube the tides have been turning towards Facebook video, gaining real pace in the last quarter.

There are several reasons for this shift; while Rezab notes that the two platforms are fundamentally different, the noise from brands is that the desire to create something that goes viral is less obvious now. “Facebook is a more natural platform for sharing. YouTube’s problem is that it doesn’t have the discoverability and social sharing that Facebook has. That coupled with the relevance is enough for it to take the traffic away from YouTube.”

For instance the latest Fast and Furious movie trailer was first debuted on Facebook, notching up 100 million video views in the first 48 hours. Directly after it launched on YouTube, where it garnered only 18 million views.

Kleenix is also launching a video-based content campaign on Facebook to support the launch of its new tissue range, Kleenex Sensitive. The campaign is being supported by a paid media strategy and promoted posts with the launch of each video. Numerous others are experimenting in this field also.

“It’s a question of seeding”, says Rezab, “there was a time when companies spent so much on content, now they need to focus on the seeding.”

While technology increases in sophistication, the opportunities will continue to grow, ecommerce for example is a key call to action here and one that retail brands are keen to leverage, says Rezab.

Another intriguing avenue for ambitious marketers is in video seeding and proximity marketing; applicable to conglomerate cities really, Rezab sees interesting possibilities here on short-form video platforms like Vine, towards the end of next year.

There is also the question of quality versus quantity, and it’s something that Rezab and the team are starting to see brands begin to reconcile. For too long the increase in volume has correlated to the decrease in quality. “Brands do have interesting stories to tell,” he says, “probably not 50 or 100 times a month though.” Resisting this pressure to churn out content that fails to gain engagement is something brands have been accused of. Further evidence also comes from Socialbakers who have found that recently there is a decrease in posts, but increase in engagement on these posts by 30-50%. Altogether not insignificant numbers, and potentially ones that will move brands to focus on their seeding, rather than content, strategies.