When we think of watching videos, the powerhouse portal Youtube may be first to come to mind. However there seems to be a new contender in town. Traditionally when we think of Facebook, we often think of status updates and funny cat memes. But with new updates, Facebook video may be rivaling Youtube video in a big way.
Company announcements are often yawn provoking. But in the case of Facebook’s announcement regarding their push into videos, it proved to be noteworthy. In their first update, Facebook decided to roll out autoplay on videos. So as users would scroll through their news feed, videos would automatically start playing (without sound).
The latest rollout was a change in the algorithm to start showing more videos to people who actually enjoyed watching them. Facebook determined this by measuring the amount of times someone would spend watching a video before scrolling on. As a result the videos were shown more commonly to those who actually wanted to watch them.
Companies started taking note that videos uploaded directly to Facebook performed far better than using the Youtube player on Facebook. Facebook is optimizing and pushing video that is native to their platform in order to encourage more direct uploading to Facebook. As of November 2014, native Facebook videos accounted for over 80 percent of the interactions on video posts with Youtube and other platforms accounting for only 20 percent according to Socialbakers.
Facebook then released an update which displayed how many times a video has been viewed. Youtube also shows view count, however the way they count a view is very different. This discrepancy makes it highly difficult to make a direct comparison. Since Facebook now auto plays videos, they count three seconds of watch time as a view. If, for whatever reason, someone decides to scroll back up and watch it again that counts as another view. For a Youtube view to count, the user has to click on the play button.
As a result, it is arguably a bit easier to receive a Facebook view than a Youtube view. And since users are scrolling through their news feed there is a much higher drop off rate since moving onto the next item is just a slight scroll away.
Buzzfeed is a great example of how these new rollouts have made a huge difference. In June of 2014 they were reaching 130 million Facebook video views. This jumped up 130 percent from June to July, and 200 percent from July to August. The growth has continued to climb since. However, Buzzfeed isn’t the only one seeing growth. Apple’s dramatic holiday commercial, which notoriously received more than 20 million views, had Youtube views only reaching slightly over 3 million.
The overall trend of video posts for Facebook is increasing at a rapid rate, while Youtube is slightly decreasing.
(Graphs provided by Socialbakers)
One of the reasons that Facebook is seeing such a climb is its ease of engagement. It’s no wonder why Facebook video engagement is far surpassing Youtube. Instead of having to email a link of a funny Youtube video to a friend, you can simply share it on their wall or post it to your Facebook profile.
If trends continue to move in this direction and Facebook continues to release updates, Youtube may be in trouble. (Read our most recent post about Facebook’s new Content Initiative involving branded video!)