YouTube Or Facebook? Considerations For Video Marketers

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YouTube and Facebook are currently locked in a battle for video viewership domination, and the fight is starting to get ugly.

YouTube users upload approximately 400 hours of content to the site every single minute, and while Facebook doesn’t release its upload rate, we do know that users stream up to four billion videos per day.

As these numbers continue to skyrocket, both sites will keep pouring large investments into their platforms. Regardless of which one the world winds up turning to for its collective LOLs, this is good news for marketers who have the courage and savvy to jump into the fray.

With larger mobile screen sizes and high-speed Internet reaching more countries, online video is now—and will continue to be—the single most engaging and effective format for reaching audiences of any age and inclination. And the sooner you take action, the better position you’ll be in as these changes continue to spread outward and upward.

Comparing Guns To Missiles
Before taking up arms to join the video marketing melee, it’s worth noting that these two outlets require distinct strategies. Take, for example, the shelf life of content on each platform. YouTube essentially has an infinite library of 10 years’ worth of content and an algorithm designed to keep you watching video after video.

On the other hand, the nature of consumption on Facebook puts far greater priority on immediate engagement. A recent study confirmed this by illustrating how a Wendy’s ad on Facebook earned 50 percent of its total all-time views within 24 hours. The YouTube version was watched considerably less within its first day but earned far more views in the long run.

Smart marketers should explore both platforms, but using the same techniques on Facebook and YouTube won’t get them far.

Here are three specific areas in which YouTube and Facebook require unique approaches:

1. Tracking and reporting data: YouTube and Facebook report their video data in different ways. While YouTube reports the number of hours its users watch per month, Facebook discloses only the number of streams per day. Facebook videos autoplay when users scroll through their feeds, and the site tallies a stream even if the user quickly scrolls past the video. YouTube only counts views when users click the play button and watch.

This is a critical distinction. If you’re paying for views on both platforms, make sure the cost per view you’re spending on Facebook doesn’t meet or exceed what you’re paying for YouTube. Because YouTube views require deliberate user action, they’re more valuable and warrant a larger price tag.

2. Distributing to your audience: When you build up an audience on YouTube, the platform automatically distributes new videos to your followers’ home pages and inboxes. But with Facebook, even if you’ve been investing in building an audience for years, you’ll need to pay to guarantee placement in its News Feeds.

Your top priority on YouTube, therefore, should be building an audience. With so much content uploaded daily and so much already on the platform, you’re at a huge disadvantage today if you’re starting from scratch and going against people with a large subscriber base. But once you build a substantial audience, you’ll have a great automatic distribution system at your disposal.

On the other hand, like most brands, you’ve probably spent more time building your audience on Facebook. The challenge here is that Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t automatically serve your content to nearly as high a percentage of your fans as YouTube does. Without spending a dime, your video could be seen by as much as 35 percent of your audience, but if you want to reach more people, you’ll need to reach for your wallet first.

On either platform, you can dramatically multiply your reach by partnering with influencers who have already built large audiences and can reach those fans in a repeatable and predictable way.

3. Copyright and intellectual property protection: Facebook doesn’t yet have a content ID system to track piracy. YouTube can detect if one content creator reposts another creator’s video. Facebook, however, currently allows users to repost content from YouTube–much to the chagrin of YouTube creators and intellectual property owners. As a result, while all YouTube content is unique, Facebook can’t make the same claim.

Because of Facebook’s lack of a content ID system, you can connect with influencers and get their permission to repost their video content directly on your brand’s Facebook page. Posting outsourced related content in addition to your own videos will help you reach a larger percentage of your fan base.

Because this isn’t allowed on YouTube, you’ll get the best results when influencers upload videos to their own channels. When they post videos on their channels that involve your brand, you can create a playlist on your own channel that features those videos. This allows you to not only piggyback on their large audiences, but also feature fresh content on your channel while abiding by YouTube’s rules.

Getting Troops On The Ground
Even though YouTube and Facebook are different brands with different qualities, models, and quirks, it’s safe to assume the size and influence of both platforms will continue to soar.

Technology is making it easier for amateur videographers to make better-looking videos much more quickly, and typical video production cycles in which you create quarterly campaigns for one asset are no longer going to be effective. You need to constantly create bundles of content based on the data you’re continuously collecting and analyzing. As you build your capacity to produce your own video content going forward, you’ll simultaneously build up your audience and work your way toward video marketing domination.

It’s clear that the grand competition of video marketing will be fought on the battlefields of YouTube and Facebook. For savvy marketers who want in on the action, it’s important to learn the ins and outs of these platforms, cultivate meaningful partnerships with the influencers who have already mastered them, and invest aggressively to develop an in-house expertise.

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