As an avid YouTuber, I’ve been very much against the idea of Facebook video since the day it was introduced. However, recently I’ve jumped on the bandwagon… Well, kind of. I’ve seen firsthand that Facebook drastically reduces the reach of Youtube embeds compared to their native player. If you already have an audience that you’ve built on Facebook, it’s worth uploading video content directly to the platform. The ability for these videos to be shared throughout the social network increases tremendously when it’s a Facebook native video.
The second you step outside of Facebook, it becomes very tricky to share or embed a video. Scott Beale, CEO of Laughing Squid which is one of the most popular video aggregators on the web, publicly announced that he will not accept Facebook embeds submitted to his site. When you think about it, have you ever seen an article with a Facebook embed? Most likely not.
Facebook needs to address the elephant in the room – autoplay and video views counting after only 3-10 seconds. Around 2007 or 2008, Youtube made the conscious effort to disable the autoplay feature and to count a view right around the 30 second mark. Facebook is touting major numbers in terms of video reach and views, but these numbers will not be considered relevant until they remove the autoplay and 3-second-for-a-view feature. Advertisers stayed away from Youtube for years until they got everything straightened out, so Facebook will almost definitely have to follow suit to get those ad dollars reallocated from page likes and remarketing, to video.
Facebook, like Pandora, selects content for you whereas Youtube, similar to Spotify, boasts a far better search feature and from what I’ve read, that’s not going to change any time soon. In terms of SEO, it’s still no contest – Youtube dominates Facebook as Google is always going to favor their own service over others.
I also feel the need to mention the issue of longevity. A Facebook video has an extremely short shelf life due to the poor searching capabilities. Youtube, on the other hand, has enabled a creator’s work to be easily accessible for years to come. I literally still get views on videos that I released all the way back in 2006. According to the Wall Street Journal, after a day or two, the drop-off on Facebook is staggering, while a video that goes viral on Youtube could amount to thousands of views every single day for years to come.
WSJ continues to say, “Facebook is valuable for a marketer in the first three days of releasing a new video, but videos quickly lose consumer engagement after those initial few days, Visible Measures’ data shows. After the first week of a video’s launch, YouTube accounts for 51% of views. After three months, YouTube accounts for 63% of those views, Visible Measures said.”
With all of this said, there’s no denying that Facebook is growing rapidly. They have proven to be the first legitimate threat to Youtube in the company’s existence, but I’m remaining skeptical because it’s a path that’s all too similar to the early Youtube days. I do think that short-form videos are going to be huge on Facebook and will be a great marketing tool for businesses running a quick promotion. If Facebook addresses that search issue and make moves to be a little more creator-friendly, I may be quickly adjusting my opinion!