Watch Out, YouTube: 25% Of Online Super Bowl Ad Views Happened On Facebook

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Need more evidence that Facebook is putting pressure on YouTube?

Here’s some from the Super Bowl advertising trenches: This year 25% of the online views for Super Bowl commercials came on Facebook, according to content advertising firm Visible Measures.

That’s a serious incursion into a market that YouTube has dominated for years. Now it’s a two-way race and Facebook has the momentum. Last year, YouTube claimed a 94% share, meaning Google’s video network has dropped 20 percentage points.

It’s not clear that Facebook’s gains are cutting into YouTube’s total views. Visible Measures declined to release raw numbers for YouTube’s 2014 views, saying that the comparison wouldn’t be accurate since a “huge” number of views come in the first month after the game.

But it seems likely that Facebook’s powerful new presence is expanding the market. Other data, from iSpot.tv, reports a 21% increase in overall video views for Super Bowl ads since last year. ISpot.tv’s figures showed Facebook with an 40% share of video views.

So however you slice it, Facebook has gained a significant foothold. Visible Measure’s True Reach metric, which is certified by the Media Rating Council, also measures views on Vimeo, DailyMotion, AOL and other video networks, and YouTube and Facebook accounted for 99.3% of the Super Bowl ad views.

Here’s the data from Visible Measures (as of Tuesday morning):

Total True Reach viewership: 291.5 million
Facebook’s total viewership: 72.2 million
YouTube total viewership: 217.4 million

Facebook’s share is even higher — 27% — for the top 10 viewed ads, a percentage that is more impressive when you consider that two of the brands in the top 10 didn’t post their video natively on Facebook.

And the top performing campaign — Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” — had received 5 million more views on Facebook (29.5 million) than on YouTube (25 million), at the time this post was published.

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Facebook’s recent video success has been well documented and during the company’s earnings call this month CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that videos were getting 3 billion views a day on the network, up from 1 billion in September. Helped by a video-favoring algorithm adjustment in June, the number of videos in users’ News Feeds is up 360% since last year. The fact that Facebook videos autoplay without sound in people’s feeds is also a factor. Facebook counts a view when someone pauses for at least three seconds on a video.

Noting the trend and the reality of higher engagement for native Facebook video, brands have shifted away from posting YouTube links to their Facebook pages. That was the overwhelming case with Super Bowl video, according to Socialbakers, which reported 82% of sponsors uploaded natively. Although most brands also post their videos on YouTube, there’s no doubt YouTube has lost some traffic because of the trend.

Of course, YouTube still is the overwhelming leader and given its utility as an archive and a search destination, its position remains strong. It also should be noted that YouTube tends to get a sizable amount of its traffic in the days after the event. But even with all those qualifications, Facebook’s zero-to-25% surge should be an eye-opener for brands.

Lessons From Brands That Scored On Facebook

The six among the top 10 that did best on Facebook, didn’t merely drop their ads there, said Mallory Russell, a video analyst with Visible Measures. Rather they started weeks before the game and built out a full story.

“They weren’t just putting the full-length ad on their Facebook page, they were crafting teasers and extra content around the full-spot that created a more complete story and drove viewership,” Russell wrote in an email to Marketing Land. “Almost all of these campaigns also posted content that was longer than 30-seconds on Facebook, and our analysis shows that long-form content really plays well on the platform.”

BMW and Mercedes didn’t get any Facebook views because that didn’t put video content on the network; and Nissan barely did.

Snickers’ Facebook results were anemic likely because it posted on the social network both via YouTube links and native Facebook video, going back and forth after posting its very funny Danny Trejo as Marcia Brady spoof last Thursday via YouTube. That post on Thursday did very well on Facebook with 27,000 likes and 23,000 shares. Then on Saturday, Snickers posted the ad natively (it now has 218,000 vs. 10 million on YouTube) and went back to YouTube for two posts on Super Bowl Sunday.

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