Facebook Videos Pull Upset Over Favored YouTube at Super Bowl 2015

Facebook Videos Pull Upset Over Favored YouTube at Super Bowl 2015

Super Bowl ads run through the Facebook player generated more shares than those launched on YouTube this year.

While a lot of Monday morning quarterbacks were replaying Seattle’s slant pass with just 26 seconds left in Super Bowl 2015, a team from Unruly, a video ad-tech company, was reviewing the video ads to see whether YouTube or Facebook videos had won the “Big Game.” What they found will shake up conventional wisdom more than New England’s use of the ineligible receiver.

According to Unruly’s data:

  • YouTube delivers more views: Ads in the YouTube player generated a total of 125.65 million views as of 10 a.m. GMT on February 2, 2015 – twice as many views as ads in the Facebook player delivered (60.74 million). However, more brands ran their online campaigns using the YouTube player. Of the ads that were aired during Super Bowl Sunday, according to a list of ads taken from NBC Tumblr, 97 percent were run through the YouTube player, while only 62.7 percent were run through the Facebook player. The total adds up to more than 100 percent because some brands ran than their ads through both players.
  • Facebook videos attract more shares: Ads run through the Facebook player attracted 70.3 percent of the total shares generated by Super Bowl 2015 ads online. Despite having fewer videos and generating fewer views, Super Bowl 2015 ads launched on the Facebook player (3,913,218) in total generated twice as many shares as ads launched on the YouTube player (1,654,985).
  • Facebook generates five times the share rate of YouTube: When comparing campaigns that were run on both YouTube and Facebook’s players, the versions run on Facebook attracted an average share rate of 6.1 percent – almost five times higher than the ads run on YouTube (1.3 percent).
  • Why are share rates higher on Facebook? Not only does it take fewer clicks to share a video on Facebook than on YouTube, it’s also a lot easier to find the share button. In addition, Facebook is a social networking service, while YouTube is video-sharing website. What’s the difference? Facebook easily allows people to discover shared content in their News Feeds. Since they’re discovering content their friends, family, and colleagues enjoyed, viewers are more likely to check it out. YouTube is a place where people search for content from creators and then share some of it with their friends, family, and colleagues. This may sound somewhat similar, but it is as different as scrolling and searching.
  • Why are shares more important than views? According to Unruly, shares across Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are a much better measure of a brand’s viral success, ranking branded content by the volume of active pass-on and audience engagement, rather than the more passive metric of video consumption (views).

YouTube’s upset by Facebook video shakes up conventional wisdom far more than the fact that a Budweiser ad has won the Super Bowl for the third time in a row. The beer brand’s “Lost Dog” commercial attracted 2,168,530 shares across Facebook, Twitter, and blogs, according to data supplied by Unruly, making it the fourth most shared Super Bowl ad of all time.

It’s the third successive year the Anheuser-Busch InBev brand has had the most shared ad of the Super Bowl. In 2014, “Puppy Love” won the Big Game after generating 1.31 million shares the day after Super Bowl Sunday. “Brotherhood” also won at a canter the previous year, attracting 1.5 million shares. The ads currently have 2.91 million and 2.04 million shares respectively.

Released online on January 28, “Lost Dog” generated most of its shares (1.9 million) before Super Bowl Sunday and is on course to surpass their “9/11 Commercial” from Super Bowl 2002 (3.48 million shares) as the most shared Budweiser ad of all time.

The bigger news – hidden in plain sight – is the fact that at week after the Big Game Facebook videos hold four of the top five spots in Unruly’s chart of Super Bowl 2015 Aired Ads.

Over the weekend, the Facebook video versions of Fast and Furious 7’s “This takes crazy to a whole new level,” Budweiser’s “Watch our 2015 Super Bowl commercial,” Clash of Titan’s “Revenge,” and Ted 2’s “Told you I saw Tom Brady’s balls” ranked one, two, three, and four respectively.

You had to click on “Always #LikeAGirl,” which ranked number five, before you saw a video ad that had been published on YouTube.

That is the classic definition of an upset. This shakes up video advertising for the Big Game as much as the victory by the AFL’s New York Jets over the favored NFL’s Baltimore Colts did in Super Bowl III. That was way back in January 1969 – before either New England’s quarterback Tom Brady or Seattle’s quarterback Russell Wilson was born.


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